Friday, June 20, 2014

Game of the Day (6/19/84)

Brewers 6, Blue Jays 5. Milwaukee's Moose Haas was a decent mid-rotation starter. Toronto's Dave Stieb was an ace in his prime. You wouldn't anticipate an even pitching matchup.

And it wasn't even - just not in the way one might have expected. Stieb worked around a Jim Gantner single in the first, while Haas gave up a double to Damaso Garcia and a triple to Dave Collins, scoring the game's first run. Stieb walked Jim Sundberg in the second, while Haas was perfect in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the third, the lead changed hands, as Dion James was hit by a pitch, Gantner doubled to tie the game, and Robin Yount singled Gantner home to take the lead.

Haas allowed a Collins double in the third but left him on. Sundberg tripled in the fourth, but the 33-year-old catcher was then caught stealing home. (It was one of his two stolen base attempts of the year, so I assume it was a missed squeeze bunt or something, but you never know.) Rance Mulliniks singled and was stranded in the bottom of the fourth, and Milwaukee extended the lead in the fifth. Rick Manning led off with a walk, and moved around to third on a pair of outs. Yount then walked, and Cecil Cooper, Ben Oglivie, and Ted Simmons hit consecutive RBI singles, pushing the score to 5-1 and chasing Stieb in favor of Jim Acker.

Haas gave up a Collins single in the fifth, but nothing else; a James single and a fielder's choice put two runners on in the top of the sixth before Acker stranded them. With two out in the bottom of the sixth, George Bell singled, Mulliniks walked, and Buck Martinez tripled to score both of them and halve the deficit. Haas ended the inning, but was chased in the seventh by a two-out Lloyd Moseby double; Rick Waits entered to allow an RBI single to Willie Upshaw, and was in turn pulled for Rollie Fingers, who retired pinch hitter Cliff Johnson to end the inning.

Acker was still on the mound in the eighth, and countered a walk with a double play. Bell led off the bottom of the inning with a game-tying homer, and Mulliniks followed with a walk; pinch runner Garth Iorg moved around to third by the end of the inning before being left there.

Jimmy Key replaced Acker in the top of the ninth and quickly got into trouble, with a Gantner single and a Yount double putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Cooper fouled out, and Oglivie... I'm not entirely sure what happened here, actually. The play is scored as a fielder's choice to second, with Yount being thrown out at third, Gantner staying at third, and Oglivie making it to second. So I'm guessing Oglivie grounded to second, Gantner held up and Yount didn't, getting thrown out in the ensuing embarrassing rundown. Whatever happened, Simmons was intentionally walked, and Dennis Lamp relieved Key and allowed a go-ahead single to Sundberg. Fingers retired the Jays in order to finish off the game.

The Jays had some highly notable advantages in this game, particularly the pitching matchup; they also got a homer from George Bell, and had Dave Collins come a homer short of the cycle. But the Brewers had their strong points as well. Their double play combination of Jim Gantner and Robin Yount was lethal, reaching base seven times in ten plate appearances, driving in two runs and scoring three. Throw in a triple and a go-ahead single from the surprisingly spry Jim Sundberg, and you've got enough to overcome the apparent pitching disadvantage and scratch out a win against a team that would finish over 20 games ahead of you in the standings.

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