Friday, June 10, 2016

Game of the Day (6/10/91)

White Sox 3, Rangers 2 (13). Chicago started Ramon Garcia, who would throw just over 300 innings in his major league career. Texas responded with Kevin Brown, who would throw over 10 times that many.

The Sox grabbed the lead in the top of the first when Tim Raines doubled, was sacrificed to third, and scored on a groundout by Frank Thomas. Gary Pettis walked in the bottom of the inning, but was caught stealing; Lance Johnson singled in the top of the second, and was thrown out stealing as well. The next runner to reach was Jeff Huson, who walked in the bottom of the third; he was successful in stealing second, but was still there at the end of the inning.

Robin Ventura reached on a Rafael Palmeiro error to open the fourth, but was erased on a double play. Pettis and Palmeiro both singled in the bottom of the fourth, but Pettis tried to stretch his into a double and was thrown out, defusing the potential rally before it could begin. The fifth inning passed without a baserunner; the sixth saw two, with Raines reaching on a Julio Franco error and Pettis walking, but neither man made it past first.

Brown set the Sox down in order in the seventh. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Franco singled and stole second. He was then caught stealing third, but... well, the play-by-play lists him as "safe on E4, Franco scores unearned run." It seems odd for a second baseman to be involved in an attempted steal of third; maybe he got picked off and tried for third, and there was a rundown? That's as good a guess as I can manage. Whatever happened, though, the game was now tied at 1.

Brown worked a 1-2-3 eighth; Garcia recorded the first two outs, then hit Brian Downing with a pitch and was pulled for Scott Radinsky, who retired Pettis. Raines tripled with one out in the ninth, but a groundout, a walk, and a flyout left him at third, and Radinsky combined with Melido Perez on a flawless bottom of the inning, sending the game to extras.

Jeff Russell relieved Brown in the top of the tenth; he and Perez traded perfect innings for the next two. John Barfield took the mound in the top of the twelfth and was rather less perfect, starting with a leadoff double by Ventura. Thomas was intentionally walked, and pinch runner Joey Cora was then picked off of second. Matt Merullo later singled Thomas to second, but Gerald Alexander relieved and recorded the last out of the inning. Perez was still pitching in the bottom of the twelfth; he gave up a single and steal to Franco, but nothing else.

Johnson led off the thirteenth with a single, and advanced to third on a bunt and a flyout. Raines was intentionally walked, which brought Cora to the plate. Cora flied to right, where Ruben Sierra misplayed the ball into a two-base, two-run error; Cora would be thrown out at third to end the inning, but the damage was done.

Bobby Thigpen relieved in the home thirteenth. With one out, Steve Buechele singled, and pinch hitter Kevin Reimer doubled him to third. Downing hit a sacrifice fly to pull Texas within one. Pettis then grounded to first, where Dan Pasqua committed an error; pinch runner Mario Diaz attempted to score from second on the play, but was thrown out at home to end the game.

So... this was a fun game, and a weird one. Any game on which the tying run is thrown out at home to end it has a certain amount of excellence built in, especially when that play comes in the thirteenth inning. I don't imagine that happens more than a couple times a year.

It's got to be about that rare to have a game in which five runs are scored - and none of them score on hits. The scoring plays in this game were a groundout, a caught stealing error, a two-run fly ball error, and a sacrifice fly. Even the game-ending play on which Texas tried for the tying run was another error. In 13 innings, the teams combined to go 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

Which goes to prove once more that if you watch enough baseball, you will see just about everything that can possibly happen.

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