Game of the Day
CHICAGO—Lester reporting again, and happy to be doing so. It was a trying time in Kansas City yesterday, even with my Royals taking another dramatic one, and Buzz and Amy and Sherman are off somewhere consoling Fred about his deceased friend right now.
But Wrigley Field is bright and warm, the humidity no higher than 45 percent, a perfect day to watch my Cubbies face off against the Expos, both teams tied for last at 12-18. I have an excellent seat near the Cubs dugout, a kosher frankfurter in hand and my scorebook and #2 pencil ready for use. Name a better place I can be at this moment and I will convince you otherwise.
Fitting for the occasion, each team has its worst starter going, Bahnsen for the Expos and Renko for the Cubs. Renko fails first. A DeJesus error to begin the game, followed by an Unser double and Carter homer and it’s 3-0 Montreal. Raise that to 5-0 by the 3rd, when Perez doubles and Unser homers, but then it’s Bahnsen’s turn to combust. Four straight two-out hits in the 4th begun by a Biitner triple cuts it to 5-2. A Murcer double and two singles in the 6th whittles it to 5-4.
The Expos get one back in the 7th, but after Atkinson takes the hill, a walk and three more Cub singles ties the game 6-6. With Sutter unavailable, Willie Hernandez gets the relief ball and Larry Parrish bombs one in the top of the 11th.
I’m not ready for this game to be over, though, and the Cubs feel the same. Dave Rosello bats for Hernandez and singles. Joe Wallis gets him to third with another single and DeJesus brings him in with a deep fly. To the 12th!
To Lake Michigan! says Tony Perez, who sends the first pitch he sees from Pete Broberg in that general direction, off by just a few degrees. With Kerrigan in for Montreal, Speier boots a Murcer grounder to start the last of the 12th. The stands are screeching, But Buckner flies to center, Trillo and Mitterwald roll out, and the Cubs have last place to themselves. Their new-look lineup has given them one win and kept them in another to the bitter end, and they have not hit into a double play for two days, their biggest bugaboo.
I will find my companions soon, but I’m in no hurry. Take the two bottom teams in the league, toss them into Wrigley, add a pinch of fine weather, hours of dramatic sauce, and all I can be is satiated.
MON 302 000 100 011 – 8 12 1
CHC 000 202 200 010 – 7 13 2
W-Kerrigan L-Broberg HRS: Carter, Unser, Perez GWRBI-Perez
at CARDS 3-9-1, PHILLIES 2-5-0
Ships in the Night Department. Steve Carlton again gets no run support, drops to 1-4, and St. Louis bunches four hits and three runs together in the 5th to take the game, go over .500 and pass the Phils into third place.
W-Urrea L-Carlton HR-Luzinski GWRBI-Mumphrey
at ASTROS 4-8-2, REDS 3-7-1
Yes folks, that’s FIVE in a row for the Astros, as Gene Pentz takes Bannister’s spot in the rotation and pitches five and a third gutty innings, before Forsch and Sambito hold the fort for him.
W-Pentz L-Norman SV-Sambito GWRBI-Herrmann
at DODGERS 8-11-0, PIRATES 4-10-1
Well, so much for the Odell Jones plan. He doesn’t even make it out of the second inning, as L.A. starts with a Garvey double, ends with a Smith triple and scores seven times in between off Odell and Grant Jackson. The Dodgers behind Rau and late bullpen work by Stan Wall move percentage points into first.
W-Rau L-Jones SV-Wall GWRBI-Yeager
at WHITE SOX 4-10-1, YANKEES 1-2-0
The great Yank Revival lasts two games, before they succumb to the wizardry of Ken Kravec. Reggie Jackson is now channeling Jim Rice on his bad days, whiffing with two aboard to end the 8th and his team down just 2-1. A Jim Essian 2-run double off Torrez that gets past no-range Mickey Rivers in center ices it.
W-Kravec L-Torrez GWRBI-Lemon
at ROYALS 7-12-0, INDIANS 5-14-2
Exhibits A, B, and C in Why These Teams are Where They Are. Jim Colborn walks SEVEN Indians in the first three innings but the Tribe only manages to score one run because they end each inning by grounding into a double play. They do get two runs on four singles in the 4th, but then get leadoff hits the next two innings and don’t score. Don Hood takes a 4-hit shutout to the last of the 6th, then loses his mind. Five singles, a walk, double and triple later, it’s 6-3 Royals. They start the 9th with three straight singles off Mingori, but don’t get the ball out of the infield again. The grand total is 15 runners stranded on the day, and K.C. stays atop the heap.
W-Colborn L-Hood SV-Mingori GWRBI-Cowens
ORIOLES 7-13-1, at TWINS 1-5-1
The Birds make it four out of five against Minnesota as Jockey Jim smotes them on five hits, but the big news is Rod Carew’s 4th inning single that ups his streak to 31 games. The lesser news is that Elliot Maddox goes out with yet another injury, bringing the total number of Baltimore injury-games to 62. The second-division Yankees? They have none.
W-Palmer L-Redfern HR-Singleton GWRBI-Singleton
RED SOX 11-18-0, at RANGERS 5-10-4
Rice must’ve heard me, because after killing a Boston rally in the 1st with a DP ball, he homers twice and doubles off Alexander and Lindblad, and Jenkins and the Sox roll.
W-Jenkins L-Alexander HRS: Rice-2, Hargrove GWRBI-Yaz
Upcoming Sunday Matchups and Doubleheaders:
Reds at Cards (2)
Pirates at Cubs (2)
Phillies at Astros
Expos at Dodgers
Orioles at Royals (double-dip showdown!)
Indians at Twins (2)
Yankees at Rangers (2)
Red Sox at White Sox
DR. GROSSINGER’S REPORT:
Something peculiar has happened, in addition to Seamus Headley and I being on schedule to receive something called “5-D Dice.” When I looked through my file cabinet last night to collect more information on the patients in question, all records for Michael Spano had disappeared. I went into the hospital database and was met wth a message even more cryptic: no such name found in system. How could this be?…
Sheila H. Grossinger
Chief of Psychiatry
Squallpocket State Hospital
American League through Saturday, May 17
National League through Saturday, May 17