PITTSBURGH—Mikey’s Phils are tied with Dr. Sheila’s Bucs for first place, and all we get is a lousy one-game series? Who made this crazy schedule? The Pirates hold the season edge so far, 9-4, with nine more still to play, but at least we get Big Lefty Carlton (14-6, 2.94) facing off against the Candy Man (17-5, 1.85) in a bonus battle between the league’s best pitchers. Take it away, Pennsylvania!
Game of the Week
Jerry Martin rips a Candy curve down the left field line with gone in the 1st, and one out later Michael Schmidt jacks one off the facing of the upper deck for a 2-0 Philly lead to spring Mikey out of his seat. “Diagnose that one, Doc!” he yells at Sheila, who merely makes a note in her scorebook. Candelaria puts runners on the next three innings but escapes each jam, while Carlton has the Pirate hitters all out of whack.
Singles by Sizemore, Martin and Davey Johnson start the 5th, before Luzinski beats out an infield hit and Maddox pops a sac fly. 4-0 Philly, and Mikey produces a solid minute of farting sounds. Sheila nudges my arm, flashes me her new scorebook notation:
Michael showing no signs of the calm optimism he professes to be adopting. Am fast approaching a crossroads concerning the proper treatment for this ingrate.
And then the Cobra uncoils. He leads the home 6th with a line drive missle of a homer. Smashes another solo shot with one out in the 8th. Carlton bears down, smokes Robinson and Gonzalez on called strike threes, and Martin gets his second big hit in the 9th, a one-out homer off Tekulve to make it 5-2.
But the battling Bucs are never out of a game. Oliver doubles into the gap to lead the last of the 9th. Taveras grounds out but Duffy Dyer doubles and it’s 5-3! The elder Jerry Hairston pinch-hits and whiffs, but Jim Fregosi, who filled in for Stennett after Rennie’s latest injury in the 7th, draws a walk. Garber comes in to face Garner, but there’s a stirring in the Pittsburgh dugout.
“Here comes Popsy!” yells Sheila, and by the time I correct her, Willie Stargell has already taken a called strike. Everyone in Three Rivers is standing, even barely interested Sherman. Stargell does his windmill warm-up swings, Garber goes into the stretch, throws–
and Pops cracks it deep to right. Back goes Johnstone, to the warning track, to the fence…and catches it to end the game and put the Phils back in first.
“GARBIE DOLL!!” yells Mikey, pounding Sheila on the back. “What a game!!”
Sheila is too upset to react, so I turn and tell Mikey to keep his claws off her if he doesn’t want to be wearing his ass for a hat.
“No problem, Buzz,” he says with a big grin, “See you in the World Series.”
It’s a little too early for that.
PHI 200 020 001 – 5 13 0
PIT 000 001 011 – 3 9 1
W-Carlton L-Candelaria HRS: Schmidt, Martin, Parker-2 GWRBI-Schmidt
The Buzz Line
DODGERS 7-14-1, at CUBS 2-7-0
Best offense by L.A. in a while, but that’s what happens when you a) get to Wrigley and b) face Mike Krukow. Chicago has actually given the Dodgers a tough time, and this one’s no different. The Cubs have a 1-0 lead into the 5th, when the Blues get the first of their three unanswered 2-run innings.
at REDS 3-6-1, EXPOS 2-6-1
And Montreal has been giving the Reds fits. Norman is given a 2-0 lead, but a Carter homer and run-scoring Dawson single tie it in the 8th. McEnaney plunks Geronimo to start the 9th and Concepcion singles. Atkinson enters with Kerrigan unavailable and hits Champ Summers in the back to load the bases. Morgan then stands up there until they walk him, for the runoff win.
at CARDS 6-9-3, ASTROS 5-14-1
I don’t know what Houston has to do to win a game, but starting Joe Niekro, outhitting their opponent 14-9 and inducing the opponent to make three errors still doesn’t help. Down 5-3 in the 8th, St. Louis scores three, the winners coming home on a bases-filled double by Simmons.
at ORIOLES 8-11-2, YANKEES 6-10-0 (10 innings)
And the Yanks have officially come down with Astros Disease. Their third straight try for their 60th win is as disastrous as the last two. They hit three homers off Palmer, all solo shots, get nearly four relief innings out of Lyle, but butcher every X-chart play and lose on a 1-8 Elliott Maddox homer with two outs in the 10th. Choke artist Reggie goes 0-for-5 and doesn’t get the ball of the infield.
at INDIANS 3-5-1, RED SOX 2-3-0
Boston gets Ecked something awful, not even mustering a hit until an Evans homer with one gone in the 7th. Eckersley runs into 8th inning trouble, but Laxton comes on to get an inning-ending DP out of Yaz, something that’s been virtually impossible. Cleveland, by the way, has moved into 6th place.
at RANGERS 3-10-0, WHITE SOX 1-6-1
Because Doyle Alexander shuts down Chicago. Steve Stone pitches another decent one but gets no support, as Texas celebrates their good 2010 fortune by inching within a game of New York.
at ROYALS 3-8-1, TWINS 2-7-0
Marty Pattin with the CG, Mayberry with the go-ahead double in the 4th, and Goltz with yet another loss. Read it and freak: Since the 8th of June, the Twins are 18-36.
American League through Tuesday, August 5
National League through Tuesday, August 5