Ranking the Greatest Contests Between New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh crushed New York by a score of 12-5 in the first game of the two-game series before being shut out 10-0 in the second game six years ago.
This is an old rivalry that will be renewed when the Pirates play in their first series at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
Let's take a look at the greatest games ever played between these two teams.
*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball Reference
5. June 24, 2008: Pirates Win, 12-5
Tom Gorzelanny pitched well during a game against the Yankees on June 24, 2008, in Pittsburgh.
In 6.0 innings pitched, Gorzelanny held the Yankees to just three runs on six hits. However, he also walked five batters, and that win would be the last one he would earn that season with the Pirates, as he was demoted to Triple-A in July.
The Pirates exploded on offense against Yankees pitcher Darrell Rasner, who allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 5.0 innings pitched.
Jose Bautista, who the Pirates probably regret ever trading, went 1-for-4 that day, blasting his ninth home run of the season.
Catcher Ryan Doumit added a home run and two other hits, as he went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in that day.
For a Pirates team that was only four games under .500 entering the game, that had to have been a feel-good win, as they knew they were building toward the future.
4. June 15, 2005: Yankees Win, 7-5
In 2005 on a Wednesday night in the Bronx, the Yankees and Pirates squared off in a classic baseball game.
Kevin Brown took the mound for the Yankees that day, lasting just 4.1 innings while allowing the Pirates to score three times.
Mark Redman pitched great for the Pirates, holding the heavy hitters in New York to just two runs in 6.1 innings pitched.
In the top of the seventh inning, Jack Wilson homered off of Tanyon Sturtze to put the Pirates ahead, 4-1. Robinson Cano cut New York's deficit to just two in the bottom half of the inning with a run-scoring single.
In the top half of the eighth inning, the Pirates got that run right back after Jason Bay led off with a solo home run.
After the Yankees scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to trail by only one run, Mariano Rivera came on to pitch a scoreless ninth inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jorge Posada doubled off of Jose Mesa to tie the game at five. Alex Rodriguez attempted to score the winning run, but he was gunned down on a beautiful relay throw from shortstop Jack Wilson.
In the top of the tenth inning, Rivera shut the Pirates down again, and that set the stage for some more mystique and aura in the Bronx.
With one out and a runner on second base, Jason Giambi drilled Jose Mesa's pitch deep into the night, and the Yankees walked off the field with a come-from-behind win.
Without question, that was the greatest game in recent memory between these two clubs.
3. October 8, 1927 (World Series Game 4): Yankees Win, 4-3
In order for Pittsburgh to win the World Series in 1927, the Pirates would have to overcome the Yankees' "Murderers' Row" in Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Bob Meusel.
Pittsburgh fell behind three games to none in the series, as the Yankees were on the brink of their second World Series championship.
Pittsburgh's Carmen Hill started the game on the mound, going 6.0 strong innings while allowing three runs.
Trailing 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Pittsburgh received some help from the Yankees' defense, as two errors allowed the first two batters to reach base.
After Clyde Barnhart drove in Pittsburgh's second run with a single to center field, Paul Waner tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center.
The game remained tied at three until the bottom of the ninth inning, when Earle Combs scored the series-clinching run on Johnny Miljus's wild pitch.
This was one of the craziest endings to a World Series as well as one of the greatest games ever played between these two teams.
2. October 9, 1960 (World Series Game 4): Pirates Win, 3-2
The Pirates quickly fell into a hole in the 1960 Fall Classic, losing two out of the first three games against the Yankees.
Pittsburgh looked completely overpowered by New York, losing the two games by a combined score of 26-3.
On Sunday, October 9, the momentum swung in the Pirates' favor, as one of the most memorable games to that point in franchise history was played.
The Yankees struck first in the fourth inning against Pirates ace Vern Law, who went 20-9 and won the Cy Young Award in the 1960 regular season.
In the top of the fifth inning, Law led the way with his bat as well, doubling to deep left to score Gino Cimoli and tie the game, 1-1. Later that inning, Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon drove in two runs with his single to center field.
That would be all the offense the Pirates would need, as Law pitched 6.1 solid innings, allowing two earned runs. Roy Face came on to relieve Law in the seventh and shut the Yankees down as the Pirates won the game, 3-2.
With the win, the series was tied at two wins each. Suddenly, the pressure was on the Yankees to win Game 5 at home, as they knew that they would have to win two games in Pittsburgh if they failed to do so.
1. October 13, 1960 (World Series Game 7): Pirates Win, 10-9
Not only was this the greatest victory ever for the Pirates over the Yankees, it was arguably the greatest game in the organization's history.
The stage was set on a Thursday afternoon in 1960 for Game 7 of the World Series. It all came down to one game, as the winner would be crowned world champions of baseball.
The Pirates were confident in sending their ace, Vern Law, back out onto the mound for the third time in the series. After all, Law had been dominant in his previous two outings, winning both of his starts in the Fall Classic that year.
The Pirates came out swinging against New York's Bob Turley, scoring two runs in both the first and second inning.
After pitching four scoreless innings, Law allowed a home run off the bat of Bill Skowron to put the Yankees behind by only three runs in the fifth.
In the sixth inning, Law allowed the first two batters to reach base before being replaced by Roy Face, who had finished Game 4 for Law and the Pirates.
This time, Face simply didn't have his best stuff, as baseball legend Mickey Mantle drove in the Yankees' second run with a single to center field. Next up was Yogi Berra, who drilled a three-run home run to right field, putting the Yankees ahead by a scored of 5-4.
The score would remain the same until the top of the eight inning, when the Yankees scored two more times to take a 7-4 lead. It seemed as if the Yankees were set to celebrate another World Series championship.
In the bottom of the eight inning, the Pirates rallied for five runs on five hits to take a 9-7 lead into the ninth inning. Now it was Pittsburgh that was just three defensive outs from October glory.
After Mantle drove in another run with a single, Berra grounded out to first base, driving in the tying run.
That set the stage for Bill Mazeroski, who etched his name in baseball lore with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to capture the franchise's third World Series championship.
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