Friday, September 19, 2014

Game of the Day (9/18/84)

Astros 5, Giants 4 (10). San Francisco's George Riley was making the third of his five career starts (he made more appearances as a reliever, but not exactly a massive number). Houston's Mike LaCoss, meanwhile, was smack in the middle of a 14-year career that was at least reasonably productive at times.

So naturally, it was LaCoss who got knocked out early. Dan Gladden led off the game with a single, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a hit by Chili Davis. Dusty Baker singled as well, and the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch; Bob Brenly then walked to load the bases, and with one out on the board and one run across, that was it for LaCoss. Mike Madden relieved and walked Scot Thompson to force in a run, but then retired the next two hitters to end the inning.

Riley gave back one of the two runs in the bottom of the first when he hit Kevin Bass with a pitch and allowed a Phil Garner single and an RBI forceout to Jose Cruz. Riley then led off the second with a single - and Madden was promptly pulled for Joe Sambito. Gladden doubled, Brad Wellman singled Riley home, and Davis's sacrifice fly scored Gladden for a 4-1 lead. Bert Pena singled in the bottom of the second, as did Johnnie LeMaster in the top of the third. Neither of those runners scored, but Houston did pick up a run in the home half of the third on singles by Bass and Garner and a Glenn Davis RBI double.

Gladden walked in the top of the fourth, but was erased on a double play, and nobody else reached in either half of the inning. Julio Solano relieved Sambito in the fifth and allowed a Thompson single and steal, but nothing else; Riley then worked around a Bass single in the bottom of the inning. Solano was perfect in the sixth, Riley walked Mark Bailey in the home sixth, and Baker walked in the top of the seventh, but no hits or runs resulted.

Bill Doran and Bass hit one-out singles in the bottom of the seventh, and Riley was pulled for Greg Minton. One out later, Cruz singled Doran home to pull Houston within a run. Jeff Calhoun and Minton exchanged 1-2-3 eighths; Calhoun allowed a double-and-steal to Gladden in the ninth, but left him at third. Jerry Mumphrey led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch single, and Gary Lavelle relieved Minton; Mumphrey was sacrificed to second, then scored on Garner's two-out triple to tie the game. Cruz grounded out to leave the winning run at third and send the game to extras.

Dave Smith retired the Giants in order in the top of the tenth. Scott Garrelts had significantly less success in the bottom of the inning. Terry Puhl drew a one-out walk, and Bailey singled him to third. Craig Reynolds followed with a single of his own, scoring Puhl with the winning run.

Houston manager Bob Lillis had an incredibly quick hook in this game. He pulled his starting pitcher with one out in the first, one run in, and the bases loaded - and then gave the first man out of the bullpen only two thirds of an inning, one walk, and one hit before booting him to the clubhouse as well. The fact that the lone hit allowed by Mike Madden was also the only hit of George Riley's career may have had something to do with Lillis's itchy trigger finger, but it still seems odd for a team that had virtually nothing to play for (they entered the game at .500 with 12 to play) to be quite that relief-happy.

And yet, it worked. Joe Sambito, Julio Solano, Jeff Calhoun, and Dave Smith combined on 9 innings of 5-hit, 2-walk, 8-K baseball, allowing only one run and giving their teammates, led by Phil Garner's 3 hits and season high +.484 WPA, time to claw back into the game before winning it in the tenth. So it's hard to be too critical of the strategy, or of the quality game it produced.

No comments:

Post a Comment