they came back to busch -- then in its 2d season -- for game 3, which pitted 24-year-old nelson briles against veteran right-hander gary bell. both pitchers had helped stabilize needy rotations that summer -- briles assumed gibson's spot in the rotation when gibby went down with a busted leg (the tale is told in this post). he opened game 3 with a scoreless half-inning; then lou brock stepped up and mashed a triple (i can picture him cruising around the bases . . . . ), and scored on flood's subsequent single. next inning mike shannon hit a two-run homer to put El Birdos up 3-0. briles held the sox scoreless until the 6th, when they singled home a run, but the cards struck right back: brock bunted his way on, went to 3d on an errant pickoff throw, and scored on a single by roger maris. reggie smith homered in the 7th to make it 4-2; the cards restored the 3-run cushion in the 8th on a two-out double by cha-cha cepeda. briles closed it out in the 9th, and the cardinals went up 2 games to 1 en route to a 7-game series victory.
as long as we're looking back at history, here's another little tidbit: in all of baseball history, only two teams with regular-season win totals in the 80s have ever swept a postseason series. the braves knocked off the astros 3-0 in the 2001 nlds, and la russa's 1st st louis playoff team did likewise to these very same padres in the 1996 nlds. the cards will try to become the 3d such team today.