Thursday, June 12, 2014

Game of the Day (6/11/84)

Astros 3, Reds 2 (14). Houston sent the mediocre Mike Madden, who would end up with 26 career starts. The Reds replied with Mario Soto, who had more starts than that in four separate seasons (including this one), and more notably, was on the way to his second consecutive league lead in complete games.

Cincinnati took the early lead when Eddie Milner tripled and Dave Concepcion singled him home in the top of the first. Soto was perfect for the first two innings; meanwhile, the Reds would draw a total of three walks in the second and third, but strand all three runners. Terry Puhl became the first Astro to reach base when he led off the third with a double, then moved to third on a fly ball. Madden bunted back to the mound, forcing Puhl to stay at third, and Bill Doran flied out to leave the tying run 90 feet away.

A Nick Esasky double and a Dan Driessen walk went for naught in the top of the fourth, but the Reds were able to extend their lead two innings later when Dave Parker walked, moved to third on a steal-and-error, and scored on Esasky's sacrifice fly. They loaded the bases against reliever Joe Sambito in the seventh when Dann Bilardello doubled, Gary Redus was intentionally walked and Milner was unintentionally passed, but Concepcion popped up to end the inning.

Houston finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Harry Spilman led off the inning with a walk, and moved to second on a one-out single by Jerry Mumphrey. Ray Knight hit into a force at second, but the Reds also erred on the play (presumably in going for the double play), allowing Spilman to score. A Puhl single and a pinch walk by Denny Walling loaded the bases, but pinch hitter Enos Cabell popped to first, ending the threat.

Parker greeted new Houston pitcher Bill Dawley with a single in the eighth, but stayed planted at first despite the fact that Spilman had moved from first base to behind the plate as part of a series of defensive changes. Soto was perfect in the eighth, then singled in the top of the ninth and moved to second on a Redus walk before being left there. He remained on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, even after Jose Cruz led off the inning with a triple and Mumphrey singled him home to tie the game; Phil Garner bunted Mumphrey over, Puhl was intentionally walked, and Walling flied to center, with Mumphrey getting doubled off of second and sending the game to extras in the process.

Dawley set the Reds down in order in the tenth; Bill Scherrer was slightly less effective, allowing a single and steal to Craig Reynolds and walking Spilman before ending the inning. Dave Smith worked a 1-2-3 eleventh, including a pair of pinch hitters; Bob Owchinko matched the effort in the bottom of the inning, and both kept the game tied in the twelfth as well, with a Doran single representing the only baserunner allowed by either pitcher.

Mike LaCoss was perfect in the thirteenth, as was Owchinko; LaCoss duplicated his own effort an inning later. Ted Power relieved in the bottom of the fourteenth and was anything but perfect. Garner led off with a single, and was bunted to second; Walling was intentionally walked, and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Jim Pankovits drew a walk to load the bases, and Doran followed with a game-ending single.

Mario Soto pitched long enough to record yet another complete game, except for the fact that he gave up the lead in the ninth. Mike Madden, meanwhile, also had one of his longest starts - he only had three outings in his career exceed the 6 innings he pitched in this one.

The Reds had seven hits in the 14 innings of this game - and they were produced by seven different players. Naturally, that makes me wonder... what's the most hits a team has ever had in a game without one player having multiple hits? (I have no way to answer this question, of course.) Meanwhile, the Astros had three multi-hit games, and two of them produced the tying and winning runs, respectively.

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