Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Game of the Day (9/6/91)

Red Sox 6, Mariners 5. Seattle started Bill Krueger, who would eventually spend 13 years in the majors, play for eight teams, and split time between starting and relieving while never really distinguishing himself in either role (his career high in wins, set in 1991, was 11; he would amass a total of four major league saves).

His list of achievements still betters that of Matt Young, his opponent in this game. Young would spend 10 seasons in the majors (half of them for Seattle, in fact), and also split them roughly evenly between starting and relief. And in those ten seasons, he had a losing record in nine of them - often hugely so (12-19, 8-18, 0-4, 1-6, 3-7). His career ERA was only slightly worse than league average - but his record was 55-95.

Edgar Martinez led off the game with a single, but was forced at second on a bunt by Harold Reynolds, and Young worked out of the inning with another force and a lineout. Wade Boggs began the home first with a walk, and Krueger also prevented the Sox from moving him past first. Alvin Davis and Tino Martinez singled in the top of the second, but Jeff Schaefer hit into a double play to waste the chance; Krueger also gave up a pair of singles (to Mike Brumley and Tony Pena), and also kept them from being converted into runs.

Young threw the game's first 1-2-3 inning in the third, and the Sox jumped into the lead in the bottom of the inning. Boggs led off with a single, Jody Reed walked, and a passed ball moved them to second and third. Phil Plantier then hit a sacrifice fly to open the scoring, and Mike Greenwell added a triple that scored Reed to make it 2-0. Carlos Quintana walked, and Tom Brunansky singled Greenwell home. Krueger retired Brumley and Pena to stop the bleeding at that point.

Seattle responded swiftly in the top of the fourth. Ken Griffey Jr. led off with a single, and Jay Buhner walked. Tracy Jones singled Griffey home, and Davis walked to load the bases. Young struck out Tino Martinez, and Schaefer hit into a force at home, but on a full count with two outs, Dave Valle launched a grand slam to left center, putting the Mariners in front 5-3 and ending Young's day. Dennis Lamp was called in for the final out of the inning.

Krueger gave up singles to Luis Rivera and Boggs in the home fourth, but a foulout and a double play allowed him to escape the inning. Lamp worked around Buhner's single in the top of the fifth, and in the bottom of the inning, singles by Quintana, Brunansky, and Pena pulled the Sox within a run. Calvin Jones then replaced Krueger with two outs and left the tying run at third.

Davis reached on a Reed error to open the sixth, and moved to second on a groundout only to be left there. Boggs then drew a base on balls to start the bottom of the inning. With one out, Russ Swan relieved Jones and saw Boggs move to second on a passed ball; Plantier's single was therefore able to score Boggs with the tying run.

Lamp was perfect in the seventh, and Boston maintained its run-per-inning pace once more. Michael Jackson walked Brunansky to start the rally; Brumley then bunted, and the Mariners tried for the lead runner, and not only failed to retire either Boston player but also saw an error by Schaefer put them on the corners. Pena's single brought Brunansky home with the go-ahead run. Jackson, Rob Murphy, and Bill Swift combined to end the inning without further damage (though the bases were left loaded), but Seattle now trailed 6-5.

Greg Harris set the Mariners down in order in the eighth, while Swift worked around a single by Quintana. Tony Fossas recorded the first out in the ninth, and was replaced by Jeff Reardon, who allowed a pinch single to Greg Briley. With Scott Bradley at the plate, Briley was caught stealing, quashing the nascent rally; Bradley then flied out to end the game.

This game is actually quite straightforward by Game of the Day standards - it's over in regulation, the winning run scored in the seventh, and the losing team didn't get the tying run into scoring position once the final score was in place.

It's just as straightforward to diagnose its underlying components. The Red Sox had 13 hits and 6 walks; the Mariners had 8 and 2, respectively. Turns out, that disparity was big enough to overcome even a grand slam.

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