Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20, 1993: Wet and wild

PHILADELPHIA - The runs came early and often. Philadelphia led 4-3 after one inning, 6-3 after 2. Toronto lead 7-6 after three. Philadelphia took the lead back. Back and forth it went.

The rain had been falling all day, making conditions slippery and difficult for fielders, so the runs kept coming. Philadelphia put up runs in four straight innings, including five in the fifth, but Toronto kept answering. The scoreline started resembling something you'd see in a slow-pitch softball game, then it started looking like a football score. But it was the World Series.

The 1993 series had been high scoring before game 4. The defending champion Blue Jays had scored 22 runs in taking a 2-1 series lead, but Philadelphia's offense had represented itself well, also. But nothing that happened in the first three games compared to the wild events of game 4.

The first run of the game came in the top of the first, when Toronto's Paul Molitor drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk. The Blue Jays added two more that inning. Philadelphia's first run also came as a result of a two-out, bases-loaded walk in the first. The next batter, Milt Thompson, hit a triple to make the score 4-3. It was the first hit of the game for Philadelphia. Phillies leadoff hitter Lenny Dykstra hit a two-run home run in the third to extend the lead to 6-3. Toronto got the lead back, scoring four runs in the third with two walks, two stolen bases, and four singles.

Deep breath. The next four half-innings passed with only one run scoring. Perhaps the chaos had stopped.

Not quite. Philadelphia hit two home runs in the fifth, including a second by Dykstra, and took a 12-7 lead into the sixth. They seemed to be in control, especially since they kept answering when Toronto scored. When Darren Daulton drove in a run by being hit by a pitch, it was 14-9 Philadelphia entering the top of the eighth.

Then came the wild eighth inning. Five straight batters reached for Toronto as they scored twice and loaded the bases with one out. After a strikeout, Rickey Henderson hit a two-run single, followed by a two-run triple by Devon White, and Toronto was in front by a stunning score of 15-14.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about game 4 was that after all those fireworks, nobody scored in the final inning and a half. Philadelphia's final six hitters went down quietly, and Toronto only added one more hit. Their 15-14 victory put the Blue Jays one win away from a second straight championship.

The 29 runs scored set a postseason record for most runs scored in a single game, a record that still stands. The teams combined for 32 hits and 14 walks. Every position player who started for Toronto got at least one hit and scored at least once, while Philadelphia had three different players get three hits and had three players drive in three or more runs. The teams used 11 pitchers, and three different pitchers gave up at least six runs. There were 18 half-innings played in the game, and at least one run was scored in nine of them. The only completely scoreless inning was the ninth, by which point the offensive players might have been exhausted. Perhaps the only saving grace in the game was the fact that nobody committed an error.

The wet and wild game 4 destroyed the teams' pitching staffs and tired out the hitters. With the game not ending until after midnight, there were some dragging players who showed up to the park the next day. Order was restored a bit in that one, as Philadelphia won 2-0.

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