Monday, July 28, 2014

Game of the Day (7/27/84)

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2 (10). St. Louis sent Joaquin Andujar, who was a pretty good pitcher for a pretty long time, against Pittsburgh's Larry McWilliams, who lasted the same number of years, but threw fewer innings at a slightly lower level of effectiveness.

The Cards threatened in the first, as Tito Landrum doubled and Terry Pendleton singled him to third, but George Hendrick hit into an inning-ending double play. Andujar was perfect in the bottom of the inning, and David Green led off the top of the second with a homer to put St. Louis in front. Landrum's third-inning single produced nothing lasting, but Green homered again in the fourth for a 2-0 lead, and Andujar didn't give up his first hit until the fifth; even then, Jason Thompson's leadoff single was erased when Jim Morrison hit into a double play.

Andujar's near-flawless pitching persisted through perfect sixth and seventh innings, while the Cards got only a Pendleton single-and-caught-stealing over the same span. After a spotless eighth from McWilliams, Pittsburgh finally got on the board when Morrison homered with two outs in the eighth, ending Andujar's chances of a 27-batter shutout. Pendleton singled again in the ninth and was stranded, and the Pirates clawed back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a pinch single by Doug Frobel and a two-out double by Lee Mazzilli.

Kent Tekulve relieved in the tenth, and the Cardinal lineup finally awoke. Frobel, one of the heroes of the previous inning, committed an error that allowed Chris Speier to open the inning on third. Darrell Porter lined out, Steve Braun walked, and Willie McGee hit a sac fly to bring in the go-ahead run. An intentional walk later, Pendleton hit his fourth single of the game, but Braun was thrown out trying to score on the play. The missed chance for insurance was rendered irrelevant when Bruce Sutter ended the game by retiring the Pirates in order.

This game was just inordinately well-pitched - Andujar went 9 innings and allowed only 4 hits, and McWilliams was nearly as good, striking out 7 and walking none. Yet you could argue that the key player was not one of the excellent starting pitchers. Rather, it was David Green, whose pair of homers gave St. Louis the early advantage that got them into extra innings. Green would end his career with a total of 31 homers; this was the only time that more than one of them came in the same game. Given that his team won that game by a single run, Green's timing could hardly have been better.

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