Monday, May 5, 2014

Game of the Day (5/4/84)

Cubs 7, Padres 6. San Diego's Andy Hawkins, who was having a lousy year, took on Chicago's Scott Sanderson, in the middle of a decent, if not full-length, season.

Sanderson worked around a Bobby Brown single in the first inning, which allowed his teammates to seize the lead in the bottom half. Bob Dernier led off with a single and Ryne Sandberg walked. Gary Matthews hit into a force at second, but Alan Wiggins threw the ball away when trying to complete the double play, allowing Dernier to come home with the game's first run. Matthews moved to third on a groundout, stayed there on a walk, and scored on a single by Mel Hall.

Kevin McReynolds singled and Graig Nettles walked in the top of the second, but Garry Templeton hit into a double play to end the inning. Sanderson also allowed a Tony Gwynn single in the third, but Gwynn was subsequently caught stealing. Meanwhile, Hawkins was perfect in both innings, keeping his teammates in range for the strike they would unleash in the fourth. Brown led off with a single, and Steve Garvey matched him. Terry Kennedy and McReynolds followed with singles as well, each driving in a run and the second tying the game, and Nettles added a sacrifice fly to put the Padres in front 3-2.

Hawkins allowed a walk to Ron Cey in the fourth and a triple to Sandberg in the fifth, but stranded both runners. Sanderson was perfect in the fifth, then gave up singles to Kennedy and McReynolds in the sixth before escaping. As a result, the Cubs were still within a run in the bottom of the sixth, and Leon Durham's solo homer therefore tied the game at 3.

The Padres made the unusual decision to have Hawkins hit for himself leading off the seventh, and were rewarded with a single. Wiggins hit into a forceout, then moved to second on a balk before scoring the go-ahead run on Gwynn's single. Gwynn then moved to third on a steal-and-error before coming home on Brown's sac fly.

San Diego hadn't regretted leaving Hawkins in the lineup in the top of the seventh - but they did in the bottom of the inning. Larry Bowa led off with a single, and pinch hitter Richie Hebner and Dernier both drew walks, loading the bases. Hawkins was yanked in favor of Luis DeLeon, who allowed an RBI single to Sandberg and a game-tying sac fly to Matthews. Craig Lefferts supplanted DeLeon and walked Durham to load the bases before Cey hit the inning's third sac fly to bring Dernier home with the go-ahead run.

Lee Smith came on for a two-inning save opportunity and got through the first of those innings easily enough, allowing only a walk to Nettles; pinch runner Luis Salazar was promptly caught stealing. Lefferts worked a spotless eighth, setting up his team's last chance in the ninth. Templeton led off with a single, and the Padres then turned to a pair of pinch hitters. Tim Flannery bunted Templeton to second, and Champ Summers doubled to score him with the tying run. Gwynn was intentionally walked, and Brown and Garvey flied out to keep the game tied at 6.

The Padres rearranged both defense and lineup in the bottom of the inning; Wiggins had been hit for in the top of the ninth, so Flannery took over second base and new pitcher Sid Monge assumed the leadoff spot. Dernier opened the inning by drawing a walk, and Sandberg then tested the new second baseman with a grounder that drew an error, putting runners at first and second. Gary Woods (who had replaced Matthews on defense in the eighth) bunted the runners to second and third, and Durham was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring the pitcher's spot to the plate. Smith was replaced by pinch hitter Bill Buckner (who I did not realize was still a Cub at this point - and who would not be one by the end of the month); Buckner hit into a force at home, but Keith Moreland then worked a walk to force in the winning run.

Sid Monge had never been a noted control pitcher (career rate of 4.2 BB/9), and was struggling with that aspect more than ever in what would prove to be his last season in the majors, so I can't say I love the decision to intentionally walk the bases loaded while he was on the mound, because of the chance of... exactly what happened.

This was of course a playoff preview, and both teams made the postseason largely on the strength of their young, future Hall of Fame #2 hitters. Both Tony Gwynn and Ryne Sandberg played big roles in this one - and those roles were nearly identical, as both players went 2 for 4 with a walk, a run, and an RBI. Sandberg had a triple, but Gwynn had a steal-and-error that put him at third after one of his singles. The differences were very slight indeed; Gwynn had a hidden extra out (he was caught stealing once), and Sandberg had a hidden extra non-out (he reached on an error). They were also rather decisive, as Sandberg scored the winning run after that error put him on base.

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