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Red Sox Shock A’s in the 9th, Win on Mantilla Homer

May 23, 1964 - Felix Mantilla, a utility infielder whose name has never been prominently associated with the long ball, hit a pinch two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth today to give the Boston Red Sox a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Athletics at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox tied the score in the eighth when John Wyatt walked Carl Yastrzemski with the bases loaded on four straight pitches.

The A’s went back ahead in the ninth against Dick Radatz, Boston’s great reliever. Ed Charles accounted for the run when he singled Dick Green home from third after two were out.

Wyatt walked Bob Tillman to open the last of the ninth — never a good sign. Roman Mejias attempted to advance Tillman with a sacrifice bunt, but Jim Gentile fielded the ball and threw to Wayne Causey for the force at second.

Wyatt, who was struggling with his control from the time he entered the game, threw two straight balls to Mantilla, who was batting for Radatz. Wyatt’s next pitch was his last. Mantilla smashed the ball over the left-field fence into a strong crosswind. Wyatt flung his glove high in the air and stomped off the field. Wyatt has given up six runs this season, and homers have accounted for all except one.

“I couldn’t believe it when this guy was pitching me inside in this park,” said Mantilla, a former teammate of Wyatt’s in a winter ball league.

“Usually everyone pitch me outside,” said Felix. “But Wyatt throw me inside. I figure that’s why [Kansas City manager Ed] Lopat went out to talk to him. I figure Lopat tell him to throw me outside so I couldn’t pull.

“But then he keeps throwing inside. The one I hit was a fastball. At first, I thought it was foul, but the wind was blowing the other way and kept it fair.”

“That’s how it goes,” said Boston manager Johnny Pesky. “When I sent him up to pinch Friday night, Felix got his pitch and fouled it back into the screen then struck out. When he got it today, he hit it out of the park.”

At any rate, Pesky deserves a medal of valor. How could any manager send a paltry .138 hitter up to pinch hit for the great bat of Radatz, who was hitting .375 when he stepped aside?

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