Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Game of the Day (6/10/84)

Pirates 12, Phillies 6 (12). Pittsburgh started Jose DeLeon, whose up-and-down career has been reviewed in this space a couple of times already this season. Philly countered with Charles Hudson, whose career was less up-and-down and more steadily mediocre, and who was most notably traded for Mike Easler instead of Bobby Bonilla or Lance Johnson.

Hudson got roughed up a bit in the first, allowing a single to Marvell Wynne, a double to Lee Mazzilli, and RBI singles to Bill Madlock and Jason Thompson, all before recording the first out. He recovered to retire the next three Pirates, however, and his teammates rallied to tie in the bottom of the inning on a single and steal by Juan Samuel, an RBI single by Von Hayes which was  followed by a steal-throwing error combo, and a game-tying single by Mike Schmidt. Both starters preserved the tie in the second, and Pittsburgh nosed ahead in the third when Johnny Ray doubled, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on Tony Pena's single. Another single and a walk would load the bases before DeLeon grounded out to end the inning.

Hayes walked in the bottom of the third, but the Phils didn't mount another serious threat until the fourth when Tim Corcoran singled and Glenn Wilson doubled, putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out. John Wockenfuss struck out, Kiko Garcia grounded into an out at home, and Hudson popped up to leave the tying run at third. Hayes reached again in the fifth, this time on a double, but was left on, and the Pirates extended their advantage in the sixth when Benny Distefano tripled and DeLeon brought him in with a sac fly.

A Mazzilli walk in the top of the seventh chased Hudson; with Larry Andersen on the mound, Mazzilli stole second, Madlock singled him to third, and Thompson brought him home with a flyout. The Phils replied in the bottom of the inning when Greg Gross led off with a pinch walk, Hayes walked as well two outs later, and Schmidt singled in a run, reducing the deficit back to two runs. Rod Scurry relieved and Sixto Lezcano hit for Corcoran, but Schmidt was caught stealing before Lezcano's at bat concluded.

Bill Campbell walked Dale Berra in the eighth, eventually stranding him at second. Lezcano led off the bottom of the inning with a single against Kent Tekulve, but was erased on a double play; as a result, Wockenfuss's walk and Joe Lefebvre's pinch single went to waste when Gross flied out. Campbell allowed a Ray single-and-steal in the ninth, but left him at second, and in the bottom of the inning, Samuel doubled and Garry Maddox homered to tie the game. Tekulve recovered to strike out three of the next four hitters, sending the game to a tenth inning tied at 5.

Both teams put the go-ahead run in scoring position in the tenth; Distefano reached on a Samuel error and advanced on a Dave Wehrmeister wild pitch, while Cecilo Guante walked Ivan de Jesus, then balked him to second. Madlock doubled in the top of the eleventh before being stranded, while Lezcano walked and was left on in the bottom of the inning.

Jim Kern relieved in the top of the twelfth and the Pirates unloaded on him with admirable thoroughness. Distefano led off with a single; one out later, Milt May hit a pinch double. Wynne singled both runners home, then stole second; Lee Lacy followed that with an inside-the-park homer, expanding the lead to 9-5. Madlock reached on an error, Thompson singled, Ray doubled in one run, and Pena singled home two more, making it a 12-5 game and bringing Distefano back to the plate. He and Berra both made outs (giving Berra the first and last outs of the inning). The Phils tried against Lee Tunnell in the bottom of the frame; Gross singled and Samuel tripled him home, but Maddox grounded out to end it.

There was a bunch of fun stuff in this game - an extra-inning inside-the-park homer tops the list, but there was also a 0 PA pitching appearances (Rod Scurry was on the mound when Schmidt was caught stealing, then pulled for a pinch hitter before resuming Sixto Lezcano's at bat), not to mention a game-tying homer in the ninth. Finally, there was also a remarkable turnaround: through eleven innings, the Pirates were 4 for 17 with runners in scoring position. In the twelfth, they went 4 for 5.

It adds up to one of the best games of 1984 so far (#13 on the year), and about as good a game as you can expect to find in which the home team never leads.

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