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Ultimate Yankee Series II: Game Two

Lineups: 1961 (Visitor) Bobby Richardson 2B, Tony Kubek SS, Roger Maris RF, Mickey Mantle CF, Elston Howard C, John Blanchard DH, Bill Skowron 1B, Yogi Berra LF, Clete Boyer 3B

1978 (Home) Mickey Rivers CF, Willie Randolph 2B, Thurman Munson C, Reggie Jackson DH, Chris Chambliss 1B, Graig Nettles 3B, Lou Piniella RF, Roy White LF, Bucky Dent SS

Starting Pitchers: Bill Stafford (14-9, 2.68) seeks to right the ship against another ace from 1978, Ed Figueroa (20-9, 2.99)

Summary: The ‘78s seemed to be picking up right where they left off when they easily took Game One. Reggie homered leading off the second, and they upped their lead to 2-0 in the third on a Munson RBI single. The Yanks got one back in the fourth but Figgy looked to be cruising.

He seemed to be cruising until the sixth when Elston Howard’s sacrifice fly tied things up. Manager Semendinger had seen enough and went to Sparky Lyle to contain the damage. Sparky was no relief, facing three batters and allowing hits to all. At the end of the frame, the ‘61s had a 4-2 lead. They added three more in the seventh as Kubek and Howard doubles worked around a Mantle walk and a Rivers error in center field.

Meanwhile, Stafford settled in after his early struggles and allowed only a single over the next five innings. After setting down the first two batters of the ninth, the game looked to be in the bag, hut the ‘78s weren’t done quite yet. Gary Thomasson doubled and scored on White’s home run. Jim Spencer, pinch hitting for Dent, responded with a homer of his own! With the gap closed to two runs, skipper Whiteman was taking no chances, and went to the pen for ace Luis Arroyo (15-5. 2.19 in 1961). Arroyo induced Rivers to pop out to Boyer, and the series was tied.

Something tells me that the ‘78s will kick themselves for letting this one get away.

1961 Yankees 7, 1978 Yankees 5. Series is tied one game apiece.

What went right: Kubek went wild for the ‘61s, going 4-4 and scoring three runs…Howard drove in two runs for ’61…White had three hits, including his ninth inning HR…Stafford looked good until tiring in the ninth.

What went wrong: The ’78 bullpen imploded, as Lyle and Tidrow allowed four runs combined in the sixth and seventh innings…Mantle and Maris again only had one single between the two of them.

Player of the game: Kubek was all over the place, getting on base all five times at the plate, scoring three times, and handling eleven chances in the field flawlessly.

Final Thought: Can the 1961 Yankees take the Series while getting little or nothing from the M&M Boys?

Looking Ahead: The venue changes to “Yankee Stadium I” for the next contest, with Catfish Hunter (12-6, 3.58) matching up against Ralph Terry (16-3, 3.15)

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