Strictly Busch League

ST. LOUIS–Everyone was in a big nutty tizzy because Crazy Amy bolted on us yesterday. Buzz and Dr. Sheila are positive she’s headed for Memphis to keep Elvis Presley from killing himself, but Seamus is afraid to make any detours that would get us off track with the pennant race-watching. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Cardinals fans in me just wanted to get to Busch to see more of our great rivalry, and also to see if St. Louis could keep up their red-hot ways. Good thing Seamus was driving the bus.

* * *
You would think Steve Renko vs. Bob Forsch is an easy Cards win, but the Cubs haven’t been playing like themselves lately—meaning they’ve been winning a few. When Greg Gross rockets a double to open the game and DeJesus singles to make it 1-0 Chicago, I’m already half smiling.

But Renko isn’t exactly Three-Finger Brown out there. Templeton singles, Mumphrey and Hernandez walk, Simmons singles, and the Cubs are behind already. I bet myself a jumbo hot dog that the Cards will hang on, but I’m not taking any of that action. And after two great starts in a row, Forsch falls apart in the 3rd. Mitterwald singles, Gross doubles again with one out, DeJesus singles in two, Ontiveros walks and Biitner singles in another and it’s suddenly 4-2 Cubbies!

“Take that, Lester!” I yell, jumping out of my seat.

“Sit down and shut up, Lester!” I yell back.

Everyone in our section turns to stare at me at that moment, so I imagine they’re enjoying our good-hearted banter. But then Mike Tyson fists out a solo homer in the 4th and it’s 4-3. A Simmons double, Freed single and Reitz double in the 6th ties it up and finishes off Renko.

And then it’s six innings of nervous time, meaning six innings of stranded base runners and no scoring. Newly acquired lefty Dave Roberts throws two and two-thirds of shutout ball, Sutter three more before Willie Hernandez takes over.

But it’s glovework that decides this thing, or lack of it. Mumphrey, who took over for Freed in right, drops an easy fly in the 13th (naturally), and after one out, Buckner slaps a single the other way for the go-ahead run. Per usual, Hernandez almost gives it back, as Simmons singles and Brock doubles to start the last of the 13th. I’m ready to strangle myself. But Willie bears down and gets Scott on a grounder, Reitz on a pop, and Tyson on a weak fly to snap the latest Cardinal win streak. The Cub in me doesn’t have long to live, so every win is a small blessing.

CHC 103 000 000 000 1 – 5 13 3
STL 200 101 000 000 0 – 4 13 3

W-Hernandez L-Metzger HR: Tyson GWRBI-Buckner

The Buzz Line

PHILLIES 11-15-1, at REDS 5-11-2
The problem with the Reds is that they have no decent reserves outside of Ray Knight, so when Bill Plummer replaces Bench behind the plate and Mike Lum has to fill in for Cesar Geronimo (who is now out for a week), they are a shell of their former Machine. Philly has the best bench in either league, but it’s the regulars who rough Moskau up for four 1st inning runs. Christenson gives it all back by the 5th, but the Phils score seven unanswered times, with the help of their fabulous backups to sock this one away and stay a game up on the Bucs…

at PIRATES 10-11-1, EXPOS 3-12-1
…who are at it again, coldcocking the ‘Spos with TWO—count ’em—TWO grand slams off Jackie Brown, one from Pops in the 2nd, one from the Cobra in the 5th. Rooker, Tekulve and the Goose do the pitching, and how Montreal can outhit them and still lose by seven runs is rather fascinating.

DODGERS 5-9-0, at ASTROS 2-7-1
Hooton beats Andujar with the help of a four-run 4th, the only inning Joaquin loses his mind in, but the way the Astro offense has been going, one meltdown is enough.

RED SOX 5-10-2, at YANKEES 2-10-1
Barely even worth talking about, though I’m writing a much more detailed karma analysis of this game for my Funk Zone column this week on the Strat site. Let it be said that the Yanks’ hitting is as mistimed as ever, the defense as shabby and Luis Tiant has the luck of the gods. Yaz and Evans take Torrez deep and New York drops four and a half behind.

WHITE SOX 5-6-0, at ROYALS 3-7-1
On a day where nothing goes right in the AL, Zisk drives in four off Splittorff and the Royals are unable to hit a gone-to-seed Wilbur Wood as K.C. drops three out of first place.

TWINS 7-12-0, at RANGERS 1-8-1
A day after I praise the Texas pitching, Dock Ellis forgets to take his acid and coughs up six runs in the first two innings. Geoff Zahn with the equally preposterous complete game win, as the Rangers miss a great shot to slip in front of the Yanks.

at ORIOLES 2-6-0, INDIANS 0-4-1
Apparently shellshocked by dropping three straight to Boston, Rick Waits throws good enough to win but his lineup can do squat against Rudy May and Dennis Martinez. Orioles almost back to .500.

STATS DAY WILL BE THURSDAY!!

American League through Friday, August 8

Boston
64
46
.582

Kansas City
62
50
.554
3

New York
60
51
.541
4.5

Texas
60
52
.536
5

Baltimore
55
56
.495
9.5

Chicago
49
61
.445
15

Cleveland
49
63
.438
16

Minnesota
45
65
.409
19

National League through Friday, August 8

Philadelphia
64
45
.587

Pittsburgh
64
47
.577
1

Cincinnati
64
49
.566
2

Los Angeles
61
48
.560
3

St. Louis
59
51
.536
5.5

Houston
46
66
.411
19.5

Montreal
44
65
.404
20

Chicago
39
70
.358
25

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