1976 National League Championship Series Game 3
October 12, 1976 at Riverfront Stadium
Reds 7, Phillies 6 Reds Win Best of Five Series 3-0
For all of the drama of this game, it started out pretty slowly. Neither team scored in the first three innings, and it was the Phillies who got on the board first in the fourth when Greg Luzinski doubled home Mike Schmidt. The Phillies padded their lead in the seventh when Garry Maddox doubled home Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt doubled home Maddox to make it 3-0. Similar to game two, the Reds managed only only one single through six innings and that base runner was eliminated on a double play.
The Reds finally struck in the seventh. Ken Griffey led off with a single and he moved to second on Joe Morgan’s walk. Tony Perez singled and scored Griffey to make it 3-1 and then George Foster drove home Morgan on a sac. fly to make it 3-2. Johnny Bench walked to put runners at first and second before Dave Concepcion lined out to second base. Then Cesar Geronimo came up huge with a two run triple to give the Reds a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the eighth, the Phillies answered against Rawly Eastwick. Larry Bowa doubled home Jay Johnstone to tie the game at four, and then Dave Cash hit a sac. fly to score Terry Harmon which gave the Phillies a 5-4 lead. The Reds went down without much of a threat in the bottom of the eighth and then the Phillies scored again in the ninth on Jay Johnstone’s triple. The run was set up by Pete Rose’s fielding error. The Reds entered the bottom of the ninth down 6-4.
Little time was wasted in the ninth. George Foster and Johnny Bench led off with back to back solo shots and the game was tied 6-6. Dave Concepcion singled and he moved to second on Cesar Geronimo’s walk. Both baserunners moved over a base on bunting specialist Eddie Armbrister’s sacrafice and then Pete Rose was given a free pass to load the bases. Then, Ken Griffey drove home Concepcion with a single to win the game.
For the second straight season, the Reds were headed to the World Series. This time it was against the New York Yankees, who needed all five of their games to get past the Kansas City Royals. That gave the Reds three days off in between their come from behind win and game one of the World Series.
1976 National League Championship Series Game 2
October 10, 1976 at Veterans Stadium
Reds 6, Phillies 2 Reds Lead Best of Five Series 2-0
The Reds took a commanding 2-0 lead in their best of five series with the Phillies and while they were down early, they came back decisively and pushed to within a game of their second straight World Series. Pat Zachry got the start for the Reds and Jim Lonborg threw for the Phillies.
Zachry was touched up early for a run in the second inning on Bob Boone’s RBI single. He then gave up another run in the fifth on Greg Luzinski’s solo homerun. In the meantime, the Reds were completely shutdown and Lonborg had a no hitter going through five innings before the wheels fell of the wagon in the sixth.
Dave Concepcion led off the sixth win a walk and he moved over to second on Dan Driessen’s ground out. Pete Rose singled home Concepcion to put the Reds on the board to make it a 1-0 lead. Ken Griffey singled to center and Pete Rose moved to third on a close play. The throw to third allowed Griffey to scoot to second base and that put two men in scoring position with only one out. Gene Garber replaced Lonborg (who at this point had only given up two hits in the entire game) and walked Joe Morgan to load the bases up. Tony Perez then reached first on Dick Allen’s error at first base and this allowed to Rose and Griffey to score to make it 3-2. George Foster then grounded out, but Joe Morgan made it home to make it a four run inning.
Pat Zachry came out of the game in the bottom of the sixth and he gave the ball up to Pedro Borbon, who was phenomonal. The Phillies scattered only four hits off of him in the final four frames and he end up picking up the save. The Reds added two extra runs in the seventh on Ken Griffey’s RBI single and Tony Perez’s sac. fly. The only time the Phillies really threatened was in the eighth when they put two men on with nobody out, but a double play cut that inning short.
The two teams had the day off tomorrow while things shifted to Cincinnati. The Reds would have two chances to win their second straight National League pennant in front of their hometown crowd.
1976 National League Championship Series Game 1
October 9, 1976 at Veterans Stadium
Reds 6, Phillies 3 Reds Lead Best of Five Series 1-0
The Reds won the first game en route to defending their World Series title in a blowout win over the Phillies. The game looked close, but the Reds had this one in hand from about the sixth inning on and only a ninth inning surge by the Phillies made it look closer then it was.
The Reds tied the game at 1-1 in the third. Pete Rose led off with a triple against starter Steve Carlton and then Ken Griffey walked and stole second base. Joe Morgan flew out but it wasn’t deep enough to score Rose, but Tony Perez followed that up with a fly to right that was.
The Reds struck again in the sixth inning. Tony Perez struck out to start the inning before George Foster hit a solo homerun to give the Reds a 2-1 lead. Johnny Bench flew out to center and then Dave Concepcion reached on a double. Cesar Geronimo then reached base on Mike Schmidt’s error and then Don Gullett helped out his own cause when he singled home Concepcion to make it 3-1.
The Reds really opened the game up in the eighth. Johnny Bench led off with a double and then Concepcion walked. Tug McGraw relieved Carlton but he didn’t fare much better because he let each runner move over on a wild pitch. Cesar Geronimo struck out but then Don Gullett cleared the bases with a two run double to make it 5-1. Pete Rose doubled home Gullett to add an extra insurance run before Ken Griffey lined into a double play.
Rawly Eastwick was roughed up in the ninth frame but even those two runs didn’t make it that close. The two teams would square off against each other tomorrow.