Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Game of the Day (7/8/84)

White Sox 9, Indians 8. The final score does not immediately suggest "pitching matchup between two Hall of Famers," but that's what it was, with Cleveland's Bert Blyleven taking on Chicago's Tom Seaver.

Seaver was perfect in the top of the first, which allowed his Chicago teammates to strike first in the bottom of the inning; they did so with a Scott Fletcher walk and a Harold Baines triple. The Indians promptly tied the score in the second when Mel Hall doubled and George Vukovich tripled him home. Blyleven allowed a pair of singles in the bottom of the second, but Greg Luzinski was thrown out trying for third on Vern Law's hit, and Cleveland seized the lead an inning later. Brett Butler singled and stole second with one out, and Mike Hargrove singled him home with two away. Andre Thornton, Hall, and Chris Bando followed with singles of their own, the last two of which also brought in runs to make it a 4-1 Indian lead.

The Sox wasted a Baines single in the third, while Brook Jacoby drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and made it to third before ending the inning stranded there. Chicago closed the gap in the bottom of the fourth; Luzinski walked, and Law apparently decided not to risk his getting thrown out on the bases again, hitting a two-run homer. But Thornton and Bando both went deep in the top of the fifth to restore Cleveland's margin to three and chase Seaver in favor of Britt Burns, and Blyleven contained the Sox with ease for the next two innings.

Burns was perfect in the sixth, but allowed a Tony Bernazard single and walked Thornton in the seventh before being pulled. Dan Spillner relieved him and quickly recorded the final two outs of the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Julio Cruz led off with a single, and Rudy Law followed with a two-run homer that brought Chicago within one and sent Blyleven from the game. Ernie Camacho relieved and allowed a single to Fletcher, who moved to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout before Camacho left him there.

Spillner allowed singles to Vukovich and Jacoby in the eighth, but he and Juan Agosto combined to strand the runners. Steve Farr relieved Camacho in the bottom of the eighth and promptly served up a game-tying pinch homer to Jerry Hairston. Carlton Fisk flied out, but Cruz singled to chase Farr for Mike Jeffcoat, and Jeffcoat yielded a Fletcher single and a three-run homer to Baines, putting Chicago in front once more. Agosto notched the first out of the ninth before Ron Reed replaced him; Reed gave up a solo homer to Thornton, a pinch single to Broderick Perkins, and an RBI double to Vukovich, but finally retired Jerry Willard to end the game with the tying run at second.

Some games almost give you too much to write about. This was a matchup of two Hall of Fame pitchers which somehow degenerated into a 7-homer slugfest in which each team's best hitter had an especially great day (Andre Thornton had 3 hits, a walk, and homered twice, while Harold Baines had four hits, including a triple and a homer, and drove in four runs). Moreover, there was late drama, as the Sox threatened in the seventh, then pulled ahead in the eighth only to nearly blow the lead in the ninth. It's enough to push this game past 3 different extra-inning contests that occurred on the same day, which is highly unusual for a nine-inning game.

And yet, the feature that sticks out the most to me is the fact that two different players named Law hit home runs, which is making it very difficult for me to resist the temptation to make a terrible joke using Clash lyrics.

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