September 29: Baltimore 7, New York 5
Baltimore manager Earl Weaver struggled all year to wedge George Sisler, Eddie Murray, Ken Williams, and Ken Singleton into one lineup. Sisler and Singleton just got on base and hit too much to sit, which left a logjam between Murray and Williams. Weaver thought Williams had a slight edge when it came to hitting righties, and Williams was good, with a .343 wOBA in 123 games. But the Orioles missed having Murray’s bat in there everyday–he got into just 105 games but smashed his way to a .391 wOBA. “Hell of a thing leaving a hitter like Eddie on the bench as much as I have this year,” reflected Weaver after the game. “I’ll have to find a way to get him in there more next season.”
Murray was very much in this game, and got the Orioles on the board with a solo homer in the fourth. He took walks in his next two plate appearances, and then drilled a two-out walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.
R H BB NY 000 400 100 - 5 10 9 BAL 000 103 102 - 7 8 5 HR: E. Murray-2 (20) starters IP R ER HR BB SO O. Hernandez 5.1 4 4 1 3 5 E. Bedard 3.1 4 4 0 5 5 NY 83-77, BAL 86-74
September 30: New York 12, Baltimore 9
In their penultimate game, the Yankees played one of the most Yankees games of the season. Starter Herb Pennock was ineffective from the start, and his pitching and the team’s defense really fell to shambles in the fifth inning when the first eight Baltimore batters reached safely and the Orioles ran up a 9-1 lead.
But no matter how far they fell behind, the Yankees were never out of a game all season. After that disastrous bottom of the fifth, they responded with a nine-run top of the sixth. 11 Yanks reached safely in the inning, punctuated with a Robinson Cano dong shot.
R H BB NY 000 019 020 - 12 12 6 BAL 013 050 000 - 9 15 4 HR: R. Cano (15) starters IP R ER HR BB SO H. Pennock 4.0 8 7 0 2 1 J. Palmer 5.2 6 1 1 3 1 NY 84-77, BAL 86-75
October 1: Baltimore 11, New York 5
Singleton, Murray, and Sisler made up the top of Baltimore’s batting order and each collected three hits. They combined for five singles, two doubles, and two triples. Cleanup hitter Frank Robinson collected only one-hit, but he made it count with a three-run dinger in the first inning.
Sisler became the fifth player to reach 200 hits on the season.
Lou Gehrig had a relatively quiet final series, though in his case that meant reaching safely five times in the three games but not hitting a homer. He was by far the most dominant hitter all season and still holds the home run lead at 40, though Texas’s Alex Rodriguez still has three games to play and is sitting at 39. Asked after the game if his individual success was a silver lining to the Yankees disappointing finish, Gehrig offered, “Not really. Doesn’t mean much if we’re not the champs.”
R H BB NY 000 002 300 - 5 12 0 BAL 310 052 00x - 11 13 3 HR: F. Robinson (31), C. Ripken (12) starters IP R ER HR BB SO W. Hoyt 4.2 8 8 1 1 0 J. Powell 6.1 5 5 0 0 0 NY 84-78, BAL 87-75