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1972 Playoffs

ALCS Game 1: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland A's
Oct 7th
Before a crowd of 29,566, the visiting Tigers sent lefty Mickey Lolich to the mound. Lolich led the team with 23 complete games in 41 starts and a 2.50 ERA. He was opposed by none other than Catfish Hunter with a 2.04 ERA in 37 starts.

Hunter got off to strong start, but Lolich encountered trouble in the bottom of the 1st. Rudi lashed a long single and Reggie Jackson stepped up. He drilled it to right! It carried to the wall and... GONE! A two-run bomb for Reggie! OAK 2 DET 0. Lolich grew stronger as the game progressed and strikeouts started to mount. Hunter continued to hold the Tigers until the 8th. With one out, Kaline hammered a long fly to left... Outta here! Cutting Oakland's lead to one... A two-base error at second put Sims in scoring position as the tying run, and then Cash cranked a high drive... deep centerfield... It's gone! A 2-run bomb to give the Tigers the lead! Bob Locker relieved Hunter at this point and got the next two batters. Lolich stayed on to finish a beauty!

DET 000 000 030 3-5-0 (SP M. Lolich 9 IP, 2 ER, 10 K, 3 BB; A. Kaline 2 for 4, SB, HR)
OAK 200 000 000 2-5-2 (SP C. Hunter 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 BB; R. Jackson 2 for 4, HR)

NLCS Game 1: Cincinnati Reds @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Oct 7th
Sparky Anderson sent his young lefty to the mound to match up with Pirates ace Steve Blass. It must have been a heck of a scene with Three Rivers packed with 50,426 fans.

The Pirates got their crowd fired-up in the bottom of 1st, when Sanguillen ripped a 2-out single to drive in Oliver. In the 2nd inning, Oliver would put the home team up by two with single to left that brought Alley around to score! 2-0 Pirates. Gullett made a statement by striking-out Clemente with runners at the corners. Blass finally yielded his first hit in the 3rd with 1-out and 1 on, and the ever-aggressive Rose tried to score only to be gunned-down by Oliver's throw from center! In the 4th, a leadoff double by Tolan set the table and back-to-back errors led to 4-run rally! CIN 4 PIT 2. Morgan added a solo homer to right. 5-2 Reds. The big crowd was less of a factor for a while. But the Pirates got to Gullett in the 8th - none other than Al Oliver with a solo shot! 5-3 Reds. Clemente got on with a Texas League single to center and Clay Carroll promptly surrendered a 2-run blast to Stargell! Wow! Tied at 5. Carroll and Ramon Hernandez pitched into the 11th, where Rose and Morgan sparked another rally. Tolan delivered a 2-run double for the decisive blow! Pedro Borbon closed the 11th.

CIN 000 410 000 02   7-10-0  (Gullett 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 K, 1 W; Morgan 4 for 6, HR)
PIT 110 000 030 00   5-11-2  (Blass 9 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, 5 W;  Oliver 2 for 4, 2 RBI and 1 run scored, and an assist from CF)

ALCS Game 2: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland A's
Oct 8th
Woody Fryman vs Blue Moon Odom

A much bigger crowd of 31,068 turned-out for Game 2 to see Odom make his post-season debut in a matchup with Fryman, who had been terrific since being acquired late in the season by the Tigers. 

Surprisingly, both pitchers were a bit shaky early on.  McAuliffe drew a lead-off walk and Sims smashed a 1-out double to create the scoring situation. McAuliffe scored on a grounder to short. Horton dropped a Texas League single into left to bring Sims home for a 2-0 Detroit lead.  Oakland was able to answer with a run after Alou singled, stole second, advanced on Rudi's bunt and finally scored on a wild pitch!  Wow!   In the 4th, Horton pounded a triple and scored on a sac fly to make it 3-1 Tigers.  Odom ran into big trouble in the 7th giving up a single to his counterpart, Fryman, followed by two walks to the top of the order.   He left with the bases loaded and Knowles couldn't shut down the rally, allowing all inherited runners to score.   From there, Fryman and the Tigers cruised to victory!

