Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Game of the Day (8/5/84)

Royals 5, Tigers 4. Detroit's Dave Rozema hadn't pitched over 150 innings in a season since 1978, and only had two years left in the league after this one; he would end his career with just over 1100 innings of respectable swingman work. That may not sound terribly impressive, but it's far more than many people can say, and opposing starter Mike Jones was definitely among them.

The first couple of innings passed in relative calm - Rozema retired the Royals in order in the first, then worked around a Dane Iorg single in the second, while Jones walked Lou Whitaker in the first and allowed a Larry Herndon double in the second, but kept the scoreboard clear.

In the top of the third, Onix Concepcion and Willie Wilson singled, and Pat Sheridan walked to load the bases for George Brett; the Royal star then hit into an inning-ending double play. Jones was perfect in the bottom of the inning, however, and Kansas City jumped out in front in the fourth when Jorge Orta doubled and Darryl Motley singled him home. Frank White singled as well, Concepcion hit into a force for the second out, and John Wathan singled Motley in for a 2-0 lead.

Alan Trammell drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth, Sheridan started the fifth with a single, and Herndon walked and was singled to second by Tom Brookens in the bottom of the fifth, but none of the runners scored. The Royals extended their lead when White homered in the top of the sixth, but Detroit mounted a rally in the bottom of the inning. Trammell walked to start it off, and Lance Parrish reached on a Brett error one out later. Barbaro Garbey then singled Trammell home, and Herndon followed with a game-tying two-run double.

Willie Hernandez relieved Rozema in the top of the seventh; he recorded the first two outs, then allowed singles to Orta and Iorg before ending the inning. Bret Saberhagen took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and walked Brookens, but didn't allow the runner past first. Concepcion's eighth-inning single made him the only runner on either team to reach, and Wathan promptly erased him on a double play.

Hernandez began his third inning of work in the ninth. Sheridan singled with one out, and Orta's two-out hit moved him to third. Iorg then doubled both runners home to put the Royals back in front. Dan Quisenberry relieved Saberhagen in the bottom of the inning, and Kirk Gibson greeted him with a single, but Howard Johnson hit into a double play. Undeterred, the Tigers then picked up a walk from pinch hitter Darrell Evans and singles from Trammell and Whitaker that scored Evans and put the tying run at second. Quisenberry induced a Chet Lemon popup to end the game with the remaining run of the lead still intact.

The matchup of starting pitchers in this game was not dreadfully impressive, and the results were just as bland as the hurlers themselves - six innings and three runs apiece. Then the real fun started, as the first men out of the bullpen ended up being the 1984 and 1985 AL Cy Young Award winners. It cannot be terribly common to see the winners of consecutive Cys get opposite decisions in the same game - and it's got to be significantly rarer to see both of them do it in relief.

So yeah, this is a fun one, even apart from the fact that it was a very exciting game.

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