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Thursday, October 28, 2010
Game of Inches
Tonight's World Series game ended up a blow out, with the Giants trouncing Texas 9-0. But it could have been a different game. The turning point was the top of the fifth inning with the Giants leading 1-0, when Ian Kinsler hit a ball that missed going over the fence by an inch or two, and bounced back onto the field. Instead of a tie-breaking homer, Kinsler settled for a double and was left stranded when Giants' pitcher Matt Cain retired the side. This was reminiscent of a pivotal play in one of the most exciting games I ever saw. It was late September 1973, and the Mets were desperately trying to catch the first-place Pirates. In a game against the Pirates they had to win, the Mets kept falling behind and fighting back. They tied the score again in the bottom of the ninth and the game went into extra innings. In the top of the 13th inning with two outs and Richie Zisk on first base, Pirate hitter Dave Augustine hit a ball that, like Kinsler's, looked like a sure home run. Instead it hit the top of the fence and bounced right to left fielder Cleon Jones, who threw the ball to the cut-off man (Wayne Garrett) who threw out Zisk at the plate. The Mets scored in the bottom of the 13th to win the game, and went into first place the following night after beating the Pirates again. They held onto first place for the rest of the season and went on to the World Series. Baseball is a magical game.