DET 200 100 320  8-9-1  (Fryman 9 IP, 1 ER, 5K, 0 w;  McAuliffe 2 for 3 with 2 walks)
OAK 100 000 000  1-4-0 (Odom 7.2 IP, 6 ER, 1K, 4 w; Rudi 2 for 4, 1 RBI on a sac)

NLCS Game 2: Cincinnati Reds @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Oct 8th
Jack Billingham vs Bob Moose

Rose led-off the game with a single and stolen base and Morgan lifted a two-run bomb over the right field wall before Moose got the first out!   But then Moose took care of Tolan, Bench, and Perez in order.  In the bottom of the 1st, the Pirates struck back with Clemente's 2-out double and Stargell's two-run blast to tie it up!  The Reds jumped on Moose again for two more runs with RBI hits by Geronimo and Chaney.  4-2 Reds.   The Reds added another run when Morgan singled, stole, and scored on Tolan's base hit to right, but it wasn't enough.  Billingham seemed to be settling in for a long outing when the Pirates came back with 2 walks and 3 hits to tie the game at 5!  Man... what a game!  With the starters gone, relievers Tom Hall (CIN) and Ramon Hernandez (PIT) were very effective.  Rose and Morgan finally got to Hernandez in the 7th.  Rose's solo shot broke the tie and later Morgan extended the lead, scoring on a grounder to deep 3B.  Hall, with some nice defense by Perez, effectively held the Pirates the rest of the way to win an intriguing game!

CIN  221 000 201  8-10-0  (Hall 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 7K, 1W; Rose 3 for 4, HR, W)
PIT  200 300 000  5-9-3   (Hernandez 5 IP, 3 ER, 3K, 2W)

NLCS Game 3:  Pittsburgh Pirates @ Cincinnati Reds
Oct 9th
Nelson Briles vs Gary Nolan 

After two high-scoring games in Pittsburgh, the young Reds came home with a chance to sweep their way into the World Series.  They were greeted by a huge crowd of 52,420.  Both starting pitchers were strong in the early going.  Neither man yielded a hit on his first pass through the opposing line-up!  Pete Rose led-off the bottom of the 4th with a solo shot to center!  1-0 Reds.  But Briles responded by putting away Morgan, Tolan, and Bench in order.  The Pirates got to Nolan in the 5th for two line-drive singles, but a double play and a strikeout held them scoreless.  In the 6th, the Reds had 2 on and 1 out, when Tolan smashed a single through Hebner at third to extend the lead. This was followed by an error at first by Stargell that made it 3-0 Reds.  A conference ensued, but Perez hammered a double to left and finished Briles for the day.  Reliever Bruce Kison struggled to stop the Reds rally, allowing 2 more runs to come across.  Nolan nearly got a complete game, but with 2-out in the 9th, Stargell singled and Oliver blasted a moonshot to deep right.  6-3 Reds.  Clay Carroll gave up back-to-back singles in relief and suddenly the Pirates had the tying run at the plate.  Pinch-hitter Gene Clines flew out to center and the Reds celebration erupted!

PIT 000 000 102  3-9-1  (Briles 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 5K, 3 W, Al Oliver 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
CIN 000 105 000  6-7-0 (Nolan 8.2 IP, 3 ER, 5K, 0 W, Rose 2-for-4, HR, SB)

NLCS MVP: Pete Rose .455 avg, 2 HRs, 3 SB 

ALCS Game 3: Oakland A's @ Detroit Tigers
Oct 10th
Ken Holtzman vs Joe Coleman

A huge crowd of 41,156 greeted the surprising Tigers, who found themselves in position to sweep the favored A's.  The pitching match-up was promising with two 19-game winning workhorses on the mound. 

