Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Game of the Day (8/18/84)

Giants 6, Mets 5. New York started Ron Darling, a moderately effective youngster who was about to have a couple of very nice seasons. San Francisco used Bill Laskey, who was less effective, a couple of years older, and on a downward arc that would take him out of the league. He's also making his fifth Game of the Day start of the year, albeit his first since April.

The Mets took the lead in the top of the first when Danny Heep singled and Darryl Strawberry doubled him home. The Giants tied it in the bottom of the inning, starting with a Dan Gladden single. Two outs later, Darling's intermittent control issues flared up, as he walked Dusty Baker, Scott Thompson, and Bob Brenly to force in the tying run. New York recaptured the lead in the second, however, when Rafael Santana doubled and Darling singled to drive him in.

The visitors put up mild threats in the third (a Keith Hernandez single) and fourth (a Mike Fitzgerald double), but failed to convert. Darling, meanwhile, was spotless in innings 2 through 4. The Mets picked up another run against Laskey in the fifth when Hernandez singled and took second on a Youngblood error, then scored on a Strawberry single. Johnnie LeMaster started the bottom of the inning by reaching on a Wally Backman miscue and stole second before being stranded. Frank Williams relieved and threw a 1-2-3 sixth; Baker doubled and Thompson walked in the bottom of the inning, but Darling left them both on to keep the two-run lead intact.

Ron Hodges drew a pinch walk in the top of the seventh, but Backman hit into a double play to end the inning. Wes Gardner relieved Darling in the bottom of the inning and allowed a leadoff double to LeMaster. One out later, Gladden singled LeMaster home, and Manny Trillo and Chili Davis followed with back-to-back doubles that put the Giants in front 4-3. Ed Lynch relieved Gardner and allowed a Baker RBI single before Thompson finally ended the inning with a GIDP.

Greg Minton took the mound in the top of the eighth and was greeted by a Heep single. A pair of groundouts moved the runner to third, and George Foster then singled him home. Hubie Brooks singled Foster to second, and pinch hitter Rusty Staub then singled in the tying run. Lynch was perfect in the bottom of the eighth, and the Mets threatened against Randy Lerch in the ninth when Backman singled, then took third on a steal and a wild pitch. Jerry Martin drew a walk, and Hernandez grounded to second, getting Backman thrown out at home to defuse the rally.

Brent Gaff relieved in the bottom of the ninth, and Jeffrey Leonard opened the inning with a single. Gladden bunted Leonard to second, a wild pitch moved him to third, and Trillo flied out to score him with the winning run.

The Giants presumably didn't know it going in, but they provided a helpful instruction manual in this game: how to come out on top when you're the inferior team (by 21 games in the standings entering play), have a less impressive starting pitcher going, and have him actually pitch less impressively. It goes something along the lines of: Have your starter at least hang in well enough to keep you competitive, wait for the other team to turn to its mediocre bullpen, and hope your unimpressive relievers outpitch theirs. Oh, and try to hit 3 doubles in an inning; that never hurts.

It's not necessarily a great plan - but if you could easily scheme for a bad team to beat a good one, they wouldn't be a bad team.

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