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Big League Stew

Giants one more shutout from matching ’66 Orioles’ World Series record

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Dave McNally and Frank Robinson (AP)

One more victory and the San Francisco Giants win the World Series. One more shutout and they do something that's been accomplished only once before — 46 years ago — in modern Major League Baseball history.

The Baltimore Orioles tossed a World Series record three straight shutouts to close out the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1966. After they beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Saturday night in Game 3, the Giants are nine innings from matching those O's. Of course, the mere mention of the possibility means the Tigers will score a run or several runs in the first inning Sunday against Matt Cain, win Game 4 and stretch the series to five or six or who knows how many games?

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However, if the Giants can keep the Tigers off the scoreboard for 27 more outs (and win the game), their pitchers will join the likes of Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker and Dave McNally for otherwise unparalleled stinginess. But the Giants can't match those three in one respect: Palmer, Bunker and McNally threw complete games, with Bunker and McNally winning by 1-0 scores in Games 3 and 4, respectively. They were pitching without a net! Unless you count getting solo home runs from Paul Blair in Game 3 and Frank Robinson in Game 4. Robinson, the Series' MVP, also won the Triple Crown earlier that season.

In all, the '66 O's limited the Dodgers to two runs and 17 hits over four games. They were kept scoreless for the final 33 innings of the Series, also thanks to Moe Drabowsky, who tossed 6 2/3 one-hit innings in relief of McNally in Game 1.

The '66 Series also was notable for the six errors the Dodgers made in Game 2, including three by Willie Davis. It turned out to be Sandy Koufax's final game. He would retire at age 30. (It also should be noted that Davis stole a home run from Boog Powell with an amazing catch in center field during Game 4.)

[Related: Hollow $44 million bats spell doom for Tigers]

The Tigers have pitched well in this Series, too, except for Game 1 — and even then, Justin Verlander was a little unlucky. In Game 3, after he settled down, right-hander Anibal Sanchez was as strong as anyone the Giants have sent to the mound. He just had no margin for error, manager Jim Leyland said.

"We got a tremendous pitching effort, but we've been shut out for 18 innings, so it's pretty hard to win a game," Leyland said.

And it's really hard against the Giants when — going back to the final three games of the NLCS — they've tossed four shutouts and outscored their opponents 32-4.

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