Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Game of the Day (8/12/84)

Red Sox 3, Rangers 2 (11). Boston's Bruce Hurst faced Texas's Dickie Noles. Hurst was a quality lefty who would do his best work later in the decade; Noles was a right-handed swingman whose career was essentially a plateau of mediocrity (he ended up with -0.6 WAR, and never had more than +1 or less than -1 in a season).

Wade Boggs led off the game with a single, but Noles struck out the next three hitters, and Gary Ward put Texas in front with a home run in the bottom of the inning. A Larry Parrish single and a Pete O'Brien walk put another run in scoring position before Hurst ended the first. Rich Gedman walked and advanced on a passed ball before being left on in the top of the second, while Jeff Kunkel singled and was removed on a double play in the bottom half. Jackie Gutierrez singled and stole second in the third, but was also left on, and Billy Sample led off the bottom of the inning with a homer to double the Ranger lead. A Ward walk and singles by Buddy Bell and O'Brien loaded the bases with one out, but George Wright hit into a double play to end the inning.

Mike Easler singled in the top of the fourth, and Curt Wilkerson matched him in the bottom; neither runner advanced past first. Boston could have scored in the fifth when Marty Barrett was hit by a pitch and Boggs doubled, but Gutierrez hit into a double play between the two baserunners. The Rangers squandered a chance in the bottom of the inning when Ward led off with a double and took third on a groundout; Parrish was intentionally walked, and O'Brien grounded to third, getting Ward thrown out at home. Jim Rice singled and Easler walked in the sixth, but Noles left them both on, and Hurst worked around a Wilkerson single in the bottom of the inning.

Noles was perfect in the seventh, while Hurst allowed a Bell single and an O'Brien walk, but no runs. Boston then finally scored in the eighth, getting a Rice single, a Tony Armas walk, and an Easler single that brought Rice home and chased Noles in favor of Dave Schmidt. Bill Buckner greeted Schmidt with a game-tying RBI single, but the reliever struck out the next two hitters to leave the go-ahead run in scoring position. An error and a sacrifice put Kunkel at second in the bottom of the inning, but Mark Clear relieved and ended the threat.

Schmidt allowed singles to Dwight Evans and Rice in the ninth, while Clear permitted a Parrish single and walked O'Brien, but the pitchers both stranded both runners, and the game progressed to extras. Schmidt retired the Sox in order in the tenth, and the Rangers mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning. Sample drew a walk, stole second, and took third on a wild pitch; Ward then walked and stole second, and Bell walked to load the bases before Parrish flied out to strand all three men.

With one out in the eleventh, Gutierrez singled, then took third on a steal-and-error. Schmidt intentionally walked Boggs, and Evans followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly. John Henry Johnson relieved in the bottom of the inning and worked around a Marv Foley walk to end the game.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Rangers should have won this game. Each team had 11 hits, including one double - but Texas drew 10 walks to Boston's four, and had the game's only two home runs. And out of eight singles, ten walks, a double, and two homers, the Rangers managed to score... two runs. They went 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position, and even the sole hit failed to bring home a run. From a Boston pitching perspective, Bruce Hurst put 14 runners on in 7.2 innings, and the only two that scored drove themselves in. Mark Clear walked 5 batters in 2.1 innings and gave up a hit, and Texas couldn't get a run out of it.

All of this presumably made for highly unpleasant viewing if you were pulling for Texas. But otherwise, you got to watch a pretty entertaining game.

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