Game One: 69 Braves 5, 69 Pilots 2
WP: P Niekro (2-0)
LP: Segui (0-2)
Save: Upshaw (4)
HR: F Alou (1), H Aaron (1)
Game Two: 69 Braves 7, 69 Pilots 4
WP: Reed (2-0)
LP: Pattin (0-1)
Save: Upshaw (5)
HR: Whitaker (2)
Game Three: 69 Braves 7, 69 Pilots 5
WP: Jarvis (2-0)
LP: Brabender (1-1)
Save: Upshaw (6)
HR: Oyler (1), Gonzalez (3), Whitaker (3), Cepeda (3)
Game Four: 69 Pilots 4, 69 Braves 3
WP: O'Donoghue (2-0)
LP: Britton (0-1)
Save: Locker (2)
HR: Comer (2), H Aaron (2), Carty (2)
Game Five: 69 Pilots 2, 69 Braves 1 (10 innings)
WP: Bouton (2-0)
LP: Neibauer (0-1)
Game Six: 69 Pilots 2, 69 Braves 0
WP: Gelnar (2-0)
LP: Reed (2-1)
Save: Locker (3)
HR: Comer (3)
Game Seven: 69 Pilots 8, 69 Braves 0
WP: Brabender (2-1)
LP: Jarvis (2-1)
Save: Marshall (1)
HR: Hegan (3), Mincher (2)
Down three games to none, the expansion team Pilots held the Braves of Hank Aaron, Orlando Cepeda and Rico Carty to just four runs over the final four games, including two shutouts and advanced to the third round.
Phil Niekro helped get the homestanding Braves off on the right track with eight innings of five-hit ball in the opener. Both runs he allowed were unearned. Felipe Alou hit a three-run homer off Diego Segui in the fourth inning, and after the Pilots used a Clete Boyer error to pull within a run in the top of the eighth, Aaron hit a two-run homer off Jim Bouton to widen the margin.
The second game opened with lots of runs. Steve Whitaker's two run homer capped a three-run first for Seattle against Ron Reed. The Braves struck back with four runs off Marty Pattin, with Alou hitting a leadoff triple. The first five hitters Pattin faced reached. The Braves had three sac flies in the game, two by Aaron. Reed settled in for six scoreless inning after the first to get the win.
The series shifted to Sick's Stadium for Game Three, and Gene Brabender was battered for two runs in the first, two in the second and three in the third. Tony Gonzalez led off with a home run, and Orlando Cepeda added another in the third. The Pilots did manage a 4-4 tie in the second on a pair of two-run homers by Whitaker and Ray Oyler, but mounted little threat to Pat Jarvis and the Atlanta bullpen after that.
Facing elimination, the Pilots turned to George Brunet for Game Four. The lefty held the Braves to one run in five innings before leaving for a pinch-hitter. He held a 2-1 lead at the time, courtesy of a Wayne Comer homer and a pair of doubles by Greg Goossen and Jerry McNertney. Bouton entered in the sixth and yielded solo homers to Aaron and Carty. Seattle immediately tied it on singles by Tommy Harper and Tommy Davis followed by a Comer sac fly. Bouton and John O'Donoghue held the Braves down in the seventh and eighth; in the bottom of the eighth, Davis and Comer hit back-to-back doubles off Jim Britton for the go-ahead run. Bob Locker had a perfect ninth inning for the save.
Niekro and Segui's rematch in Game Five was quite the pitcher's duel, with two of the three runs unearned. Segui allowed just two hits in nine innings; the one run Atlanta mustered off him game when Mike Hegan committed a three-base error on the leadoff hitter in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Mike Lum followed that with a sac fly, which tied the score at 1. (Jim Pagliaroni had tripled home Comer in the sixth inning.) Bouton threw a 1-2-3 10th inning for Seattle. In the bottom of the 10th, pinch hitter Steve Hovley singled with one out. He advanced to second on Harper's walk and scored when Carty muffed pinch-hitter Goossen's fly ball in left.
Back in Fulton County Stadium for Game Six, the Pilots got a four-pitcher shutout from John Gelnar, Bouton, Pattin and Locker. Gelnar went six innings, allowing five singles and no walks. Bouton got five outs, Pattin one and Locker worked through a jam in the ninth. Comer scored both runs for the Pilots, homering in the fourth off Reed and starting a three-single rally for a run in the sixth.
The Pilots got their one and only easy win of the series in the finale, although it wasn't until Jarvis left for a pinch hitter that they blew it open. Don Mincher tripled to lead off the second inning and scored on John Donaldson's single to open the scoring. Brabender and Jarvis kept the game at 1-0 through five innings. Pappas relieved in the sixth and quickly gave up a two-run homer to Mincher. Seattle blew the game wide open with a four-run seventh, highlighted by Hegan's three-run homer. The Pilots hit for Brabender during that rally, and Mike Marshall threw three innings on one-hit ball to wrap up the win and the series.
Player of the series: Wayne Comer played a key offensive role in three of the Pilots' four wins. He was 7 for 16 with two homers, four runs and four RBIs despite making only four starts in the series.
Player availability: Neither Gelnar nor Brabender may pitch until Game Three. Marshall should not be used in Game One.
Projected rotation: Up in the air. The third round matchup with the Astros offers the possibility of a Bouton vs Bouton matchup, and that will happen. The one other certainty is that Brabender will start Game Three and Game Seven if the series goes that far.