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When the teams moved to Philadelphia on Friday, the Phillies scattered Hall of Fame plaques all over Veterans Stadium. The Orioles eked out a 3-2 win because merely mortal Benigno Ayala hit one immortal's slider past the outstretched glove of another immortal.
There was more to the game than that, but the moment to remember came in the top of the seventh with the Phillies leading 2-1 and Steve Carlton, the first 300-game winner to pitch in a World Series in 55 years—Reagan or Grover Cleveland Alexander was the last—on the mound. With two out and nobody on base, Dempsey doubled, and Benny Ayala was sent up to pinch-hit for the immortal middle-inning reliever, Jim Palmer. With the count 3 and 1, Carlton threw an inside slider, and Ayala, looking for precisely that, creamed the ball to the immediate left of Schmidt to score Dempsey with the tying run.
That was all for Carlton, and it was also curtains for the Phillies. Holland was brought on, but he gave up a single to Shelby, Ayala stopping at second. Ford then hit a hot grounder to Shortstop Ivan DeJesus, who became a seventh-inning wretch by failing to catch it, thus allowing Ayala to score with the winning run. The winning pitcher was, lo and behold, Palmer, who won his first World Series game in 1966. "It was my biggest thrill since Hagerstown," said Palmer, referring to his two-game stint in Class A ball this year.
There was a horde of heroes in this game, goats galore and some very curious managing, mostly on the part of Paul Owens of the Phillies. One of the curious things he did was bench the 42-year-old Rose in favor of 41-year-old Tony Perez. With crystalline logic, the Pope explained his movement toward youth by saying, "This will enable us to change our lineup."
Perez had hit Baltimore's starting pitcher, Mike Flanagan, well when he played for the Red Sox the previous three seasons, but the move hurt Rose, who had played every inning of his 59 previous postseason games. Rose uncharacteristically shunned reporters before the game, but he did tell the immortal Cosell that he was "hurt" and "embarrassed." Besides upsetting Rose, the change smacked of panic.
Solo homers seemed to be all the rage in this Series, and the Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Flanagan with bases-empty shots by Matthews in the second and Morgan in the third.
Carlton, meanwhile, faced only nine batters in the first three innings, and he got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth by getting the slumping Murray to pop out and Roenicke to hit into a double play. Flanagan, who was having trouble pushing off what the Orioles claimed was an abnormally high mound, had to leave after four innings when Altobelli sent Singleton up to bat for him after Dempsey doubled with two outs. Altobelli, who failed to use Singleton in the first two games, seemed to be wasting him this time—he struck out. Palmer, the winningest active pitcher in the American League, came in to pitch against Carlton, the winningest active pitcher in baseball. As Altobelli so eloquently put it, "We had two guys out there who had 568——wins. Is that a piece of——or what?"
In the top of the sixth, Ford put the Orioles on the scoreboard with, yes, a solo home run into the leftfield bullpen. Before the game, Ford had specifically asked the batting practice pitcher to throw inside to him to make sure he had recovered from Wednesday's beaning. It was an inside pitch he hit off Carlton.
Palmer turned in two shutout innings, although he did get in trouble in the sixth after a fluke infield single and a walk. The next batter was Carlton, and Owens came out to visit him in the on-deck circle. "If you can give me another inning," the manager said, "I'm going to let you hit." According to Owens, Carlton said, "I'll let you make that decision. I'm all right." Palmer then struck him out.
Before he went out for the seventh, Carlton got a rubdown from Gus Hoefling to loosen his aching back. He got the first two Stooges, Dauer and Cruz, but Dempsey ("Cut it out, Moe") hit one into the gap in left center for his second double of the game. Enter Ayala, who said afterward, "I have a degree in pinch-hitting. I majored in it, and I plan to make a career out of it."