Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Game of the Day (7/25/91)

Cubs 5, Reds 4 (13). Cincinnati started Jose Rijo, who was kept under 2000 innings by injuries, but still managed to be an All-Star and receive MVP votes in two separate seasons (not counting his World Series MVP win in 1990). He was opposed by Greg Maddux, an even better pitcher whose career was not shortened at all by injuries (or by anything else, really).

In the top of the first, Maddux worked around singles by Billy Hatcher and Hal Morris. The Cubs then jumped on Rijo in the bottom of the inning, starting with a Chico Walker single and a Mark Grace double. Ryne Sandberg's groundout scored Walker from third, Andre Dawson doubled Grace home, and Dwight Smith's double plated Dawson to make it a 3-0 game.

Both starters were flawless in the second, and Maddux kept the bases clear in the third as well, while Rijo allowed only a Sandberg double. In the top of the fourth, Eric Davis singled and Paul O'Neill walked, but Maddux stranded them both. After a spotless inning from Rijo, Luis Quinones led off the fifth with a single and was bunted to second, but advanced no further.

Rijo worked a 1-2-3 fifth, and Maddux allowed only a walk to O'Neill in the sixth. Sandberg led off the home sixth with a single, stole second, and moved to third on a groundout, but Rijo fanned the next two hitters to leave him there.

Cincinnati finally broke through in the top of the seventh. Joe Oliver led off by reaching on a Shawon Dunston error, and Quinones singled him to second. Maddux struck out pinch hitter Herm Winningham, but Hatcher singled Oliver home, and Bill Doran followed with a single that brought in both Quinones and Hatcher (the latter scoring courtesy of a Jerome Walton error in center field). With the game now tied, Morris walked and Davis singled to load the bases and chase Maddux. Chuck McElroy relieved and coaxed a force at home from Glenn Braggs, followed by a Chris Sabo flyout that ended the inning.

Ted Power took the mound in the home seventh and retired the Cubs in order. McElroy worked around a leadoff hit from Oliver in the eighth, and Norm Charlton kept the bases Cub-free in the bottom of the inning. Bill Doran walked in the top of the ninth, and Luis Salazar singled in the bottom, but McElroy and Charlton stranded the runners, sending the game to extras tied at 3.

With two outs in the tenth, Jeff Reed doubled and Quinones singled him to third, but Paul Assenmacher recovered to strand them both. Rob Dibble was perfect in the bottom of the inning. Assenmacher worked around a Morris single in the eleventh, while the Cubs failed to put any runners on for Dibble to work around. Assenmacher worked a 1-2-3 twelfth, and Chicago finally managed a baserunner against Dibble when Dunston walked with two outs - only to have him caught stealing immediately.

Heathcliff Slocumb relieved in the top of the thirteenth and allowed a leadoff hit to Quinones. Dibble bunted the runner to second, and Hatcher doubled him the rest of the way around. A groundout moved Hatcher to third, but Slocumb managed to leave him there. Tim Layana took the mound in the bottom of the inning in an attempt to hold Cincinnati's first lead of the day. Rick Wilkins greeted him with a single, and one out later, Walker's single moved pinch runner Jose Vizcaino to third. Grace hit into a force that scored the tying run, and Sandberg's walk moved the winning run into scoring position. Dawson then hit a line drive to right - and Braggs misplayed it into an error that allowed Grace to score and ended the game.

There are two ways of looking at this game. First: The Cubs had nine hits, drew two walks, and benefited from one error. The Reds had 14, 5, and 2, respectively. There were other slight factors in Chicago's favor (two steals to one, four doubles to two), but not enough to outweigh Cincinnati's nine extra baserunners. And yet, timing served to give the home team the victory.

Second: The Cubs would have won in regulation if not for the two errors they committed in the seventh. The Reds might have won in extras if not for the error they made in the thirteenth. These things don't always balance out - but they did here.

No comments:

Post a Comment