Checked my scorebook this morning and saw that someone had stolen my dice again and played a whole slew of my games. And I know it was that creep Mikey because the pages had an onion and pepper smell and the guy’s handwriting looks like a six-year-old’s.
So I went over to complain about it to Doctor Sheila in our first aid trailer. She’s nice and listens and always makes me feel calm, and even though she asked me more questions about what I remember from the real 1977 for some strange reason, she did promise to keep Mikey away from my rig no matter what. See, I already got Sherman Wayman and Friendly Fred snoopin’ around wondering what I’m doing with these cards and dice, plus there’s a rumor now that Crazy Amy Gulliver has been asking about me over on the female side of the park, and she’s already been arrested once for stalking minor league ballplayers or something. Can’t remember exactly what her story was.
Anyway, I closed all my blinds this morning, pulled my cap down real low over my eyes, threw some Herbie Hancock on the turntable and whipped those 4-Ds across the formica—
—and found myself in a box at Three Rivers on a cool April night…
Game of the Day
PITTSBURGH—This is one of those contests you wish you have witnesses for, meaning ones you know, not just the 15,000 or so Burghers who are only virtually here, if that makes any sense. Never mind—you’ll understand what I mean when the game’s over.
The “western” clubs have traveled east for the first time, and John Denny and Jerry Reuss hand out the goose eggs through the first five. Then Cobra Parker has to go and drop an easy Keith Hernandez fly for a two-base error in the 6th. Simmons cashes him in right away with a single, and the game’s perfect symmetry is out the window.
At least that’s what I think. A Reuss single and walks to Fregosi and Oliver load the bases with one out, and guess who’s up? The talented Mr. Parker, who rips one into left for a two-base single and the Bucs’ first lead.
The Cards can’t do much from there, but Heity Cruz works a walk with one out in the 9th. Reitz bounces an easy one out to Phil Garner at second, who’s filling in for the hurt Stennett for one last day. We’re all thinking double play and end of game but the ball clanks off Scrap Iron’s mitt to keep things alive. Don Kessinger cashes that one in with a single right away and we’re needlessly tied.
Can I get a witness now? With Mad Hungarian Hrabosky in as the fifth Cards pitcher, Gonzalez greets him with a single in the last of the 9th. Robinson and Ott make out, and up steps guess who? Mr. Garner. So how many times do you see a game where two different guys have key redemption at bats? Well, I’ve never seen it, not even playing Strat, but Garner rolls a 1-9 automatic blast that’s out of the park before it even leaves my table. And if that ain’t redeeming symmetry, I don’t know what is.
STL 000 001 001 – 2 6 0
PGH 000 002 002 – 4 6 2
W-Reuss L-Hrabosky HR: Garner GWRBI-Garner
at PHILLIES 10-16-1, DODGERS 4-8-1
Okay Mikey, I get the point. The Phils are back. Now they’re not only kicking the jujubes out of the Dodgers but they’re suddenly one game out! Guess that’s what happens when you win six out of seven and five straight. Here’s Tommy John’s three and one-third innings if you want a laugh: 11 hits, 10 earned runs, two walks, a hit batter, a wild pitch, and two homers to Davey Johnson, one with the bases stuffed.
W-Lerch L-John SV-McGraw HRS: Johnson-2 GWRBI-Johnson
at EXPOS 3-7-1, ASTROS 1-6-1
Montreal finally wins another one after their mini-slump with a well-pitched game by both sides. Big Perez single drives in winners in the 7th.
W-Brown L-Andujar GWRBI-Perez
CUBS 5-10-0, at REDS 2-6-1
Two-run poke by Morales puts Cubs up. Two-run poke by Griffey ties game. Single runs off Norman and Fryman in the last three innings ice it for Cubbies and put all eight N.L. teams within three in the loss column.
W-Hernandez L-Norman SV-Sutter HRS: Morales-2, Griffey GWRBI-DeJesus
at RED SOX 9-12-0, WHITE SOX 5-10-2
Make it seven in a row for the bloody Sox. Boston manager Josh Zimmer calls the homer-fest correctly as seven leave the yard, two by Mr. Yastrzemski, who now has seven of his own. And it’s another walkless pitching show by Boston, who is issuing 1.56 free passes per game.
W-Tiant L-Stone (0-3!) HRS: Gamble, Lemon, Zisk, Yaz-2, Carbo, Fisk GWRBI-Fisk
RANGERS 4-8-0, at YANKEES 1-4-0
Dock Ellis serves up a Roy White homer to start the game for the Bombers, and then allows them nothing. Catfish has another putrid night, this time giving a walk, single and homer to the forgettable Dave May, who also pops one out off Tidrow later. Hitting has been the problem of late in the Bronx, where despite Nettles’ three homers, he’s batting .122.
W-Ellis L-Hunter HRS: Harrah, May-2, White GWRBI-Harrah
at ORIOLES 3-9-1, ROYALS 2-7-0
A huge win for the Birds, edging out first-place K.C. on the strength of a big old 3-spot in the 5th, doubles by DeCinces, Mora and Kelly in the mix. Dennis Martinez finally loses it in the 9th, but soul brother Tippy comes on to get pinch-hitter Zdeb on a grounder with the bases filled.
W-D. Martinez L-Splittorff SV-T. Martinez GWRBI-Singleton
TWINS 10-13-0, at INDIANS 7-17-3
Nice little pitching duel by the lake. Bostock and Wynegar go back-to-back in the 3rd to turn the game around, but Thormodsgard starts tossing out hits to the Indians like they’re bird seed, and the game is tight until the end, when horrific Tribe fielding helps the Twins take their incredible third game in a row on late flubs by Norris and Bell and a key Bostock triple.
W-T. Johnson L-Bibby HRS: Bostock, Wynegar, Lowenstein
EARLY TEAM RUN DIFFERENTIALS
+27 Red Sox
+13 White Sox
American League through Tuesday, April 29
National League through Tuesday, April 29