LOS ANGELES—I saw him. I know I did. And now we’re stuck out here looking for that rat fink Sherman like he’s a needle in a teased hairstack. Obviously he saw us too, because he was out the exit tunnel and across the parking lot with the other lame Dodger fans leaving early yesterday before I even had a chance to shout his name. The guy can move pretty quick for an old lunatic.
Luckily Sheila did have some good notes on him, so we narrowed his possible residence down to either Van Nuys or Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, which isn’t what you’d call a small area. And I can’t believe he’d be so dumb to just go home and sit around waiting for us. After my failed “surprise attack” plan, Dr. Sheila wanted to think out our next move a little more carefully, so she checked us into another motel, this one off the Sunset Strip with hookers on the sidewalks. I decided to get out and see another Dodger game, the first of the big weekend series with the Pirates, while she was doing her planning thing and reading Little Me bedtime stories. Besides, there was always a chance I’d see Sherman trying to sneak back into his seat. With the Bucs in town he wasn’t going too far away.
Game of the Day
The last time the Bucs were here, they got swept, but since then the NL race has become a one big free-for-all pig pile death match between five teams separated by three games. Meaning anything can happen.
And it does with Doug Rau’s first pitch, as Rennie Stennett grounds out, he pulls a hammy and knocks himself out of action for six games. Pittsburgh almost scores in the first two innings anyway, but Rau gets out of both jams. It’s left to Scrap Iron Garner to sock one into the bleachers leading off the 4th.
Then it’s the Pirate Miracle Hour. Fernando Gonzalez, who takes over for Stennett at second base, rifles one out to lead the 5th, and after seldom-used Jerry Hairston (filling in for the injured Oliver) singles, Cobra Parker gets his teeth into a curve ball and hits it halfway up the right field bleachers. Two singles and a double finish off Rau in the 6th, and the Bucs take a 6-0 lead.
Jerry Reuss has been tough all game, but loses it in a hurry in the last of the 6th on a lead triple by Smith and singles by Cey and Garvey. Grant Jackson to the rescue! The lefty long man throws two scoreless innings to set things up for Tekulve, who runs into weird 8th inning trouble. Cey reaches on a dropped third strike by Dyer. Gets to second with two outs, and pinch-hitter Monday is walked to bring up Yeager. Steve doubles in two and it’s suddenly 6-3.
The fans who haven’t left yet to beat the traffic in their minds raise a loud ruckus, and Goose Gossage is hailed. Davalillo pinch-hits a walk, but Lopes pops out to end the mess. Jim Fregosi, who took over for Stennett, then gets injured himself but hits a sac fly in the process for more insurance. Bill Russell, who replaced injured Dodger shortstop Ted Martinez, leads the L.A. 9th with a single, but the Goose conjures up a Cey double play to end it. With the Cards beating up the Phillies, these teams are now close enough to smell each other’s bad breath.
PIT 000 132 001 – 7 15 1
L.A 000 001 020 – 3 10 1
W-Reuss L-Rau SV-Gossage HRS: Garner, Gonzalez, Parker GWRBI-Garner
at CARDS 7-13-1, PHILLIES 1-5-0
Leave it to the Philly Cooler, Larry Christenson, to bring the Phillie win streak to an ugly end. His four innings of “work”: 10 hits, 3 walks, five runs. Eric Harry Rasmussen is brilliant by contrast, and Garry Templeton’s 15th triple of the year is the Cards’ 40th. Freed fills in nicely for the hurt Keith Hernandez by smacking a 3-run bomb to put the game out of reach early.
W-Rasmussen L-Christenson HR: Freed HR: Freed GWRBI-Freed
REDS 7-11-0, at ASTROS 5-6-1
Ships in the Night Dept. Cincy stays hot and moves to within two of the lead, as Foster clouts homer no. 24 off Gene Pentz. Big George also has 71 RBIs with three weeks still to go before the all-star break.
W-Capilla L-Pentz SV-Borbon HR: Foster GWRBI-Rose
EXPOS 7-13-0, at CUBS 5-13-1
The Cubbies blast three homers even without Murcer in the lineup, ground into zero double plays…and lose anyway. The beatdown goes on.
W-Rogers L-Krukow SV-Kerrigan HRS: Carter, Biitner, Buckner, Mitterwald GWRBI-Unser
at ROYALS 3-8-0, YANKEES 2-10-1
Usual Yankee nonsense. Runners not stranded are thrown out on the bases, a great pitching performance is wasted, and despite absolutely no K.C. bullpen available and their starting pitcher tired, New York can do absolutely nothing in the clutch.
W-Splittorff L-Gullett GWRBI-Otis
RED SOX 10-11-2, at TWINS 6-14-1
Reggie Cleveland finds a way to make an early 8-1 lead interesting, but the Twins rap into three DPs and leave eight runners adrift in the last three innings. Boston and K.C. stay tied at the top, with Yaz and Lynn coming back tomorrow.
W-Cleveland L-Zahn SV-Campbell HR: Scott, Hisle
at RANGERS 9-11-0, ORIOLES 1-4-1
Harrah goes yard twice (nos. 20 & 21), and Blyleven is a master of his curveball domain once again.
W-Blyleven L-Grimsley HRS: Kelly, Harrah-2, Bevacqua
at WHITE SOX 6-10-2, INDIANS 3-7-0
Six of Chicago’s ten hits go for extra bases off poor luckless Eck, and the South Siders continue their quiet resurgence.
Check in this Thursday for full ’77 All-Star rosters and contest details!
American League through Friday, June 20
National League through Friday, June 20