Last night I had this screwed-up dream that the two Tommy Lee Jones clones from Patriot Act Inc. were in my trailer taking pictures of me and typing words into their little phones. “C’mon!” I yelled, “I’m replaying your damn ’77 as fast I can, what more do you want??”
Anyway, I was happy to wake up and just see Sammy, the park’s deaf and dumb maintenance guy, sweeping the asphalt with his big broom outside my window. Sammy’s around all the time but never bothers anybody, and even if he WAS curious about what I was doing he couldn’t even tell anyone. Which is nice not to have to talk about, because I got two days of games to report here, starting with some Astroturf craziness under the old Gateway Arch…
Games of the Days
ST. LOUIS—I’m no fan of phony grass as you know, but the fans are blazin here and nothing’s been sweeter so far than these Astro-Card battles. You got two speedy outfits with major gap power and shaky pitching and it’s been nip and tuck and nip again from the get-go. Here it’s J.R. Richard’s third try for his first win, and he’s got a 4-0 lead and a two-hit shutout after five. Tom Underwood’s been a Houston punching bag and a Howe triple and Ed Herrmann sac fly knock him out in the 6th down 6-0.
Then the 7th rolls around and J.R. gets tired for no special reason. A Hernandez walk, Simmons single, Scott double and single by Tyson fill-in Mike Phillips gets two runs back. Richard bears down, has an easy 8th, but loses it again in the 9th. McBride leads with a single and Reitz whiffs, but Scott walks and Phiilips gets hit. In comes Joe Sambito, and up walks dangerous ringer Roger Freed to pinch hit with the bases juiced.
Freed lofts one out to Cruz in right. Cruz drops the ball, two runs race in, it’s 6-4 and the ‘Stros are seeing red. Then Brock walks to reload the bases. Templeton rips one back to the mound, which Sambito nabs and fires home to get the sliding Phillips. Two outs. Keith Hernandez now, sporting a card with a mine field of clutch. Keith skies out to right and J.R. finally wins one.
HOU 100 032 000 – 6 12 1
STL 000 000 202 – 4 7 1
W-Richard L-Underwood SV-Sambito GWRBI-Watson
I stick around for yet another beauty on Saturday. Mark Lemongello starts for Houston and gets out of a crapload of jams. but Phillips knocks one in with a 4th inning single. Bob Forsch, brother of Ken in the opposing bullpen, has his light saber out this time, and has given up just three singles through five. Problem is that the fourth one is by Cedeno leading off the 6th, who rips off second right away and scores on a two-out single by Puhl to tie the game.
Now it’s the Jelloman’s turn. Mark gives up a Simmons single, then gets the next eleven Cards in a row to bring up Scott with two outs in the 9th. Seems like we’re going extras. But Scott pings a single. Phillips does too. And here’s that many Freed again. Sambito’s available but Lemongello is tough on righties and Rogers bashes both kinds of arms. So here’s Jello’s windup, here’s the pitch…
…and it’s high and deep and into the upper deck for a 3-run Clydesdale trot-off! Oddly enough, the season series is now tied 3-3.
HOU 000 001 000 – 1 5 1
STL 000 100 003 -4 10 0
W-B. Forsch L-Lemongello HR-Freed GWRBI-Freed
REDS 3-8-1, at EXPOS 2-4-0
Shocking as it seems, Montreal finally drops one to a lefty starter. Doug Capilla just can’t pitch this good, but he does, giving up a Carter shot in the 1st before whiffing eight in the next five innings. A Foster double and Bench homer put Cincy ahead in the 3rd and Griffey goes yard in the 5th to add on. It’s still not easy. Cash is nailed at the plate with the help of a perfect Bench block to end the 7th, Sarmiento comes on to get Carter and Valentine with the bases loaded in the 8th, then survives a leadoff double by Perez in the 9th for the huge win.
W-Capilla L-Stanhouse SV-Sarmiento HRS: Bench, Griffey, Carter GWRBI-Bench
PHILLIES 9-14-1, at PIRATES 6-7-0
Tom Hutton with four hits. Schmidt with two triples. Johnstone with a big insurance bash in the 9th. Have the Phils actually risen from the grave? It would help if they could get a relief outing with a pulse. Brusstar takes a 9-3 lead to the last of the 9th and manages to give the Bucs a walk and two homers just to make it interesting.
W-Kaat L-Jones SV-Garber HRS: Johnstone, Dyer (again!), Robinson, Oliver GWRBI-Kaat
at CUBS 6-9-0, DODGERS 5-9-1
Rick Resuchel goes to 3-0, but it’s a sweat-job this time. The Cubbies knock Rhoden around all day but His Largeness can’t keep the ball in the park, and three solo Dodger shots force Sutter in for a five-out save. And Murcer, after missing three 1-13 HR tries on the year, finally nails his first.