Not so surprisingly, only one run was scored in the first five innings.  It came in the bottom of the 2nd, after Mickey Stanley led off with a Texas League single to left, he deftly stole 2nd.  McAuliffe came up with a two-out single to right to put Detroit on the board.  Oakland threatened in the 4th, but Ike Brown handled a tough play at 1b to end the rally.  Aside from questionable control, Coleman seemed to keep the A's off-balance.  In the 6th, the Tigers busted loose with back-to-back homers (Horton and Stanley) and that seemed to spell the end for the A's.  However, they had one more shot to get back in it in the 7th.   With 2-on and 2-out, Green hit a line drive to center, but Stanley made the play.  Mike Hegan came in to pinch-hit as the tying run.  He pounded a deep fly to center...  to the wall... CAUGHT by Stanley!  Wow!  Facing elimination, Rollie Fingers and Catfish Hunter both pitched in relief, but the Tigers tagged them for a couple more runs and swept their way to American League pennant!  Coleman was the hero of the day with a complete game, 2-hitter!

OAK  000 000 000  0-2-1 (Holtzman 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4K, 2W)
DET  010 002 110  5-8-0 (Coleman 9 IP, 0 ER, 6K, 5W;  Stanley 3 for 3, HR, SB, and two key plays in the field)

1972 World Series, Game 1: Detroit Tigers @ Cincinnati Reds
Oct 12, 1972, Riverfront Stadium
Mickey Lolich vs Ross Grimsley

Heavy clouds hung over the Ohio River, but it did not dampen the spirits of the hometown crowd as over 50,000 came out to see the Reds in their second World Series appearance in three seasons.  For the Tigers, they were hoping to bring home their second world championship in five years.

Lolich looked strong in the early going, striking-out 3 of the first 6 Reds he faced.   Grimsley, however, looked a bit shaky, giving up two walks and two doubles.  He was lucky to escape a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 3rd.  In the home half, Menke doubled  for the Reds’ first hit.  Concepcion moved him on a bunt and Menke scored on a wild pitch!  1-0 Reds.   But Grimsley got into another fine mess in the 4th with 2-out and 2-on, he walked McAuliffe to load ‘em up.   Ike Brown then hit a high slicing drive that carried… and carried…  GONE!  IT’s a GRAND SLAM!!!  4-1 Tigers.  Grimsley continued to struggle and Wayne Simpson came in to strikeout Stanley.  In the 5th, Menke (walk) and Concepcion (single) again got to Lolich.   But next came Morgan who had struck-out twice so far.  Not this time…   Morgan pulled a long line drive to right field…  A 3-run jolt to tie the game!   Lolich still seemed to be pitching pretty well when he issued a 2-out walk in the 6th.   Then he made a mistake to Geronimo.  Another deep drive to right field… Outta here!  The Reds regained the lead 6-4 and Lolich was done.  In the top of the 7th, Detroit nearly tied it again when Norm Cash hit a deep fly, caught at the wall in center, stranding Duke Sims at 3rd.  After a rain delay, Ed Sprague pitched the final two innings for the Reds, retiring six straight batters. 

DET  000 400 000  4-9-0 (I. Brown 2 for 4, 2B, Grand Slam)
CIN  001 032 10X  7-6-0  (Concepcion 3 for 4, SB, 1 RBI, 1 run scored)

Not a good day for pitchers.  The rain delay and the long flies that carried over the right field wall made it feel like a stormy day at the ball park. 

1972 World Series, Game 2: Detroit Tigers @ Cincinnati Reds
Oct 13, 1972, Riverfront Stadium
Woody Fryman vs Gary Nolan

The Tigers maimed Nolan in the 1st with 4 hits, including back-to-back homers by Sims and Stanley!  The visitors were up 3-0 before the Reds even took their first swing.  Nolan continued to struggle through the 3rd, but the Tigers could only capitalize for one more run.  In the middle innings, Nolan finally found his rhythm, but was lifted for a pinch-hitter after 6 innings of work. Meanwhile, Fryman was in the zone, taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning and pitching with a 5-run lead courtesy of Kaline's solo shot to center.  The Reds mustered a rally in the bottom of the 8th, when Menke's single broke-up the no-hitter.  But this was followed by an error and a walk, and suddenly, Fryman's outing was done.  Chris Zachary walked-in a run before getting Rose and Tolan to end the inning.  Zachary came back out for the 9th and quickly got 2 outs, and THAT is when things got interesting!   Three straight singles made it 5-2, Tigers.  Pinch-hitter Julien Javier was hit by a pitch to load the bases...  Chuck Seelbach relieved Zachary and faced-off with little Joe Morgan, and coaxed him into a popout to McAuliffe!   The series is tied and the next three games will be in Detroit. 

