Saturday, September 27, 2014

Game of the Day (9/26/84)

Brewers 7, Tigers 5. Detroit's Milt Wilcox, who was 34 and rapidly nearing the end of his career, faced Milwaukee's Don Sutton, who was 5 years older than Wilcox but still had considerably more left. Normally, this would be a pitching mismatch - but the teams behind them evened things out nicely.

Sutton was perfect in the first; Wilcox was not. Robin Yount led off by reaching on a Darrell Evans error and stole second. Jim Gantner walked, and Doug Loman was hit by a pitch with one out to load the bases. Bobby Clark then hit into an inning-ending double play. A Mike Laga walk and a Dwight Lowry single put two Tigers on in the second, and a wild pitch moved them both into scoring position, but Sutton stranded them there. Dion James led off the bottom of the second with a single, but Wilcox immediately picked him off.

Nelson Simmons singled and Kirk Gibson was hit by a pitch in the third, but neither man scored; the same was true of Willie Lozado, who led off the bottom of the inning with a single and made it only as far as second. Sutton was perfect in the fourth, and the Brewers took the lead in the bottom of the inning when James and Jim Sundberg drew two-out walks and Ed Romero singled James home. Detroit tied it in the fifth, however, on singles by Doug Baker, Simmons, and Gibson. An Evans walk loaded the bases before Laga flied out to leave them that way.

Wilcox worked around a Gantner single in the bottom of the fifth, and the Tigers pulled ahead in the sixth. Chet Lemon led off with a double, and Lowry singled him home. Scott Earl laid down a bunt and reached safely on a Gantner error, with Lowry taking third; Earl then stole second, and he and Lowry both came home on Summers's two-out single. Milwaukee countered in the home sixth against Roger Mason, who relieved Wilcox. Clark and James opened the inning with singles, and Sundberg doubled Clark home. Romero grounded to short, scoring James but getting Sundberg thrown out at third. Lozado then struck out, and Romero was caught stealing on strike 3 to end the inning a run short of a tie.

Detroit padded its lead in the seventh. Evans opened the inning by reaching on a Romero error, but pinch runner Howard Johnson was caught stealing. Still, a Lemon triple and a Lowry single brought in a run that made it 5-3. Bill Scherrer worked around singles by Yount and Cecil Cooper in the bottom of the seventh, while Ray Searage allowed a Dave Bergman single and walked Gibson in the top of the eighth, but left them both on.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Tigers turned the two-run lead over to secondary relief ace Aurelio Lopez. With one out, Lopez allowed a James single and walked Sundberg. Ben Oglivie stepped in as a pinch hitter and swatted a game-tying two-run double. Lozado walked, Yount singled Oglivie home to take the lead, and Gantner added an RBI forceout for insurance. Searage allowed a Lemon single and nothing else in the ninth, and the game concluded.

Here's a testament to a remarkable season: Aurelio Lopez threw 137.2 innings in 1984, all of them in relief. This was only his second blown save of the year - and his first loss, dropping his record to 10-1. Lopez was merely his team's second-best reliever this season, and the score of the game was likely as close as it was in large part because three of his team's best position players were out of the starting lineup for the day. The defeat dropped Detroit's record to 102-56 on the season.

As dramatic late season losses go, this one is... not terribly foreboding.

No comments:

Post a Comment