Monday, June 23, 2014

Game of the Day (6/22/84)

Pirates 7, Phillies 6 (13). Philly's Kevin Gross, who was young and mediocre, took on Pittsburgh's Lee Tunnell, who was also young and pretty close to being outright bad. Both of them spent 1984 splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen, despite serving as near full-time starters in the surrounding years.

Tunnell threw a scoreless first; the only runner to reach was Von Hayes, who was quickly picked off after walking. The Pirates jumped ahead in the bottom of the inning; they loaded the bases on two-out singles by Johnny Ray and Jason Thompson and a walk to Lee Mazzilli, then scored two runs on a Milt May single and another on a hit by Jim Morrison. The Phillies loaded the bases in the second when Sixto Lezcano singled, John Wockenfuss reached on a Dale Berra error, and Ivan de Jesus walked, but Gross then came to the plate and grounded back to the mound to end the inning.

Gross threw a perfect second, however, and his teammates fared much better in the top of the third. Juan Samuel led off with a single, Jeff Stone tripled him home, and Hayes added an RBI groundout to make it a 3-2 game. Mike Schmidt then walked, Tim Corcoran singled, and Lezcano belted a three-run homer to take the lead and drive Tunnell from the mound in favor of Cecilio Guante. Gross was perfect in the bottom of the third as well, then singled leading off the fourth before being left on. May led off the bottom of the inning with a homer to pull Pittsburgh within 5-4. Guante was spotless in the fifth, and the Pirates tied it in the bottom of the inning when Lee Lacy singled, stole second, took third on a passed ball, and scored on a Mazzilli groundout.

Guante worked around a de Jesus single in the sixth, and Gross set the Pirates down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. The Phils took the lead again in the seventh when Stone singled and Schmidt tripled him home, though they missed an opportunity to extend that lead by leaving Schmidt at third. That would come back to haunt them a short time later, when Marvell Wynne and Lacy started the bottom of the seventh with singles, Ray bunted them to second and third, and Thompson greeted reliever Al Holland with a game-tying sac fly.

Guante and Holland exchanged flawless eighths; Guante allowed only a walk to Hayes in the ninth, and Holland retired the Pirates in order to send the game to extras. Kent Tekulve kept the bases clear in the tenth, while Thompson singled against Andersen only to have pinch runner Rafael Belliard caught stealing. Tekulve allowed a Garry Maddox single in the top of the eleventh; he then induced what could have been a double play from Samuel, but Belliard (having taken over at short) erred on the throw to first, putting Samuel at second. Rod Scurry relieved and got an inning-ending groundout from Stone. Andersen and Scurry traded perfect frames; Andersen then issued a pair of walks in the twelfth before getting a double play from Ray.

Scurry was perfect again in the thirteenth, and Bill Campbell relieved in the bottom of the inning. Belliard led off by flying to Hayes in center - and Hayes erred on the play, sending Belliard to third. A pair of intentional walks loaded the bases, and Morrison hit into a force at home for the first out, but Berra singled to score the winning run.

The starters in this game combined to pitch 8.2 of the 25.1 innings, and gave up 11 of the 13 runs that were scored. In particular, Lee Tunnell allowed 5 runs in 2.1 innings, and the Pirate bullpen then gave up one run in 10.2. That's about as good a recovery as a pitching staff can have from a disastrous start.

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