Game Rewind: Pirates at Giants, May 4, 1958

The Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants played a doubleheader at Seals Stadium on May 4, 1958 and the wind was blowing out according to the game reports. That led to a total of eight home runs, including three from a very unlikely source in game one that day. This is the recap of game one from that twinbill.

It was a Sunday afternoon early in the 1958 season. The Pirates were off to a 9-6 start and they had Ron Kline on the mound. The Giants were also doing well at a 10-7 record. They had John Antonelli on the mound. This game included four future Hall of Famers early in their career, two on each side. Willie Mays was the veteran in the group at 26 years old, batting third for the Giants. At first base and batting fifth was the Baby Bull, Orlando Cepeda. He was playing his 18th career game. The Pirates had Roberto Clemente batting sixth and Bill Mazeroski batting seventh. A total of 22,721 fans were in attendance that day.

This game started off with a bang. Roman Mejias hit a lead-off homer to get the Pirates on the board first. Dick Groat followed with a double and Frank Thomas walked, but Clemente made the third out on a fly ball to Mays and it stayed 1-0. Kline retired the side in order in the bottom of the first.

The Pirates had one runner on in the second, with Kline reaching on an error. The Giants got a lead-off walk from Hank Sauer in the second, but that was it and he never reached second base.

The Pirates went down quickly in the third, with Antonelli picking up two strikeouts. San Francisco tied it in the bottom of the frame with a Ray Jablonski single and a Willie Kirkland double. Jablonski didn’t start the game, but had to come in early when Jim Davenport got hurt.

That tie lasted exactly two batters. After Willie Mays made the final out in the third, Frank Thomas led off the fourth with a homer. The game went to the fifth with a 2-1 Pirates lead.

In the fifth with one out, Roman Mejias hit a solo homer to make it 3-1. The Pirates added a second run by playing some small ball, getting a single, stolen base, wild pitch and an RC Stevens RBI single. Kline allowed a single and a walk in the fifth, but a double play ball saved the inning.

Antonelli left for Al Worthington, who worked around a second error by shortstop Daryl Spencer to throw a scoreless inning.  Mays led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch, but never made it home, keeping the score 4-1.

Spencer committed his third error at the top of the seventh inning, allowing Mejias to reach base. He stole second and Bob Skinner walked, but no runs were scored. Kline retired the side in order to send it to the eighth.

Marv Grissom came on for the Giants and had a 1-2-3 inning, getting a pair of ground outs from Clemente and Mazeroski. Kline walked the lead-off man in the eighth, but a double play ball and a strikeout from Mays ended the inning quickly.

On to the ninth and Kline remained in the game, though he was plunked by a pitch (the paper said he got “nicked” by the pitch). The next batter was Romas Mejias and he blasted one over the left-center fence for his third home run of the day. He was the first Pirates player since Ralph Kiner to accomplish that feat.

Roy Face came on for the ninth and gave up a lead-off homer to Hank Sauer. He also allowed a single, but he closed the door for the 6-2 victory.

Mejias was in his third season in the majors and he had a total of five homers to that point. He would hit just two more homers during the rest of the 1958 season, with his fourth homer coming on August 17th. It was clear from the game report that he got some help from the wind that day, but everybody else had that same advantage and they combined for two homers. Later in his career with the 1962 Houston Colt .45’s, Mejias hit 24 homers that season, so there was some hidden power, but in his six seasons in Pittsburgh, he hit just 17 homers total in 308 games.

Here’s the boxscore and play-by-play from Baseball-Reference.