Friday, July 4, 2014

Game of the Day (7/3/84)

Red Sox 6, A's 5. Unlike the previous day's pitching matchup, this one did not feature a pair of ERA champs. Boston's Bruce Hurst would eventually go on to garner league leads in complete games and shutouts in separate seasons; Oakland's Tim Conroy never pitched enough in a year to lead the league in anything, and if he had, his career 81 ERA+ indicates that it likely would not have been in a beneficial category.

Hurst and Conroy both put single runners on in the first when Dwayne Murphy singled and Wade Boggs walked, but both pitchers induced double plays to post opening zeroes. Carney Lansford and Davey Lopes singled in the second, but were left on, and the Sox opened the scoring in bottom of the second when Mike Easler and Bill Buckner walked, Gary Allenson singled, and Marty Barrett hit a sac fly.

Oakland tied the score in the third on a Murphy single and a Joe Morgan double. Conroy allowed a Boggs single and a Jim Rice walk in the bottom of the inning, but left them both on, and the A's pulled ahead in the fourth. Lopes walked with one out, and Bruce Bochte singled. Oddly, Hurst was pulled at that point, relieved by Rich Gale (if he was hurt, it can't have been too badly, as he made his next scheduled start five days later). Oakland greeted the new pitcher with an attempted double steal, and while Lopes made it to third, Bochte was thrown out at second on the attempt. Gale then walked Mike Heath and gave up a two-run double to Tony Phillips and an RBI single to Rickey Henderson. Henderson moved to third on a steal-and-error before being left there when Murphy grounded out.

Conroy worked around an Allenson single in the bottom of the fourth, while Gale saw Lansford reach on an error in the fifth but left him on. Boggs drew a walk to start the bottom of the fifth, but Dwight Evans hit into a double play. Boston restarted its rally admirably, as Rice singled, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Tony Armas single; Mike Easler then launched a two-run homer to tie the game at 4. A Buckner single chased Conroy from the mound in favor of Mike Warren, who walked Allenson and Barrett to load the bases before getting Jackie Gutierrez to hit into an inning-ending force.

Bochte led off the top of the sixth with a double, and came around to score the go-ahead runs on singles by Phillips and Henderson. John Henry Johnson then relieved Gale and retired the next two hitters to end the inning, and Boston tied it again in the bottom of the inning on singles by Boggs, Rice, and Armas.

Bob Stanley was perfect in the seventh and eighth, and Warren matched his effort in the first of those innings. Boggs reached on an error to start the bottom of the eighth. One out later, Lary Sorensen relieved Warren and allowed a Rice single, but got a double play from Armas to keep the game tied. Stanley walked Murphy in the top of the ninth, but gave up nothing else, and the Sox ended it in the bottom of the inning on singles by Easler, Buckner, and Allenson.

Just as they had in the previous day's top contest, Wade Boggs and Rickey Henderson both played excellent games in this one. Henderson went 2 for 5 with a steal and a pair of RBI, but it was Boggs who had the better effort, going 2 for 3 with a pair of walks, a run scored, and even a steal of his own. (The steals were Henderson's 40th of the year, and Boggs's second.)

Boston actually proved unable to take full advantage of Boggs's production, as Dwight Evans and Rick Miller combined to go 0 for 5 from the second spot in the order, with Evans hitting into a pair of double plays. They were, however, able to capitalize on their other five multi-hit games, which came from Jim Rice, Tony Armas, Mike Easler, Bill Buckner, and Gary Allenson in spots 3 through 7 in the batting order. Those players combined for five runs scored and five RBI, and were directly involved in all six of Boston's runs.

So as it turns out, it is in fact helpful to get two or more hits from five consecutive spots in your lineup.

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