Sunday, August 10, 2014

Game of the Day (8/9/84)

Phillies 2, Cardinals 1 (13). St. Louis's Dave LaPoint and Philadelphia's Charles Hudson were both in their mid-20's in 1984, and both had superficially similar seasons, pitching just under 200 innings and posting ERAs between 3.90 and 4.10. There was a difference, however: Hudson allowed a remarkable 23 unearned runs, while LaPoint permitted only nine.

Both pitchers were highly effective in the early going. Through the first four innings, Hudson allowed only a George Hendrick single, a Danny Green double, and a Terry Pendleton single; no two of the hits came in the same inning, and both singles were countered by double plays. LaPoint gave up a first-inning leadoff hit to Luis Aguayo and balked him to second before stranding him, then kept the bases clear for the next three innings.

In the top of the fifth, Tom Herr singled, but was caught stealing second. Green followed that with a solo homer, putting the Cardinals in front. John Wockenfuss led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, and Aguayo reached on an error in the sixth, but LaPoint left them both on.

Hudson was pulled with one out in the seventh, and Larry Andersen allowed a Hendrick single before mounting another zero on the scoreboard. LaPoint walked Ozzie Virgil in the bottom of the inning, then stranded him. Andersen was flawless in the eighth, and the Phillies finally got to LaPoint in the bottom of the inning, as pinch hitter Juan Samuel singled, moved to third on a steal-and-error, and scored on an Aguayo single. After a groundout and an intentional walk, Bruce Sutter relieved LaPoint and retired Tim Corcoran to end the inning.

Al Holland and Sutter combined to allow a lone single (to Philly's Glenn Wilson) in the ninth, and the game progressed to double-digit innings. The tenth went exactly like the ninth, with Holland recording a 1-2-3 top of the inning and Sutter working around a two-out Von Hayes base hit. Holland kept the bases clear in the eleventh as well, and Neil Allen relieved Sutter and did the same.

Bill Campbell relieved Holland and allowed a leadoff hit to Willie McGee in the twelfth; McGee moved to third on a pair of productive outs before being left on. Allen issued a two-out walk to Samuel and was replaced by Dave Rucker, who was on the mound when Samuel was caught stealing. Campbell was perfect in the thirteenth. Rucker started the bottom of the inning by walking both Greg Gross and Hayes, and was pulled for Jeff Lahti. Lahti retired a pair of Hall of Famers in Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton (yes, Steve Carlton was used as a pinch hitter - he wasn't a bad hitter by pitching standards). Kiko Garcia then singled to score Gross with the winning run.

Weird note courtesy of the Cardinal pitching staff: The Redbirds used five hurlers, and none of them pitched a whole number of innings (7.2, 2.1, 1.2, 0.1, and 0.2, respectively). Of particular note was the work of Dave Rucker, who faced two hitters and retired neither of them, yet managed not only to pitch a third of an inning, but to pitch in two different innings. He could thank Juan Samuel for his unusual outing, as Samuel was caught stealing before he could finish his initial confrontation with Greg Gross.

The other pitching staff had a noteworthy day as well. The Phillies split 13 innings between four pitchers, who combined to strike out 10 and allow seven hits... and not a single walk. Throw in two double plays and one runner caught stealing, and you get a sense for why the Cardinals could only bring in one run, and that on a solo homer.

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