Monday, July 4, 2016

Game of the Day (7/4/91)

Padres 5, Dodgers 4 (12). San Diego's Greg Harris would eventually have a decent eight-year career spread across three teams. LA's Mike Morgan had played for five teams in his first eight seasons; at this point, he was in year 11 and on team 6, and was still just warming up.

The game got off to a quick start in the first, as Darryl Strawberry homered with two outs in the top of the inning to put the Dodgers in front. San Diego rallied quickly, however. Tony Fernandez and Tony Gwynn singled with one out, putting runners at the corners; Gwynn then stole second, and Fred McGriff doubled to score them both. The Padres' newfound lead proved just as short-lived as LA's had, as Kal Daniels led off the second with a double and scored one out later on Alfredo Griffin's single to tie the game.

Things settled down at least a little bit from there. Morgan was perfect in the home second. Juan Samuel led off the top of the third with a double and moved to third on a one-out fly ball; Daniels then walked before Harris recovered to leave the runners at the corners. The Padres put together three hits in the home third, but Thomas Howard was caught stealing before Fernandez doubled and Gwynn singled. They still had runners at the corners until McGriff lined into a double play to end the threat.

LA pulled ahead in the top of the fourth when Gary Carter doubled, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Morgan's sacrifice fly. San Diego threatened in the bottom of the inning when Jerald Clark led off with a double; he moved to third on a flyout but was left there. Harris was perfect in the fifth, however, and in the bottom of the inning, Howard reached second on a Daniels error, moved to third on a Fernandez groundout, and scored on a Gwynn single to tie the game at 3.

The Dodgers picked up a walk and two singles in the sixth, but Daniels was erased on a double play before Carter and Griffin's hits. Morgan worked around a Tim Teufel walk in the bottom of the inning. Harris was lifted after Samuel singled with one out in the seventh; Rich Rodriguez promptly walked Strawberry and Eddie Murray to load the bases, but struck out Daniels for the second out. Mike Maddux then relieved and coaxed a groundout from Stan Javier to strand all three runners.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, the top of the Padre batting order struck again. Howard walked, Fernandez singled him to third, and Gwynn greeted Dennis Cook with a flyout that brought Howard home with the go-ahead run. Larry Andersen relieved in the eighth, and Carter led off with a single; Griffin bunted him to second, and Mitch Webster's pinch flyout moved him to third. Brett Butler then singled to tie the game at 4.

Tim Crews worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, and Andersen was flawless in the ninth. The bottom of the ninth saw Howard single with two outs, but Kevin Gross worked around it, sending the game to extras.

Adam Peterson relieved to open the tenth; two walks later, Craig Lefferts was rushed to the mound in his place. Griffin bunted the runners to second and third; Lefferts then plunked pinch hitter Carlos Hernandez, loading the bases, and Butler lined into a double play to end the inning. San Diego threatened against Mike Hartley in the bottom of the inning as Gwynn led off with a single and stole second. McGriff was intentionally walked, and Hartley retired the next three hitters, eventually leaving the winning run at third. The eleventh was much calmer, as Lefferts worked around a walk to Murray and Hartley hit Scott Coolbaugh with a pitch but left him on.

Jose Melendez relieved in the top of the twelfth and gave up a two-out double to Griffin, but stranded him at second. Jim Gott took over in the home half and fared much worse. McGriff and Clark both singled with one out, putting runners at the corners. Benito Santiago was intentionally walked to load the bases, bringing Paul Faries to the plate - and Faries laid down a successful game-ending squeeze bunt.

This game saw two players, one on each team, go 4-for-5. San Diego's 4-hit man was no surprise; Tony Gwynn was halfway through winning the eight batting titles he would eventually claim. The Dodger representative in the duo was a bit more unexpected. Like Gwynn, Gary Carter had been a fine player in the '80s, but by 1991 he was a 37-year-old catcher, a category that typically includes very few productive players. Indeed, Carter was only one year away from the end of his Hall of Fame career, and would hit below .250 in both of his remaining seasons. But he still had just enough left in the tank for one last four-hit game.

Which is a nice cherry on top of this delicious 12-inning sundae.

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