Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Game of the Day (7/1/84)

Angels 7, Brewers 6. Bob McClure started for Milwaukee, Jim Slaton for California. The two had been Brewer teammates for six seasons (which were non-consecutive, oddly - Slaton spent a year in Detroit in the middle of the stretch), and this was Slaton's first season in California, so this was sort of a discount version of a Glavine-Maddux faceoff after Glavine joined the Mets.

McClure got off to a lousy start, allowing a first-inning double to Gary Pettis and an RBI single to Mike Brown; Doug DeCinces followed with a single of his own, and Brian Downing then cracked a 3-run homer to take a 4-run lead. Milwaukee got one of the runs back when Jim Gantner and Cecil Cooper doubled in the bottom of the first.

That was all of the scoring for quite a while, though not for lack of chances. The Angels put runners on the corners in the second when Pettis was hit by a pitch and Juan Beniquez singled him to third, but Brown popped up to leave them on. Singles by Ted Simmons and Rick Manning were similarly squandered in the bottom of the inning. In the third, Bobby Grich drew a two-out walk and Reggie Jackson doubled him to third, but Bob Boone flied out to leave them on; Gantner singled and Robin Yount walked to open the bottom of the inning, but Slaton worked through three hitters who represented the tying run without allowing any of them to reach.

Pettis walked and was picked off in the fourth; Ed Romero also drew a free pass in the bottom of the inning, and remained stapled to first. Neither pitcher allowed a baserunner in the fifth, and McClure circumnavigated a Boone single in the sixth. In the bottom of the inning, Slaton allowed a Ben Oglivie single and a Simmons double to bring the Brewers within 4-2; one out later, Bruce Kison relieved and struck out Romero. A wild pitch moved Simmons to third, Manning drew a walk, and another wild pitch scored Simmons and moved Manning to second. Dion James then proceeded to hit a game-tying RBI triple. Kison recovered to strike out Gantner, but plenty of damage was already done.

McClure recorded two quick outs in the seventh, but then allowed a triple to Brown and was pulled for Pete Ladd. Ladd walked DeCinces, and then gave up Downing's second three-run homer of the day to give the Angels a 7-4 lead.

Milwaukee drew closer on an Oglivie homer in the bottom of the seventh, and Kison was pulled in the bottom of the eighth after Jim Sundberg and Romero both singled. Luis Sanchez walked Manning to load the bases with nobody out. James hit into a force that pulled the team within a run; Gantner then flied to left, and Romero was thrown out trying to score the tying run. An Oglivie walk was the only threat the Brewers managed in the ninth, as Sanchez finished off the save.

Fun as the old friends' pitching matchup was, the obvious highlight of this game was Brian Downing's pair of three-run homers. The 6 RBI were the highest total of a highly distinguished 20-year big league career; the +.549 WPA was not, but it was still quite impressive for a game whose decisive run was scored in the seventh inning.

An interesting pitching matchup, a career day from a fine player and a tying run getting thrown out at home in the late innings? Yeah, I would take that as a fan in attendance.

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