DET  301 000 010  5-11-1  (Fryman 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 4 W; A. Kaline 3 for 4, HR)
CIN   000 000 011  2- 4-0   (Nolan 6 IP, 4 ER, 3 K, 0 W)

Now the series goes to Detroit for 3 games.

1972 World Series, Game 3: Cincinnati Reds @ Detroit Tigers
Oct 15, 1972, Tigers Stadium
Jack Billingham vs Joe Coleman

With the series even, Tigers fans were hoping to take the momentum on this day and give themselves a chance to close-out the series at home.  

Morgan led-off with a walk and a steal, but the Reds pushed their luck and Morgan was caught trying to swipe third base.  Both starters were solid on their first pass through the lineup.  In the 4th, Ike Brown lifted a long fly over the right field wall to put the Tigers on the board!  Billingham shook it off and struck out two of the next three.   In the 6th, Concepcion walked but was picked-off at 1st.  Shortly thereafter, Morgan ripped a solo homer with two-out to tie the game.  Coleman struggled to finish the inning and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 7th.   It paid off with Tony Taylor’s infield single.  McAuliffe came through with a hit-n-run single, moving Taylor to 3rd.  A deep fly to left scored Taylor easily.   Good stuff!  Tigers 2-1.   Detroit reliever John Hiller took care of the Reds in the 7th and 8th.  In the 9th, however, there was trouble.   Rose reached on an error, but was caught stealing.   Over-aggressive base running was killing the Reds in this game.   Tolan lashed a single to left.   Nobody out.   Hiller was relieved by Seelbach, who faced a quiet Johnny Bench (1-for -10) in the series.   Bench hammered it!  Deep left field…  Gone!    A two-run blast suddenly turned the table!  Seelbach’s control was shaky, but he managed to get out of the inning.   Pedro Borbon came on and also ran into some resistance, giving up a walk to Brown and single to Kaline.   With runners at the corners, Sims hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game!

CIN  000 001 002  3-5-1  (Billingham 7 IP, 2 ER, 5 K, 1 W)  2-1 Series Lead
DET  000 101 000 2-4-1  (Coleman 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, 2 W)

1972 World Series, Game 4: Cincinnati Reds @ Detroit Tigers
Oct 16, 1972, Tigers Stadium
Wayne Simpson vs Tom Timmerman

This was an epic.  Neither starting pitcher lasted through the 5th inning.  Twelve pitchers and six pinch-hitters appeared in the game.  Geronimo started the scoring with a 2-run shot in the 2nd.  Morgan scored on a ground-out in the 3rd to post a 3-0 lead for the Reds.  The Tigers scored a run in the 4th, but left the bases loaded.  Kaline belted a 2-run homer to left in the 4th, scoring McAuliffe and tying the game!   Perez answered for the Reds with a mammoth solo shot to regain the lead 4-3 in the top of the 6th.   Simpson was pulled with 2-on and 1 out in the bottom of the inning. Tom Hall faced McAuliffe, who launched one high... and DEEP... OUTTA HERE!   A 3-run jolt that had the home crowd roaring!!  6-4 Tigers.   In the top of the 7th, Joe Niekro got in trouble and Chris Zachary came on with 1-out and the bases loaded.   Before he could work out of the jam, Perez drew a walk to make it 6-5 Tigers.   With 2-out in the 8th, Morgan drilled a double to tie the game again!  John Hiller took over and struck-out Rose.  Hiller came back in the 9th and got two quick outs, but the 3rd out eluded him, as did the strike zone.   Perez, Geronimo, and Menke all drew walks!  It was up to Chuck Seelbach to get out of this mess, but Joe Hague also took a base on balls to break the tie!  Geronimo also scored on a wild pitch to create a 2-run cushion, 8-6 Reds.  McGlothlin struggled in the bottom of the 9th, issuing 2 walks and leaving with the bases loaded and 1 out.  Ugh.  Ike Brown scored on a tense fielder's choice.  8-7 Reds.  With the tying run in scoring position, Aurelio Rodriguez hit a deep fly to left... CAUGHT at the wall by Rose!  Wow.  What a game!

