Fireballing Bob Gibson momentarily derailed the Cinderella Express yesterday at Fenway Park as he silenced the Boston Red Sox's bats, leading his St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 win in the opening game of the 1967 World Series.
Given all the support he needed by Lou Brock's record-tying four hit performance, Gibson, hero of the 1964 Series, fanned ten Sox during his masterful six hitter.
The burly right-hander made only one mistake. In the third inning, after getting two quick strikes on his opposite number. Red Sox starter Jose Santiago, Gibson grooved a high fastball. Santiago drilled it into the left field screen, a narrow foot over the Green Monster.
But that was it for the Boston offense. King Carl Yastrzemski, the subject of nearly every sports columnist in the country this morning after his fantastic Triple Crown season, took the horsecollar in four tries.
Despite his miseries at the plate. Yaz played superhuman ball in the outfield, robbing the hard-hitting Cardinals of at least two more runs. After Brock, Curt Flood and Roger Maris had parlayed a single, a double and an infield out into a 1-0 advantage in the third, Yazthrzemski went to work in the next inning.
St. Louis second baseman Julian Javier banged a single to center, the sixth of the Card's ten hits, and went to second on an infield out. After Gibson whiffed, the ever-present Brock slapped a grounder into left.
Yaz charged in--"a million miles an hour," one bleacherite observed--and gunned a strike to catcher Russ Gibson to get the sliding Javier for the third out.
Then on the first pitch the Card's next time up, Curt Flood hit a screaming shot toward the wall. The fabulous Yaz, off with the bat's crack, leaped three feet off the ground, stuck up his glove and speared the ball backhanded before crashing to the ground. Even St. Louis announcer Harry Caray couldn't restrain himself. "Yastrzemski is clearly a super star," he gagged.
Unfortunately, this was the last hometown cheer. Gibson cruised along serenely, yielding only a double to George Scott and three scattered singles after Santiago's homer. In the ninth, with two gone--including the King on a fly to deep left--Scott drew Gibson's only base on balls. But pinch hitter Mike Andrews skied to the old Yankee Roger Maris for the final out.
Maris drove in both St. Louis runs. He rescued Brock in the third on an infield roller. And in the seventh, after the fleet Brock had gotten his fourth straight hit, stolen his second base (when Russ Gibson's throw was slightly high) and gone to third on a grounder, Maris came through again.
The man who beat Babe Ruth's home run record hit a sharp shot to the left of second baseman Jerry Adair. Adair dived, webbed the ball, but had no play on Brock streaking in from third.
This afternoon the best pitcher in the American League, towering Jim Lonborg will try to get Boston back into the Series against St. Louis's Dick Hughes.