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Giants Nearly Blow 10-Run Lead, Top Braves, 10-8

Apr. 15, 1964 - The Giants exploded for 10 runs in the third innings tonight and darned near blew a 10-0 lead at Candlestick Park. The Braves had the tying run at the plate when Bob Shaw threw a game-ending third strike past Gene Oliver, securing a 10-8 victory for Jack Sanford (pictured). Willie Mays belted a three-run homer in the Giants’ big third inning, but it was Sanford’s three-run double that accounted for the actual winning run in that nutty inning. Ed Bailey and Eddie Mathews socked home runs for the hustling Braves.

The 17,172 fans saw the biggest scoring inning San Francisco has seen in a National League game, and it all started when Bob Sadowski walked Sanford with two out in the third. Matty Alou and Jim Davenport followed with singles, and then Mays — who now has three homers and six runs batted in in two games — whacked his homer deep to right center. Mays’ shot would have stayed in the park if not for Hank Aaron.

Aaron said that he leaped for the ball, and it struck the top of his glove, bouncing over the fence.

“It wouldn’t have gone over except for hitting my glove,” he said. “I admire Mays, but I sure hated to give him that three-run smash.”

Mays said he was running and didn’t see Aaron’s kindly “assist.”

“But I certainly do appreciate it,” Willie grinned.

When Willie McCovey walked and Orlando Cepeda drilled a single, Bill Kelley relieved Sadowski and Billy O’Dell ran for Cepeda, who is nursing a sore knee.

Kelley couldn’t get anybody out. The rookie righthander walked Tom Haller, loading the bases, and then Jimmy Hart chopped a single, scoring McCovey. José Pagan’s walk forced O’Dell home, and then Sanford ripped a shot to right. Every baserunner scored when the ball went past Aaron, and Sanford scored after a couple of wild pitches by Kelley. Enter rookie righthander Phil Niekro, who pitched to just one batter, Davenport, and got him to bounce into the force that finally ended the third.

The Braves gave a heroic late-game push, but it was still too little, too late. Milwaukee manager Bobby Bragan was disappointed in losing a series sweep.

“We scored 12 runs in two days and have nothing to show for it,” he lamented. The Braves outhit the Giants tonight, 10-8, but they left 10 on base. The Giants stranded only three.

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