Saturday, August 30, 2014

Game of the Day (8/29/84)

Giants 4, Expos 3 (11). Montreal's all-time win leader Steve Rogers fell off sharply in 1984, posting an ERA+ of 80 and walking more batters than he struck out. But even a shell of his Expo-legend self was a match for 20-year-old Giant rookie Mark Grant, who was on his way to a 6.37 ERA for the season.

Rogers worked around a Dan Gladden leadoff double in the first, and the Expos took the lead in the bottom of the inning when Andre Dawson singled, took second on an errant pickoff throw by Grant, and scored on a single by Gary Carter. The starters were both perfect in the second. Gladden singled with two out in the third, and a Manny Trillo single and a Chili Davis walk loaded the bases before Jeffrey Leonard struck out to strand all three men. Derrel Thomas drew a walk in the bottom of the third, but was picked off.

Rogers retired the Giants in order in the fourth, and a Carter double and a Dan Driessen homer pushed the Montreal lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the inning. Brad Wellman drew a leadoff walk in the fifth before being stranded. Bob Lacey relieved Grant in the home fifth and allowed a Tim Raines double to start the inning, but didn't let the leadoff man advance past second. Tim Wallach's sixth-inning single made him the only runner to reach in either half of the inning. Rogers was perfect again in the seventh, while Lacey allowed a one-out double to Thomas and was relieved by Frank Williams, who stranded the runner at second.

San Francisco finally got on the board in the eighth when Trillo singled and Davis homered. Gary Lavelle retired the Expos 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, and a Bob Brenly leadoff double in the ninth chased Rogers from the mound. Scot Thompson greeted Bob James with a single that moved the tying run to third, but Fran Mullins grounded into an out at home, and pinch hitter Dusty Baker popped up for the second out. Joel Youngblood then hit for Lavelle and grounded to third; Wallach misplayed the ball, allowing Youngblood to reach safely and Thompson to score the tying run. Pinch hitter Tony Scott led off the bottom of the inning with a double, but Greg Minton worked around it to send the game to extras.

Rick Grapenthin was perfect in the top of the tenth, and Minton matched him in the bottom of the inning. Brenly led off the eleventh with a home run to give the Giants their first lead. Thompson singled and was bunted to second, but didn't score; Wallach and Max Venable started the bottom of the inning with singles, but Doug Flynn hit into a force at third and pinch hitter Miguel Dilone grounded into a game-ending double play.

The Giants followed the "your starter has been knocked out early" gameplan to a T: Have his outing be merely poor, rather than disastrous, and have your bullpen pitch great in his place, giving your offense enough time to get it together. Meanwhile, the Expos probably stuck with Rogers a bit too long, especially given the fact that he was no longer operating at full "best Montreal pitcher ever" capacity; the combination of that slow hook and a 2 for 12 performance with runners in scoring position gave San Francisco the opportunity to stage their comeback - which they managed to execute despite their own 1 for 11 RISP output thanks to a pair of home runs.

With all of that said, the Expos would have won the game if Tim Wallach, normally a quality third baseman, had avoided his incredibly costly ninth-inning error. That was enough to let the Giants tie it - and it was also responsible for this game taking the day's top spot.

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