Dec 16, 2020
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On October 7, 1961 -- Cincinnati hosted its first World Series in 21 years at Crosley Field.
Game 3 pitted New York's 23-year-old right-hander Bill Stafford against Reds' veteran knuckleballer Bob Purkey. Stafford pitched well for 6 2⁄3 innings. Purkey also had outstanding control and kept the Yankee hitters off-balance, but New York would triumph on a Maris home run in the ninth. While the Yankees' offense still was stagnant, it was just good enough.
Cincinnati struck first with a run in the bottom of the third when Elio Chacón beat out a bunt and took second when Stafford threw wildly to first. Eddie Kasko fouled out to Bill Skowron and Vada Pinson grounded out to send Chacón to third before Frank Robinson hit a double off the left-field wall to make it 1–0.
In the seventh, the Yankees got a big break to tie the game. Tony Kubek led off with a single to center, then took second on a Johnny Edwards passed ball. After Mickey Mantle struck out, Yogi Berra blooped a ball into short right field that neither second baseman Chacón nor right fielder Robinson called before the two collided, allowing the ball to drop as Kubek scored. The Reds regained the lead in their half of the inning when Edwards doubled into the right-field corner and eventually scored on a Kasko singled to left. Bud Daley came in to relieve Stafford and retired Pinson on a flyout to right to end the inning.
The Reds' lead would be short-lived, as the Yankees tied the score in the eighth. With two outs, Johnny Blanchard (pinch-hitting for Daley), smacked a Purkey knuckler into the right-field bleachers. The Reds went quietly in the bottom of the inning, the score tied at 2–2.
In the ninth, Maris recorded what would be one of only two hits in the Series, but this one went into the right-field bleachers for a go-ahead home run. With ace reliever Luis Arroyo on the mound for the Yankees in the ninth, the Reds had one last shot. After Gene Freese struck out, Leo Cárdenas, batting for Johnny Edwards, doubled off the left-center field scoreboard. Dick Gernert, pinch-hitting for Purkey, grounded out to short, Cardenas holding. The third pinch-hitter in the inning, Gus Bell, ended the Reds' comeback attempt by grounding back to the mound, Arroyo to Skowron, to end the thriller and give the Yankees a two games to one Series lead.