Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Game of the Day (5/26/84)

Reds 7, Cubs 6. Cincinnati started Frank Pastore, a once-decent starter who was in his last year as a regular rotation member (and justifiably so). The Cubs countered with Don Schulze, who was making his fourth and final start with the team (also justifiably).

Eddie Milner did his best to singlehandedly generate a hitless run in the top of the first. He drew a one-out walk from Schulze, then stole second and took third on Jody Davis's throwing error. Dan Driessen flied to center, and Milner tried and failed to score on the play, giving Schulze a highly eventful way to face the minimum. Pastore took a more conventional route to the same result, simply retiring the Cubs in order.

Cincinnati opened the scoring in the second on four consecutive two-out singles by Dave Concepcion, Ron Oester, Tom Foley, and Pastore. The 2-0 lead doubled in size in the top of the third. Milner singled, stole second, and scored on Driessen's single. Dave Parker then doubled Driessen to third, and Brad Gulden's sac fly brought him home. Chicago posted its first run in the bottom of the inning when Davis doubled, Larry Bowa walked, a wild pitch moved them to second and third, and Bob Dernier grounded out to score Davis.

Rich Bordi relieved Schulze in the fourth and set the Reds down 1-2-3; Pastore duplicated the effort in the home half. Milner led off the top of the fifth with a triple and scored on Driessen's single for a 5-1 lead, but the Cubs countered with singles by Davis, Bowa, and pinch hitter Gary Woods to pull back within 3.

Warren Brusstar tossed a perfect sixth, and the Cubs made a game of it in the bottom of the inning. Leon Durham singled with one out, and Mel Hall tripled to score him. John Franco replaced Pastore and fared disastrously, walking both Ron Cey and Davis, then giving up a game-tying two-run single to Bowa. Bruce Berenyi relieved Franco and walked Woods to load the bases, but struck out pinch hitter Richie Hebner and Ryne Sandberg to preserve the newly-forged tie.

Tim Stoddard allowed a leadoff hit to Berenyi in the seventh, but stranded him at second. In the bottom of the inning, Durham singled, stole second, and scored the go-ahead run on Cey's double. Stoddard opened the eighth by walking Parker and Gulden; Concepcion bunted the runners to second and third, Oester was intentionally walked to load the bases, Foley struck out, and pinch hitter Wayne Krenchicki grounded out to end the inning with the Cubs still in front. Bill Scherrer allowed two-out singles to Stoddard and Sandberg in the bottom of the eighth but left both men on.

Steve Trout replaced Stoddard in the ninth, raising the question of why the Cubs had him hit for himself in the previous frame (even if he did single). With one out, pinch hitter Eric Davis reached on a rare Sandberg error, and Bowa promptly committed a miscue of his own that allowed pinch hitter Cesar Cedeno to reach as well. Parker's groundout moved the runners to second and third, and the Reds then sent up their third pinch hitter of the inning in franchise legend Tony Perez. Perez singled both runners home to take a 7-6 lead. The bottom of the inning saw Scherrer walk Keith Moreland and Ted Power allow a single to Cey before retiring the next two hitters to end the game.

Three separate pitchers (including two relievers) had hits in this game; that can't be something that happens too terribly often, right? And yet, they're not the most interesting combination of three batters in this game. I'm not sure I ever expect to see a trio of more accomplished pinch hitters in one inning than the group the Reds unleashed in the ninth: Eric Davis, Cesar Cedeno, and Tony Perez. Davis was just breaking into the league (the tying run he scored was the second plate crossing of his career), while the other two were well past their primes. But, with some help from the Cub glovemen, they were still enough to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in this one.

Side note: This was the only start Don Schulze would make for the Cubs in 1984, but it was not his only start of the year. Schulze's most notable contribution to the Chicago National League franchise would come on June 15, when he was included with Joe Carter and Mel Hall in the trade that brought Rick Sutcliffe to Wrigley.

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