Sunday, August 31, 2014

Game of the Day (8/30/84)

Giants 6, Phillies 5. Randy Lerch, a former longtime Phillie who was making a relative pit stop in San Francisco, faced Steve Carlton, an even longer-time Phillie who would later make a briefer appearance for the Giants. Both pitchers were on the downslope of their careers; Lerch, primarily a reliever at this point, would make only one more start after this one.

Carlton was perfect in the first, while Lerch worked around a Luis Aguayo double. The Giants pulled ahead in the second, starting with a one-out walk to Bob Brenly. Fran Mullins and Johnnie LeMaster followed with singles, bringing Brenly home with the game's first run. Randy Gomez walked to load the bases, Lerch struck out, and Dan Gladden singled in a pair of runs for a 3-0 lead.

The Phillies threatened in the bottom of the second with walks to Sixto Lezcano and Ozzie Virgil, but a double play and a strikeout got Lerch out of the jam. Carlton allowed only a Joel Youngblood single in the third, and he led off the bottom of the inning by drawing a walk; two outs later, Von Hayes homered to pull the Phils within 3-2. Carlton was perfect in the fourth, and Lezcano led off the bottom of the inning with a walk before being stranded by Lerch. Manny Trillo reached on an error in the fifth, but Carlton stranded him.

Carlton drew his second walk of the day leading off the bottom of the fifth, and Juan Samuel doubled him to third to chase Lerch from the mound. Frank Williams relieved and retired Aguayo, then intentionally walked Hayes to load the bases. Al Oliver pinch hit for John Wockenfuss and hit an RBI groundout to tie the game. San Francisco responded in the top of the sixth, starting with a Jeffrey Leonard double. Mullins walked one out later, Leonard stole third, Mullins moved to second on a wild pitch, and LeMaster walked to load the bases. Pinch hitter Dusty Baker flied out, but pinch hitter Chili Davis followed with a go-ahead RBI single.

Mark Davis relieved in the bottom of the sixth and issued a one-out walk to Jeff Russell. Ivan de Jesus hit into a force to bring the pitcher's spot up, and the Phils hit for future Hall of Famer Carlton with future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who launched a go-ahead two-run homer. Bill Campbell allowed a Trillo single and a Leonard walk in the seventh, but left both men on. Aguayo and Hayes started the bottom of the inning with singles, chasing Davis in favor of Gary Lavelle, who drew a popup from Oliver and a double play from Lezcano to end the threat.

Both teams threatened in the eighth. Campbell was pulled after walking Scot Thompson with one out, and Brad Wellman singled against Al Holland with two away before Trillo grounded back to the mound. Bob Lacey allowed singles to Virgil and Russell in the bottom of the inning, then coaxed a double play from de Jesus and a popup from Len Matuszek to bring the inning to a close.

Youngblood led off the ninth with a single against Holland, and Leonard followed with a go-ahead two-run homer. LeMaster singled and stole second before being left on later in the inning; Greg Minton then retired the Phillies in order to end the game.

There were a number of oddities in this game, starting with the use of Randy Lerch in one of his four starts of the year. There were also a number of regulars, such as Chili Davis and Al Oliver, who came off the bench. Chief among the second group was Mike Schmidt; his two-run homer was the second and last he would hit as a pinch hitter, out of 548 total. Schmidt's blast was counteracted by a two-run shot from Jeffrey Leonard, whose go-ahead ninth-inning homer, along with another hit and walk, gave him a WPA of +.731, the best mark of his solid 14-year career.

Based on the anomalies around the game, it is not terribly surprising to discover that it was the first half of a doubleheader. The teams came back and played again later in the day, and the score was 6-5 once more - this time in favor of the Phillies, who tied it in the eighth and won it in the ninth. The games were both outstanding, with the first scoring a WPL of 5.08 and the second checking in at 5.01, which I imagine makes it one of the best second-best games of a doubleheader in baseball history.

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