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Dodgers Top Cards in Extra Innings, 6-5

Sept. 18, 1963 - It took the Dodgers 13 innings to do it, but they finally defeated the Cardinals today, 6-5, and left both the Cardinals and the National League pennant race for dead. Ron Perranoski (pictured), who worked six brilliant, scoreless innings in relief, was the principal hero for the Dodgers. Dick Nen, a rookie who arrived only this afternoon, was the No. 2 hero with a ninth-inning homer that tied the score. The winning run, scored off Lew Burdette, was set up by Julian Javier’s throwing error and crossed the plate on an infield out. In the first two games of the series, the Dodgers simply smothered the Cardinals with the pitching of Johnny Podres and Sandy Koufax. This time, they had to rally to gain the victory. The Cards scored five runs off Pete Richert and Bob Miller in the second and third innings and provided a 5-1 lead for Bob Gibson, their best pitcher. Gibson was strong for seven innings, but buckled in the eighth. After Nen belted a pitch off reliever Bobby Shantz in the ninth, the game went to extras, where Perranoski topped Burdette in a compelling duel. Now the Dodgers lead by four games and the “magic number” to clinch the pennant is five. Any combination of Dodger victories and Cardinal defeats that totals five will clinch the pennant for Los Angeles. “Well, is this a gutty ballclub, or isn’t it?” shouted Johnny Podres in the Dodger clubhouse. “This club deserves to represent the National League in the World Series after this performance.” “There’ll be no backing in for this ballclub,” agreed Don Drysdale. Only manager Walter Alston refused to admit that the Dodgers, after three stright wins over the Cards, had the pennant all but wrapped up with a four-game lead. “This is the biggest win of the three here,” was all he would say. “Coming from behind the way we did must make this the biggest game of the year for the boys.” “This was the biggest game I ever pitched,” said a happy Perranoski, who had appeared in 64 other games for L.A. this year. “It’s got to be my biggest thrill.” The happiest and certainly the most bewildered was young Nen, whose pinch homer off Ron Taylor with one out in the ninth tied the score at 5-5. The 23-year-old first baseman had flown in from Oklahoma CIty, where he had appeared with Spokane in the Pacific Coast League playoffs, and had not the slightest notion in the world he’d be called upon to play. “Nervous?” he said in answer to a newsman’s question. “I was scared stiff.” The youngster, who hails from Wilmington, Calif., said he hit a fastball, low and inside. “I knew I hit it good, but I had no idea it was a home run until I saw the umpire give the sign. It was a strange feeling, all right.”


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