Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Game of the Day (6/2/84)

Blue Jays 9, Yankees 8 (10). New York sent Dennis Rasmussen out for his fourth career start; he would end up with 235 in a respectable career. Toronto's reply was Luis Leal, who was a 27-year-old veteran and just over a year away from the end of his big league tenure.

Both starters were perfect in the first. New York opened the scoring in the second when Don Baylor reached on a Garth Iorg error, Dave Winfield singled Baylor to third and took second on the throw, and Steve Kemp singled both runners home, though he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. Rasmussen allowed a leadoff double to Cliff Johnson in the bottom of the inning, but a flyout, a walk, and a double play allowed him to elude the potential for scoring.

The Yankees wasted singles by Butch Wynegar and Don Mattingly in the third, and Toronto struck in the bottom of the inning. Buck Martinez led off with a walk, and Alfredo Griffin singled. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and a sac fly brought home the first Jay run of the game. Lloyd Moseby then walked, and Jesse Barfield launched a 3-run homer to put his team in front.

New York wasted no time in rallying, as Kemp led off the fourth with a walk and Omar Moreno hit a rare home run one out later. But a Willie Upshaw single chased Rasmussen in the bottom of the inning, and Martinez doubled against Jay Howell to bring in the go-ahead run once more. Roy Lee Jackson countered a fifth-inning Mattingly single with a double play, and the Jays extended their advantage when Moseby and George Bell both homered in the bottom of the inning.

Kemp led off the sixth with a single, and Moreno drew a one-out walk. A two-out wild pitch moved them to second and third, and Willie Randolph walked to load the bases. Wynegar then singled in two runs, chasing Jackson in favor of young Jimmy Key; Mattingly greeted the newcomer with a game-tying single, and Key was pulled for Jim Gott, who retired Baylor to end the inning. Howell stranded Griffin after a sixth-inning single, and Gott did the same after Kemp's hit in the seventh. Johnson and Bell both had hits in the bottom of that inning, chasing Howell in favor of Dave Righetti, who retired Upshaw to strand the runners.

Gott set the Yanks down in order in the eighth. Righetti recorded the first two outs in the bottom of the inning, but Griffin then singled and stole second, and Damaso Garcia reached on a Randolph error that brought Griffin around with the go-ahead run. Gott allowed singles to Mattingly and Winfield in the ninth, then was pulled with one out. Dennis Lamp relieved and allowed a Kemp single to load the bases, and Ken Griffey grounded into an Upshaw error that tied the game once more, this time at 8-8. Righetti permitted a Bell single-and-steal in the bottom of the ninth, but after an intentional walk to Upshaw, Tony Fernandez grounded out to induce the playing of extra innings.

Lamp gave up singles to Mattingly and Baylor in the tenth, but Winfield flied out to strand them both. Clay Christiansen relieved Righetti in the bottom of the inning and hit Dave Collins with a pitch; Griffin then hit into a force, but moved to second on an errant pickoff throw. Garcia drew a walk, prompting the Yanks to lift Christiansen for Bob Shirley; Shirley walked Moseby to load the bases and was in turn replaced by Curt Brown. Ernie Whitt greeted him with a pinch hit walkoff single.

The Yankees never retook the lead after Toronto's four-run third, but they rallied to tie the game 3 separate times, the last of them coming in the ninth. The New York lineup accumulated 16 hits, five of them by Don Mattingly (in the first of three 5-hit games he would have during his breakout season), and another four by Steve Kemp (the last time the once-excellent hitter would reach that total). But the Blue Jays had 14 of their own, led by a career-high-tying quartet from Alfredo Griffin (who would match that total 14 times in his 18-year career, but never exceed it). Moreover, Toronto also got home runs from each member of its excellent outfield, which added up to 5 RBI. All of the hitting led to an unusually high rate of pitcher turnover (for 1984, anyway), as the teams combined to use 11 hurlers in a 10-inning game.

The repeated rallies and copious numbers of baserunners put this game in the top 15 for 1984 to date, and make it the second-best contest of 10 innings or fewer so far.

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