CINCINNATI—I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to let my Reds suck me back in. Figured after I pissed off Seamus with my Save the Elvis mission I would just hang at the back of our supersonic bus, drink herbal tea and wait for the end to come. But then Seamus left us, took the bus with him, and after ditching the rental car idea and riding here on a smelly Greyhound last night, complete with snoring old-timers and whiny kids, I heard that Capilla—Doug Capilla!—shut out the Bucs on two hits. Our record against them jumped to 11-5 and dang if we didn’t have a chance after all.
So I here I am to report the latest sorry-ass news: after Seaver and sometimes Norman and Capilla once in a red moon, the Reds are pitching themselves right off a cliff.
Today it’s Jack Billingham’s turn to be given his posterior for Christmas. Against Kison, another guy who looks either great or awful, Rose puts us up 1-0 with a pop fly homer to right in the 1st, and Doc Sheila at the end of our row looks more quiet and intense than she usually does.
Then the 3rd inning begins. Omar Moreno, playing the outfield in place of Bill Robinson, rips a double with one out. Kison belts one over the fence for the Pirate lead. Oliver singles. Taveras walks. Parker singles. Stargell walks. Stennett singles. Scrap Iron Garner, who I intend to stuff into a wastebasket if I ever run across him in the players’ parking lot, bashes a grand slam for the eighth straight Buc to reach base and an 8-1 Pittsburgh lead. Mr. Billingham? It’s been real nice, honey.
Make that score 10-1 after a Parker single, Stargell double and 2-run Garner single the next inning, giving Mr.Scrappy six for the game. The Reds then decide to wake up, Geronimo doubling in a run in the last of the 4th. With the lack of a useful bench, Sparky sends up pitcher Tom Hume to bat for Dale Murray and come in the game. BAM! Three-run homer and it’s 10-5. 10-6 after doubles by Driessen and Concepcion in the 6th.
Now the Bucs have been playing on eggshells all season with the super brittle Stennett and Stargell, and when Pops whiffs to end the 6th, he windmill-swings himself into a pretzel, tears a muscle in his rib cage and knocks himself out of the lineup for 15 games. Nothing seems to get this team down, though, and singles by Garner (again), Duffy Dyer and Kison (again, his fourth hit in five trips), add two more runs as Bruce mows down the last ten Reds he faces.
Still, we got five more chances at these guys late this month, including the last three games of the year. If Stennett joins Pops on the DL in that time, we just might take ’em, but I wouldn’t bet my non-evaporating life on it. Pittsburgh, you see, is the first team to win 80 games. —Amy G.
PIT 008 200 200 – 12 16 0
CIN 100 401 000 – 6 8 0
W-Kison L-Billingham HRS: Kison, Garner, Hume GWRBI-Kison
The Lester Line
EXPOS 8-11-0, at PHILLIES 5-12-1
Montreal ends their latest losing streak with a bing, a bang, and six bombs. That’s right, the inexplicably employed Mr. Christenson gives up two to Dawson and one to Valentine in his five-plus innings of ineptitude, walks the Hawk on purpose his next time up, only to have Garber dish up Andre’s THIRD homer in the 7th after Philly ties the game 5-5. Carter follows with a shot, and then Valentine greets Brusstar with HIS second homer and third Expo missle in a row. Back into third place goes the Phils because…
DODGERS 10-10-1, at CARDS 3-9-1
Don Sutton doesn’t suck for once, and John Denny does. Monday and Baker go yard and L.A. rebounds nicely from their latest late-inning tragedy.
YANKEES 12-15-2, at INDIANS 11-16-0
This is certainly the game of the day, but the Yanks have had so many insane battles they’re beginning to get routine. Figueroa can’t get the ball over the plate once again, walks seven Indians and gives up eight runs in less than five innings, and Eckersley takes a cushy 11-5 lead into the 9th. Zeber hits into a weird 2-6-3 DP to score one run and give the Eck just one out to get. Single by Reggie, single by Nettles, single by Rivers, single by Munson, double by Chambliss, a 3-run homer by Roy White off Kern and New York has seven runs and the lead. It would be nice if the Yanks could win a game normally, but at this point, they’ll take them any way they can.
at ORIOLES 3-8-0, RED SOX 2-7-0
Playing a totally different form of baseball in a park far, far away, the non-related May boys personally sink the freefalling Sox. Rudy throws a complete game 7-hitter, Lee clubs two homers for all the Bird runs, and Boston drops two full games behind New York.
at ROYALS 8-13-0, RANGERS 0-3-0
K.C. is near perfect after losing a tough one to Texas yesterday, as Colborn gets his third shutout and McRae a single and homer off Gaylord Perry. These two front-runners still have five to play, including the last three games of the year right here at Royals Stadium.
WHITE SOX 16-20-0, at TWINS 1-4-2
Chicago sure likes them left-handers, so it’s too bad they don’t see enough of them. Soderholm, Lemon, and Nordhagen all go deep off Geoff Zahn before he’s put out of his misery in the 3rd. As ugly a loss as you can imagine for Minnesota, who miss a chance to hop in front of Cleveland.
Pirates: at Phillies (3), at Cubs (3), at Cards (2), at Astros (2), at Dodgers (2), Reds (2), at Reds (3)
Royals: at Twins (1), at White Sox (2), Orioles (2), Yankees (2), Red Sox (2), Indians (1), at Rangers (2), at Twins (2), Rangers (3)
American League through Thursday, September 4
National League through Thursday, September 4