Monday, September 15, 2014

Game of the Day (9/14/84)

Pirates 8, Cardinals 7 (12). Pittsburgh's Jose DeLeon, a 23-year-old future Cardinal, faced St. Louis's Danny Cox, a 24-year-old future Pirate. Both men were below average in '84, but would pitch into the middle of the next decade with reasonable effectiveness.

Marvell Wynne led off the game with a single, but was erased on a double play, and the Cardinals took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Tom Herr singled with one out, stole second, and scored on Terry Pendleton's triple. Darrell Porter walked, and Lonnie Smith hit into a run-scoring forceout for a 2-0 lead. Cox was perfect in the second, while DeLeon worked around a single and steal by Jose Uribe. The Pirates then tied it in the top of the third, starting with a Doug Frobel triple and a Denny Gonzalez RBI single. DeLeon bunted Gonzalez to second, Wynne singled him to third, and Lee Lacy brought the equalizer in with a sacrifice fly.

St. Louis struck again in the bottom of the third. Herr and Pendleton began the rally with walks, and moved to second and third on what was presumably a very deep flyout from Porter. Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Andy Van Slyke hit a two-run single to retake the lead and chase DeLeon from the mound. Lee Tunnell took his place and presided over an extremely strange play: Van Slyke stole second on a pitch that went wild, which allowed Smith to score; Van Slyke attempted to come around as well (which would have resulted in taking three bases on a single pitch) and was thrown out at home.

Cox allowed only a Tony Pena single in the fourth, and the Cardinals padded their lead in the bottom of the inning on a Willie McGee walk, a balk, a Herr RBI single, and a Pendleton RBI double. Pittsburgh responded in the top of the fifth, starting with a pinch walk by Lee Mazzilli. Two outs later, Johnny Ray singled and Jason Thompson reached on a Uribe error to load the bases. Pena then singled in two runs, taking second on the play when Porter mishandled the throw home, and Jim Morrison singled to bring in two more and pull the Pirates within 7-6. Jeff Lahti relieved Cox and walked both Frobel and Gonzalez to load the bases, then retired Mazzilli to end the inning.

Mike Bielecki was called from the bullpen to make his major league debut, and worked around a Danny Green single in the bottom of the fifth. Wynne led off the top of the sixth with a double and was bunted to third by Lacy; Ricky Horton relieved Lahti and allowed a game-tying sacrifice fly to Ray. Bielecki allowed a McGee single and balked him to second in the bottom of the inning, but left him there. Neil Allen and Rod Scurry exchanged spotless sevenths, and Allen retired the Pirates in order in the eighth as well. Don Robinson relieved in the bottom of the inning and allowed a leadoff hit to Green, then issued two-out walks to McGee and Herr before retiring Pendleton to leave the bases loaded.

Dave Rucker threw a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, and Robinson worked around a Van Slyke single-and-steal to send the game to extras tied at 7. Bruce Sutter and Robinson were both perfect in the tenth, and both allowed lone baserunners in the eleventh - Robinson himself singled and was left on in the top of the inning, while Pendleton reached on a Gonzalez error and was caught stealing in the bottom. Ray then led off the twelfth with a homer to give the Pirates their first lead, and Kent Tekulve allowed a Green single, a steal, and a Uribe single that put the tying run at third with one out in the bottom of the inning, but retired the next two hitters to end the game.

It appears to have taken the teams a while to find the right pitchers in this game. The starters combined for 7 innings and 11 runs allowed, and the first men out of the bullpen on each side lasted 2.1 joint innings and allowed 3 runs. But the remaining four relievers for each team pitched 14.2 innings and allowed just one run - and that run, of course, decided the game.

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