W-Reuschel L-Rhoden SV-Sutter HRS: Cey, Yeager, Smith, Murcer GWRBI-Reuschel
at ORIOLES 2-5-0, YANKEES 1-4-1
Beyond awesome contest. Guidry against Palmer, capacity crowd at Memorial, crabcake sandwiches a-flowing. Scoreless through five, both pitchers merciless, Singleton knocks in the first run with a two-out hit. One out in the top of the 9th, still 1-0, Reggie takes Palmer halfway to Pikesville and we’re tied up. One out later, Chambliss blasts one but Singleton’s glove goes over the wall to rob it! Bottom of the 9th, DeCinces drives one to center and Rivers turns the wrong way for a double and error. Singleton is intentionally walked, but Andres Mora gets the sac fly for the winner.
W-Palmer L-Guidry HR-Jackson GWRBI-Mora
RED SOX 5-12-1, at INDIANS 1-10-1 (14 innings)
You’re never bored with Beantown Ball. Jenkins cruising with a 1-0 lead over Eck, but Thornton takes him over the wall with two outs in the 9th to it up. On we slog, until Eckersley gives up three singles in the 14th, Kern comes on, a ball goes through Paul Dade’s legs at third, and the Municipal Stadium roof caves in.
W-Willoughby L-Eckersley HR-Thornton GWRBI-Evans
ROYALS 8-11-0, at TWINS 7-12-2
Trying to remember the big line in that Field of Dreams movie. Wasn’t it, “If they drop it, they will score”? One of these days Minnesota will win a home game. Or another game. This time they’re down 3-0 to the immortal Andy Hassler, thanks to a two-base Hisle butchering in the 3rd, get three singles and back-to-back blasts from Kusick and Hisle to take a 5-3 lead, before a Pete Redfern boot leads to another unearned K.C. run, and a tsunami of hits for two more innings put them behind again. Mingori comes on to induce another Twins batting coma, and the boys are 1-9. Amazing.
W-Mingori L-D. Johnson HRS: Kusick, Hisle
And on to the other Saturday smackdowns:
at PHILLIES 5-14-1, EXPOS 3-8-1
Whoa. Like, is this a freakin dream? Two straight Philly wins and two straight Expo losses to lefties? Well, we are talking Carlton here, who is actually down 3-1 after giving up two Ellis Valentine moon shots, until his mates finally get to Stan Bahnsen. Luzinski wakes up with four hits, and his second double starts the winning rally in the 8th. Johnstone gets him home with another double, and after McEnaney enters, Larry Bowa of all midgets golfs one over the fence for the shocker hit of the year.
W-Brusstar L-Bahnsen SV-Garber HRS: Valentine-2, Maddox, Bowa GWRBI-Bowa
at REDS 5-7-1, PIRATES 2-12-2
Remind me to check the standings at the bottom of this wrapup, cause I got this feeling things are closing up. Especially when Billingham beats Candelaria despite the Bucs getting five more hits.
W-Billingham L-Candelaria SV-Borbon GWRBI-Rose
DODGERS 5-6-0, at CUBS 1-6-0
Happy Hooton is unhittable, and Mr. Smith goes to Waveland again, making it six homers for Reggie West, and tops in both leagues. Bonham pitches great but loses it in a rush in the 8th.
W-Hooton L-Bonham HR-Smith GWRBI-Lopes
YANKEES 2-9-0, at ORIOLES 1-8-1
Touche, birdos. Gullet and Flanagan square off in this gem, until some dude named George Zeber bats for White after a one-out triple by Rivers in the 9th—and doubles him in.
W-Gullett L-Flanagan GWRBI-Zeber
RED SOX 4-8-1, at INDIANS 1-5-1
Aase shuts the door, Yaz hits his fifth tater, and Fisk even gets it together with a single and triple.
Everybody in the Rice Pool!! Alleged Hall of Famer Jim Rice has now gone the first 13 games without a single RBI. Batting cleanup. Pick the game number that he gets his first one and receive Internet immortality on this site!
W-Aase L-Garland HRS: Evans, Yaz GWRBI-Evans
TWINS 6-11-0, at WHITE SOX 3-7-1
The team exorcist keeps his job for another day, though maybe we can attribute this to good vibes from that Joe Mauer signing in the future. Legally dead for seven innings against the bad Wilbur Wood, they string five singles and three runs together in the 8th. Schueler naturally allows a single, double and two walks right away to tie the game again, but Minnesota is like a rabid dog kennel. Randall and Carew walk and a resurrected Bostock triples them in. Chiles bats for Kusik and he singles and this second victory goes to the Twins!
W-Schueler L-Hamilton HR: Gamble GWRBI-Bostock
RANGERS 5-8-1, at ROYALS 3-10-0
And one more miracle for the road. Toby Harrah does it again, socking a 3-run homer off Pattin in the 6th to tie R. Smith and give Texas the lead. Barker is shaky as hell in relief of Briles, but a near triple play off the bat of Otis in the 8th bails him out of a bases loaded, no-out jam, and Moret gets Porter to dribble out in the 9th with the bases drunk again. It’s K.C.’s first home loss.
W-Briles L-Pattin SV-Moret HR-Harrah GWRBI-Harrah
American League through Saturday, April 26
National League through Saturday, April 26