Tigers, Pirates and Cubs Oh My: World Series Road Comebacks

After the Indians won Game 4 to give them a commanding 3-1 World Series lead, we posted about how the Indians fared in past World Series clinching games.  In Game 5, however, the Cubs’ pitching came through to stay alive with a 3-2 win.

The Cubs now have to complete their 3-1 comeback by winning the last two games on the road – something the 1968 Detroit Tigers and 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates accomplished.  In the four road games played to close out the Series, the two road teams outscored their hosts 25-3.

1968 Detroit Tigers

After the Cardinals went up 3-1 on a 10-1 Game 4 victory, defending World Series MVP Bob Gibson was 5-0 in World Series starts, completing each game and giving up only four runs.  After winning Game 5 to force the series back to St. Louis, it would be up to Tiger aces Denny McClain and Mickey Lolich each pitching on two-days rest.

In the first five games, the Cardinals averaged five runs a game.  In the last two games, they scored only two. In Game 6, McClain came through and the Tiger bats exploded for a 13-1 win.

Game 7 was a pitchers duel between Lolich and Gibson that was scoreless through six innings.  In the 7th inning, the Tigers jumped ahead 3-0 after centerfielder Curt Flood misplayed a fly ball and then Lolich held on for a 4-1 win and the Series.  With three complete game wins, Lolich was the Series MVP.

 

1979 Pittsburgh Pirates

In a rematch of the 1971 World Series, the Baltimore Orioles jumped to a 3-1 series lead outscoring the Pirates 24-17.  Led by Willie Stargell on offense, who hit .400 with a record seven extra-base hits and matched Reggie Jackson’s record of 25 total bases, the Pirates outscored the Orioles 15-2 in winning the last three games.

In Game 7, Stargell’s third series home run provided the game’s winning runs and Kent Tekulve notched his third save in the Pirates 4-1 victory.

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