On October 13, 1971 — In the first World Series night game ever played, the Pirates defeat the Orioles at Three Rivers Stadium, 4-3, overcoming the Birds’ three-run first inning thanks to the Bucs’ bullpen holding Baltimore scoreless for 8.2 innings. All Fall Classic contests will be evening tilts, beginning with Game 6 of the 1987 Series. Roberto Clemente bats three hits and rookie catcher Milt May delivers a game-winning pinch-hit for Pittsburgh.

The game started out looking like a long night for the Pirates. Starting pitcher Luke Walker gave up singles to the Orioles’ first three batters, Paul Blair, Mark Belanger, and Merv Rettenmund, loading the bases. Blair scored and the others advanced on a Manny Sanguillén passed ball. Walker then intentionally walked Frank Robinson and gave up consecutive sacrifice flies to Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell, giving the Orioles a 3–0 lead.

Manager Danny Murtaugh then pulled Walker in favor of Bruce Kison. Kison proceeded to get the final out of the inning and then pitched shutout baseball for the next six innings, allowing only one hit and despite hitting three Oriole batters, a World Series record.

Kison’s heroics allowed the Pirates to claw back off of starter Pat Dobson. Willie Stargell and Al Oliver cut the lead to 3–2 in the bottom of the first with back-to-back RBI doubles after a leadoff walk. Oliver tied the score at 3 in the third with an RBI single.

In the seventh, Bob Robertson and Sanguillén stroked one-out singles off reliever Eddie Watt. Pinch-hitter Vic Davalillo then lofted a short fly to center that Paul Blair dropped. Robertson reached third and Davalillo first, but Sanguillén was caught in a rundown between second and third. Backup catcher Milt May then batted for Kison and delivered a clutch go-ahead RBI single, scoring Robertson.

Dave Giusti pitched the final two innings of hitless ball for the Pirates and got the save.

 


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