Thursday, April 28, 2016

Game of the Day (4/28/91)

Expos 9, Cardinals 6. The starting pitchers were both 28, born two months apart, and both had started their careers in less-than-promising fashion. Montreal's Bill Sampen had posted a solid rookie season, mostly in relief, but that had come at the delayed age of 27. The Cardinal starter had debuted four years earlier, but his results had been inconsistent at best, and he would be sent to the minors in May, never a good sign for a player who should be in his prime.

Of course, after spending all of 1992 in AAA, Jamie Moyer would return to the majors at age 30 and spend nearly two more decades as a rotation stalwart for teams throughout the league.

Both teams would benefit from one-out singles in the top of the first, with the hits coming from Marquis Grissom and Ozzie Smith, respectively. Grissom advanced to second on a groundout, and Smith did him one better, stealing second and taking third on a wild pitch, but both runners were left on.

Montreal seized the game's first lead in the second on an Andres Galarraga walk, a Junior Noboa single, and a Gil Reyes double. Spike Owen popped up, and with Sampen at the plate, Noboa was caught stealing home on what I can only hope was a busted squeeze attempt. Sampen atoned with a single that brought Reyes in. Delino DeShields singled as well, and Grissom followed with a double that scored Sampen. DeShields attempted to score as well and was thrown out at home, but the Expos had surged ahead 3-0.

Felix Jose and Todd Zeile began the home second with singles, but their teammates proceeded to leave them on, and Ivan Calderon led off the third with a homer. One out later, a Galarraga single chased Moyer in favor of Scott Terry, who ended the inning in a flurry of steal attempts (Galarraga was caught, Noboa singled and stole second) but no further scoring. Sampen was spotless in the third, and the Expos augmented their edge again in the fourth as Sampen and DeShields singled with one out, and Calderon's two-out single plated Sampen, with DeShields once more getting thrown out on the bases to end an inning.

St. Louis began to narrow the gap when Zeile homered with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Terry faced the minimum in the top of the fifth, and the Cards pulled closer still in the home half of the inning. Terry led off by reaching on a Galarraga error, and Smith doubled him to third with one out. After Ray Lankford popped up, Pedro Guerrero singled to bring both runners in and make it a 5-3 game.

Terry allowed singles to Reyes and Owen in the sixth, but nothing else; Barry Jones took the mound in the bottom of the inning and gave up a leadoff hit to Zeile, but erased him on a double play. Mike Peres relieved in the top of the seventh and worked around a Grissom single to keep his team within two runs.

The Cardinals completed their comeback in the home seventh. Scott Ruskin allowed a one-out single to Milt Thompson, hit Smith with a pitch, and gave up an RBI single to Lankford. Tim Burke relieved and struck out Guerrero, but Jose then singled to bring Smith home with the tying run. Zeile walked to load the bases before pinch hitter Gerald Perry grounded out to leave all three men on.

Montreal was uninterested in keeping the game tied for long, and showed it when Larry Walker led off the top of the eighth with a triple. Perez rallied gamely, recording two outs around an intentional walk to Dave Martinez before being lifted for Juan Agosto. Agosto walked DeShields to load the bases and bring Grissom to the plate. Grissom proceeded to smack an 0-1 pitch over the left field fence for a tiebreaking grand slam.

The rest of the game passed quietly, with the exception of a Geronimo Pena solo homer in the bottom of the eighth that provided the 9-6 final score. Cris Carpenter and Steve Frey were spotless in the respective halves of the ninth to finish it off.

Both teams got an excellent day at the plate from a hitter in mid-20's. St. Louis's Todd Zeile went 3 for 3 with a walk and a homer, while Montreal's Marquis Grissom was 4 for 5 with a double and a homer. But Zeile drove in one run, while Grissom drove in five, and that was the difference in the game... kind of. The real difference was the fact that the Expos put 21 runners on base via hit or walk, as compared to 13 for the Cardinals. The extra runs coming in on the homer were simply a logical consequence.

No comments:

Post a Comment