Hahn Tops Mathewson, Giants 1-0
Cincinnati, OH–Ken Griffey Sr. hit a walk-off double with no outs that scored Ed Roush in the bottom of the 10th, to lead the Reds to a 3-2 Reds win to earn a sweep of the recently surging Giants. The offensive highlights were at a minimum on the evening, as this game was one of the rare GAFL pitching matchups that actually pitted two turn of the century dead-ball contemporaries, Noodles Hahn edged out The Christian Gentleman Christy Mathewson.
The Reds would get on the board first as with runners on first and second with two outs, Ted Kluszewski lined an RBI single that scored Barry Larking to make it 1-0. Both hurlers would toss scoreless second innings as things heading to the third. Leading off the top of the third was the Kung Foo Panda, who in all honesty looked liked he had made to many trips recently to Panda Express and opposed to the Dojo. In this battle of mind over matter, Sandoval won as he laced a booming double to right center field gap, as he shook, rattled, and rolled his way to second. Pablo wouldn’t get much of reprieve as Brandon Crawford laced a double of his own as Sandoval labored his way home to tie the score. Hahn would soon buckle down as Mathewson grounded out to Lombardi, and Mays (having a poor series) grounded out to first. With one on and two out Jeff (can’t believe the Mets traded me) Kent stepped in. Having already homered twice in the previous night, Kent would connect on a two-out RBI triple to put the Giants ahead 2-1.
Mathewson really settled down as he 9 of 10 batters faced between the 3rd and 5th innings. Hahn himself threw scoreless frames in the 4th, 5th, and 6th, in what was a high contact and groundball affair between two men known for their control and not so much their strikeout prowess. Little Joe with one out in the bottom of the sixth against Matty hit a double to right as it was just the second hit surrendered by Mathewson since the first (both by Morgan). Robinson would collect his second hit with an infield single that put runners on first and third. The BIg Klu would then come on through as he lofted a deep fly to right that easily scored Morgan to tie the score at 2-2. Mathewson would rebound and game remained tied. Both aces pitched perfect 7th innings as Hahn got a key double play in the 8th to retire the side in order. In the 8th Mathewson, who was know for his ability to pitch in a pinch, who once only hit three men in a 390 inning season, plunked leadoff man Bob Bescher. Everyone and their mother knew the Bullet Bob was going for second and so did Posey as they picked off Bescher for the first out. Mathewson then retired Larkin and Morgan in order to end the frame.
Hahn displayed a little strikeout power in the ninth as he threw a pair of strikeouts to send the game into the home half of the ninth. Mathewson met the challenge and retired the trio of Robinson, Klu and the Schnoz 1-2-3 in the 9th. Hahn answered right back retiring Sandoval, Crawford and Mathewson as these two were primed to finish this game. It would be a matter of who would blink first.
Ed Roush led off with a single as Ken Griffey Sr. stepped in. While not the power hitter his son would become, Sr. was a more disciplined average and contact hitter while in Cincy and hit a drive to deep left center that went all the way to the wall as Roush rounded third and scored without a throw to seal it in Cincy. Mathewson quietly walked off the mound and tipped his cap toward the Reds dugout in a sign of respect to Hahn as both men were masterful in a classic battle of two of early 20th centuries best. “It’s a true shame Hahn has arm problems and was out of the game by 27,” said the Giants right-hander. “He had the making and stuff of an all time great and maybe even a hall of famer if he went longer.” He’s a fine fellow and a great competitor and while we took defeat this evening, I lost to a man who many should respect and emulate. Noodles has made a name for himself in this league of all-time greats and he has gotten much deserved attention.
Even more amazing about this game was the fact that Mathewson and Hahn pitched a combined 19 innings, faced 70 men combined and didn’t walk a batter and fanned a combined 5. These are games you simply don’t see anymore and it’s nice to see how this game used to be played before the power pitchers took over. A great job by Jeff who managed a very strong series and has his Giants playing up to their ability.