CIN  021 001 112  8-10-1 (Perez and Geronimo both homered and had 2 walks each, Menke and Morgan had 2 doubles each)
DET 000 123 001  7-10-0  (Kaline 3 for 5, HR, SB, McAuliffe 3 for 4, HR 3 RBI)

Here's hoping for better pitching in Game 5!

1972 World Series, Game 5: Cincinnati Reds @ Detroit Tigers
Oct 17, 1972, Tigers Stadium
Don Gullett vs Mickey Lolich

Lolich was eager to redeem himself after surrendering two home runs in Cincy in Game 1.  With the series on the line, Fryman would be available out of the bullpen as well.  Meanwhile, Gullett got his first start since the Game 1 of the NLCS. 

The Reds generated a run on a pair of singles and a sac fly in the top of the 1st, but the side was retired with Tolan trapped-off base!  1-0 Reds.  Gullett walked McAuliffe leading off, but got the next two hitters.  Then the trouble started... A single by Duke Sims had runners at the corners for Stanley.  He belted a deep shot to right field... going... AND GONE!  A 3-run homer put Tiger Stadium into a frenzy!  After a single to Rodriguez, Bench and Gullett had a chat and Cash popped to 3rd. 3-1 Tigers.  

But the Reds quickly got right back into the game with a 1-out triple by Geronimo who scored on a grounder to short.  3-2 Tigers.  In the 4th, an e4 (2b) put Perez in scoring position and Menke tallied the RBI on a base hit to left to tie the game at 3-3!   With the unearned run, it was a new ballgame, but Lolich set the tone with two K's in the 5th.  With 2-out in the bottom half, the Tigers strung together 3-straight hits to left field and on the final one, Brinkman tried for home...  OUT!  on a strong throw from Rose!  In the 6th, Bench lifted a high fly to left and it carried... and  c a r r i e d...  OUTTA HERE! The Reds regained the lead 4-3. 

Stanley made a great play in centerfield in the 7th, robbing Bench (D8) of an extra base hit.  That kept the Tiger fans fired up.  And in the bottom half, with 2-out and Brinkman on 1st, McAuliffe slashed a triple into the right field corner and this time Brinkman scored easily!  Tied again 4-4.  The Reds threatened in the 8th with 2-on and nobody out, but Seelbach recovered to get 3 straight outs.  In the top of the 9th, Morgan led-off with hit.  Rutt-roh Tiger fans...  Seelbach was relieved by Woody Fryman who got Rose on a grounder and Tolan on a pop-fly.  Being careful with Bench, he issued a walk and in stepped Perez.  A huge moment.  And Perez launched it!!  A no-doubter BLAST to left field!!  The Reds lead again 7-4.  Cash singled off of Borbon to start the bottom of the 9th, giving the Tigers hope for a rally.  Brinkman and pinch-hitter Tony Taylor grounded out and then McAuliffe struck out to end the series!  

CIN  110 101 003  7-10-0  (Gullett 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4K, 2 W)
DET  300 000 100 4-12-2  (Lolich 6 IP, 3 ER, 7K, 2 W)

The Reds had some 9th Inning mojo in this series. In all three games at Detroit they scored two or more runs in the top of the 9th to steal victory from the Tigers.  Zachary, Hiller, and Seelbach were unable to contain the Reds in Games 3 & 4, but even Woody Fryman couldn't hold in Game 5.  Seelbach was a hard luck goat because he inherited a couple of tough situations. 

MVP: Tony Perez 
He started the series 0 for 10 with 2 walks, but he was key in Games 4 & 5, going 4 for 6 with 2 HRs, 2 more walks, and 5 RBI.