October 20, 1972: Pete Rose hit the first pitch of the game for a home run and the Reds later overcame a 4-2 deficit in defeating the Oakland A’s, 5-4, to stay avoid elimination in the 1972 World Series. The Reds now trailed the A’s three-games-to-two through five games.
Rose’s first inning homer gave the Reds a 1-0 lead, but the A’s struck back in the bottom half of the second inning of game when Gene Tenace hit a three-run homer off Reds starter Jim McGlothlin. The Reds got one run back in the fourth on a Denis Menke home run, but the A’s made it 4-2 when pinch hitter Gonzalo Marquez singled home Sal Bando.
The Reds came back one run at a time. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Joe Morgan walked with two outs and scored all the way from first on a hit and run single to right field by Bobby Tolan, chasing Hunter. The Reds tied it in the eighth when A’s ace reliever Rollie Fingers walked Morgan who then stole second base. Tolan singled to right field, scoring Morgan. The Reds pushed across the deciding run in the top of the ninth inning when Cesar Geronimo led off with a single. Pitcher Ross Grimsley, batting for himself, sacrificed Geronimo to second. Dave Concepcion reached on third baseman Bando’s error with Geronimo holding at second. Rose followed with a single to centerfield to score Geronimo and give the Reds a 5-4 lead.
The A’s threatened in the bottom of the ninth. Tenace walked to lead off the inning. Ted Kubiak popped up to first base on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Dave Duncan was sent up to bat for pitcher Dave Hamilton with pitcher John “Blue Moon” Odom sent into the game to run for Tenace. Jack Billingham, normally a starter but having an excellent World Series, was called on to relieve Grimsley and face the righthanded batting Duncan. Duncan singled down the left field line with Odom advancing to third base. Bert Campaneris then foul popped down the right field line with Reds Gold Glove second baseman Morgan making the catch. Odom decided to race home from third base to try to score on the foul pop, but Morgan wheeled and threw to Reds catcher Johnny Bench at the plate to nail Odom and preserve the Reds’ victory.
Rose had three hits and two rbi and Tolan had two hits to help keep the Reds alive in the Series. Meanwhile, Reds relievers Pedro Borbon, Tom Hall, Clay Carroll, Ross Grimsley, and Jack Billingham pitched six innings of five-hit shutout baseball in relief of McGlothlin.
October 20, 1990: The Reds scored twice in the eighth inning and Jose Rijo retired the last 20 batters he faced as the Reds win their first World Series since 1976 with a four game sweep of the heavily favored Oakland A’s.
The A’s drew first blood by scoring their only run in the first inning when Carney Lansford singled home Wille McGee who had doubled earlier in the inning. Those two hits would be the only A’s hits of the day as the Rijo and the Reds kept them hitless over the final eight frames.
The Reds scored their only two runs in the eighth inning, but they were a hobbled team by the eighth. World Series star, Billy Hatcher, was hit on the hand by a Dave Stewart pitch and had to leave the game. For the Series, Hatcher was 9-12 to set a World Series record with a .750 batting average and he reached base a World Series record nine consecutive times. Star outfielder Eric Davis lacerated a kidney making a sliding catch in left field and spent 11 days in the hospital following the game.
The Reds winning rally came in the eighth when Barry Larkin led off with a single. Hatcher’s replacement, Herm Winningham, then reached on a bunt single on an 0-2 pitch, Winningham’s second hit of the game. Paul O’Neill then sacrificed, but reached first on pitcher Stewart’s throwing error, loading the bases with no one out. Davis’s replacement, Glen Braggs, then forced out O’Neill at second base with Larkin scoring the tying run on the play and Winningham moving to third. The deciding run scored when Winningham scored on a Hal Morris sacrifice fly.
Rijo, winner of three games and MVP of the 1990 Series, struck out Dave Henderson to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning to retire his 20th consecutive batter of the game. Reds closer Randy Myers was then called on to retire the final two outs of the game. Reds third baseman Chris Sabo had three hits in the game and went 9-16 for the Series, a .563 batting average.