Saturday, June 7, 2014

Game of the Day (6/6/84)

Braves 5, Giants 4 (11). Atlanta's Pete Falcone was in the last season of a mediocre 10-year career, which started with the Giants. San Francisco's Jeff Robinson was just beginning his own mediocre 9-year major league stint, which would come to an end with... the Cubs. (This would have been much cooler if I could have ended that sentence with "the Braves," but reality doesn't usually let you do things like that.)

Robinson gave up an unearned run in the first, as Alex Trevino reached on a Joel Youngblood error, stole second, and scored on a hit by Dale Murphy. Falcone walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning (the walks going to Johnnie LeMaster, Jack Clark, and Jeffrey Leonard) before Bob Brenly fouled out to end the threat. Both pitchers allowed lone baserunners in the second and kept them at first base. Trevino scored again in the top of the third when he and Gerald Perry singled to put runners at the corners and Murphy hit into a double play that allowed Trevino to come home.

The bottom of the inning turned the tide rather sharply. Al Oliver singled with one out, Clark walked, and Leonard singled to load the bases. Brenly did not foul out this time; instead, he hit a grand slam, putting the Giants in front 4-2. The Braves replied in the top of the fourth, albeit less emphatically; Glenn Hubbard drew a leadoff walk, Randy Johnson (not that one) bunted him to second, he took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout by pinch hitter Terry Harper.

Harper's appearance spelled an early end to Falcone's day, and Jeff Dedmon worked a flawless fourth in his place. Robinson worked around a Perry double in the top of the fifth, while Dedmon allowed a Clark single and hit Brenly (with arguably suspicious timing) before getting an inning-ending double play out of Youngblood.

Johnson reached on another Youngblood error in the sixth, but Robinson left him on. Donnie Moore relieved in the bottom of the inning and allowed only a LeMaster walk. Robinson was spotless in the seventh, while Oliver doubled in the bottom of the inning but moved no further along the bases. Robinson continued his fine work in the eighth, allowing only a walk; he was finally pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning, and while Gene Richards singled, he was immediately picked off. LeMaster then singled as well, only to be caught stealing second.

Greg Minton took the mound in the top of the ninth and allowed a leadoff pinch single to Mike Jorgensen. Rafael Ramirez hit into a force (taking pinch runner Albert Hall out of play), then moved up on Trevino's groundout. Gary Lavelle was inserted in Minton's place, and Bob Watson hit for Perry and stroked a game-tying double. Murphy was intentionally walked, and Chris Chambliss flied out to end the inning with the go-ahead run at second.

Steve Bedrosian was perfect in the ninth, and both Lavelle and Bedrosian kept the bases clean in the tenth. Hall led off the eleventh with a single, but was then caught stealing second; Ramirez grounded out, and Trevino tried to, but Brad Wellman's error put him on first. The error didn't appear to be too damaging, since Bedrosian was up next and was allowed to hit for himself - but the relief pitcher singled. Murphy was intentionally walked to load the bases, which is a terrible decision (it forced the go-ahead run to third!), and was quickly revealed as such when Chambliss worked a walk of his own to force in that run. Jeff Cornell relieved Lavelle and ended the inning, but Bedrosian worked around a Dusty Baker pinch walk to finish off the game.

There's quite a lot to like about this game. Alex Trevino scored the first and last runs of the game, both of them coming after he reached on errors. One team's starter was yanked after three innings and the other lasted eight, yet both teams used the same number of relievers (three) in the game. Bob Brenly drove in all of his team's runs with one of his two career grand slams. An aging Bob Watson tied the game in the ninth with the second-to-last of his 307 career doubles. Steve Bedrosian had one of his 15 career hits in the middle of a game-winning extra-inning rally.

And yet, I think my favorite part of the game is the immediate backfire of an abysmal intentional walk. But that's my warped mind talking; the game is excellent either way, good enough to beat out 13- and 14-inning games from the same day.

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