Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Game of the Day (6/8/91)

Mets 4, Astros 3 (11). Houston sent rookie Darryl Kile, who was making the second GotD start of his young career. He was opposed by Met swingman Wally Whitehurst, whose career would last less than a quarter as many innings.

New York got off to a quick start in the top of the first, as Vince Coleman doubled, moved to third on a one-out grounder, and scored on a double by Kevin McReynolds. A Howard Johnson walk later, Hubie Brooks singled McReynolds home for a 2-0 lead. Rick Cerone then walked to load the bases, but Kevin Elster grounded out to strand all three men.

Whitehurst worked around a Craig Biggio double in the home first, then singled and was stranded in the top of the second. Jeff Bagwell opened the bottom of the second by reaching on a dropped third strike, and was singled to second by Eric Yelding one out later, but Casey Candaele then hit into a double play. Brooks walked in the top of the third and was left on; Kile led off the home half of the inning with a walk of his own, and Biggio singled him to third, but Whitehurst recovered to retire Luis Gonzalez and Eric Anthony to leave them at the corners.

Kile worked a flawless fourth, and Bagwell helped the Astros halve their deficit in the bottom of the inning; he led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a two-out hit by Candaele. Kile and Whitehurst exchanged perfect fifths; Brooks singled in the sixth, but was immediately erased on a double play. Rich Sauveur relieved Whitehurst in the bottom of the sixth, and Houston promptly grabbed its first lead, as Bagwell walked and Ken Caminiti homered.

Jim Corsi took Kile's place in the seventh and set the Mets down in order, and Doug Simons matched his effort in the home half of the inning. Corsi allowed a Gregg Jefferies single in the visitors' eighth, but nobody else on either team would reach in the frame.

Corsi remained on the mound in the top of the ninth. Brooks started things off with a single, and Garry Templeton pinch ran for him. Pinch hitter Darryl Boston singled as well, and... Templeton scored. From first. On a single. To tie the game. In the ninth inning. A quick search has not revealed any details of this play; I assume it was some combination of the runner going, a fast runner, a slow-ish hitter, and maybe a throw to the wrong base (although there's no "advanced on throw" designation in the play-by-play and Boston was credited with an RBI).

Whatever the heck happened, the game was now tied. Corsi stayed in and ended the inning with a popup and a double play; Alejandro Pena set the Astros down in order, and extra innings were on order. Mike Capel allowed a single-and-steal to Jefferies in the tenth; Pena allowed a hit to Biggio and saw him caught stealing, and nobody else reached for either team. Howard Johnson led off the eleventh with a homer to put the Mets in front, and John Franco was summoned for the save attempt; he allowed singles to Bagwell, Yelding, and Candaele, loading the bases with two outs, but pinch hitter Rafael Ramirez then popped up to end it.

Garry Templeton spent 16 years in the major leagues. 1991 was the last of them, and for good reason; he hit .221 with no patience and little power at age 35. Templeton, of course, spent essentially his entire career as a shortstop; he played just over 17000 defensive innings in the majors, and less than 300 of them came at any other position. The vast majority of even that reduced number were spent at first and third base; indeed, he played only four defensive innings in the outfield in his lengthy MLB tenure.

Three of those were in this game; he had pinch run for right fielder Hubie Brooks, and simply assumed his position in the bottom of the ninth. Throw in the fact that he also apparently scored the tying run from first on a single, and... well, it was a weird, albeit highly productive, day for Garry Templeton.

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