DR. GROSSINGER’S PRE-GAME
I had a morning free of headaches, so Mr. Headley got me out of bed and dressed and out into the sweet October air. It was good to be going back to a baseball park, and it made me think Pittsburgh winning that thrilling Game 3 boosted my health along with my spirits…
KANSAS CITY–John Candelaria simply has to pitch better today; he could not have performed worse than he did in the Series opener. And here’s Oliver with a slicing one-out double to get my men off the map in the 1st. Parker singles him home and just like that my club is ahead. How could I have entombed myself in those hotel beds, wallowing in self-pity when we won 89 games this season against grueling opposition? Sometimes I believe I have no business being a psychiatrist.
Otis singles to start the first Royals inning, but Candelaria takes over from there, setting down the next eleven batters. In the 4th, a Parker walk, Robinson single and scoring force in front of the plate by Fregosi makes it 2-0, and the sun shining on my grandstanded face feels all the warmer.
Then a cloud passes overhead, and Hal McRae strikes a homer up on the grassy embankment that resembles a golf ball leaving a 3-iron. But my Pirates answer back in the 5th, when Taveras gets hit on the shoulder, steals second, advances on Wathan’s throwing error and scores on a sacrifice fly by Stennett.
Once again, Candelaria is the lord and master, giving up just two walks in the 7th and nothing else until the 9th. Those that believe in omens, however, truly find their calling card in the 8th. Oliver and Parker open with singles to put Pirates at the corners. But Leonard strikes out Willie Stargell for the fourth straight time. Clearly, Mr Stargell is suffering from acute overswinging, and I will text him later to suggest a long pre-game batting cage treatment tomorrow—assuming he knows what a text is. Regardless, Robinson also fans, Fregosi weakly grounds out and a chance to increase the advantage has been self-jettisoned.
On to the last of the 9th now, Candelaria still with a 2-hitter, the proper defensive alignment in place for Pittsburgh. Royals fans are silent around me, with Lester quieter than all of them.
And Otis leads with a line single. Now I have not been one to show panic, but I must confess to an odd glandular change in my underarms here. Cowens then singles Otis to third. I am suddenly numb. George Brett strolls to the plate, and all I can think about is his obvious handicap in having to fact the toughest lefty in the National League.
Except Brett then hits the ball so hard and so far to left-center that the crack of the bat makes me jump. Oliver and Moreno give chase but the ball hits the top of the fence, bounds away and seconds later Brett is on third and the game is tied! Tekulve is sent in to face Hal McRae, but I am again drowning in despair. Even after Mr. McRae lines to shortstop, because here is Darrell Porter to bat for Wathan, and there goes the first pitch out to Moreno. He backpedals a step, snags it and fires plateward, but Brett beats the ball by inches and the stands explode around me.
I need to go. Mr Headley? Seamus! Back to the hotel…NOW please…
LESTER’S POST-GAME ANALYSIS
Royals up 3-1 with a chance to win it at home tomorrow! Woo-hoo!!
PIRATES 100 110 000 – 3 7 0
ROYALS 000 100 003 – 4 4 1
W-Leonard L-Candelaria HR: McRae GWRBI-Porter
Tonight’s live Tweetcast of Game 5, and any more that are needed, will be back at their normal time of 10:30 p.m. eastern, 7:30 pacific, with game reports appearing here on the blog the next morning.