That same night the White Sox lost to Detroit 4-3 on an eighth-inning home run by Harry Chiti and fell four games behind the Yankees in the loss column. This not only made Stengel rejoice but gave a slight measure of comfort to Richards as well. "I may not be as happy as Stengel today," he said in the clubhouse before Saturday's game, "but maybe I feel a little better than Al Lopez."
"It was good to get that first one," Stengel said, waiting for Saturday's game to begin, "because now they can't get them all so I guess that puts us in a better spot, especially if we can get some of those home runs."
The Yankees got their home runs again. It was a good ball game, a very good ball game, and it took the Yankees a long time to put Chuck Estrada down. As a matter of fact, it took three hours and one minute, and Estrada, first pitcher in the American League to win 17 games, never went completely down, just far enough.
In the first inning, with Lopez on base, Mantle hit a ball deep into the upper right-field stands, a real triple-decker, for a 2-0 lead.
In the third, the Orioles loaded the bases with none out, but Bob Turley then set down Gene Wood-ling, Jim Gentile and Brooks Robinson, 1—2—3. Turley was in trouble again in the fourth but wiggled out, getting Estrada to hit into a double play. In the fifth, Woodling walked, Gentile singled, and Robinson singled Woodling home. Later Richards could only shake his head. "If the same three guys who got us the run in the fifth had hit like that in the third, we'd have had 16 runs." Even without 16 runs, the Orioles tied the score in the sixth when Gus Triandos socked one into the left-field seats.
Then Berra hit one into the right-field seats and the Yankees led 3-2. Then Gentile hit one upstairs to keep Mantle's ball company and the score was tied. By this time Turley was long gone, so was Shantz, so was Bill Stafford, and Jim Coates was soon to go, as Stengel maneuvered his pitchers, taking them out at the first sign of weakness, hitting for them when there was a chance to score a run.
For the Orioles, however, Estrada was still around and perhaps this was Richards' only error. In the eighth Berra hit a hard bounding ball down to first base which took a bad hop and glanced off Gentile's arm, going out into center field. Yogi hustled it into a double. Skowron was walked, intentionally. Estrada, tiring visibly, walked Pinch-hitter John Blanchard, unintentionally, to load the bases. Then Bobby Richardson hit a line drive back to Estrada; it bounced off the pitcher's glove, out into right field and two Yankee runs scored. That was the ball game, and the Yankees led two games to none.
"It was an odd game to watch," said Stengel. "Everybody was hitting the ball over the buildings. I started to hit for Richardson, but I needed him to play second base."
"They outplayed us and they out-hit us," said Richards. "That's all there is to it. Tomorrow it looks like we have to draw to the inside straight."
Tomorrow was Sunday, and while rain fell on almost 55,000 fans, and delayed the start of the double-header nearly an hour, Richards sat in his office, talking to visitors. "I guess it's up to Fisher and Pappas," he said. "Who's pitching for them?"