Sunday, August 25, 2002
Cinergy countdown No. 12
October 6, 1973
By John Erardi, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Before 53,431 fans at Riverfront Stadium the then-largest crowd in the five-year history of the National League Championship Series Pete Rose hit an eighth-inning home run off the New York Mets' Tom Seaver to tie the score, and Johnny Bench hit a ninth-inning HR to win it 2-1.
It ran the Reds' record against the future Hall of Famer to 13-8.
Seaver struck out 13 Reds (also an NLCS record), five of them on only three pitches. It was a dominating performance until Rose and Bench came along.
He was changing his fastballs from ones that zip to ones that wouldn't zip and that's a son of a buck to hit, Rose said after the two-hour game. I'd rather have his heater. It's 95 (miles) per (hour).
With the count 2-2 on him in the eighth inning the second strike was on the outside corner Rose correctly anticipated an inside fastball. He exploded on it, wrote Reds beat man, Bob Hertzel.
It was a remarkable turnaround in a game that had been thoroughly Seaver.
Seaver, who had doubled in the Mets' only run, couldn't believe the abruptness of the loss.
Rose hit a pretty good pitch, said a dazed Tom Terrific said in the post-game clubhouse. But Bench hit a nothing pitch nothing on it. (Was I) tired? Could've been.
The phrase walk-off home run didn't exist back then, but that is what Bench had hit.
In a short series like this, when you beat a team's ace and take a 1-0 lead, Bench said, it's got to give you a lift and take something out of the other team.
Jack Billingham pitched eight innings of three-hit, one-run ball. Reliever Pedro Borbon , with his relatives gathered around the radio back home in the Dominican listening to the game in Spanish, got the victory.
But the joy didn't last long. The Mets' Jon Matlack threw a two-hitter on Sunday to even it. At Shea Stadium, the Mets pounded Ross Grimsley in Game3 and the Reds won Game4 (Rose home run in the 12th inning off Harry Parker). The Mets won Game5 7-2 but lost to Oakland in the World Series.
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