Code Yellow and Black

We camped out in Peachy’s living room for a few days. After getting crushed yesterday in St. Louis (see The Buzz Line), the Bucs were heading into the Dome for a Sunday double-dip en route to their big showdown in L.A., and it seemed a lot more fun than following my depressing Red Sox around. Peachy is actually more stoked about the Rangers’ three games in K.C. on the final weekend, and by then there might only be three of us left to watch it.

Sheila really wanted to do the reporting today but I talked her out of it because she gets too distracted and anal and whatever and big pennant games need the objective focus I can supply. Just as soon as I finish this beer.

Games of the Days

HOUSTON—The Pirates have been cold, the Astros piping hot, making this a spoiler’s paradise. Stargell isn’t due back until the second to last game of the year, and after this doubleheader, the Bucs’ have just two with the Dodgers and five with the Reds, who they’re a paltry 6-11 against.

Meaning it’s Cobra Time. Big Dave Parker is an MVP shoo-in if Pittsburgh takes the pennant, and in his all-yellow duds today he looks like a freakin’ school bus. Despite “negative clutch” ratings on his Strat card, he is hitting in the high .360s with over 125 RBIs, and just seems to come through whenever needed. The 21-8 Candelaria tries to do away with pesky Houston, who’s been giving everyone grief lately (also see The Buzz Line), but it’s Art Howe who gets things going with a line shot solo homer off Candy Man in the 2nd.

Lemongello keeps it 1-0 Astros for five innings, getting out of a flood of jams. He hits Parker on his second at bat, and on the third, leading off the 6th, Cobra uncoils a missle launch into the right field seats to tie the game, his 30th of the year. He singles Garner to third his next time up, but Dixon comes on to whiff Robinson. Top of the 8th, though, still 1-1, Oliver leads off with a gap double. Forsch comes on for Ott, who singles in Oliver. Moreno, already with a surprising double, hits a shocking triple and it’s 3-1 Pirates. Parker singles in Garner in the 9th for added insurance, Candy Man mops up his 3-hitter for win #22, and the first one’s in the books.

A battle of mediocre lefties is on tap for Game 2, Forster vs. Bannister. The Bucs score twice in the 1st on a sac fly and wild pitch, but the ‘Stros storm right back with two on a Cabell single and Ed Hermann triple. The clubs trade zero eggs for the next three innings, until Forster leads the 5th with a walk. Bannister fans Stennett and gets Garner on a fly, but here’s Parker again.

And THERE IT GOES. Homer #31 just past the foul pole and a 4-2 lead! Forster gets into a couple of jams the rest of the way but bails himself out each time, Houston fatally stricken by now with Cobra poison. Parker goes 5-for-8 on the day, gets on base seven times, ups his RBI total to 131, and Pittsburgh ends up 15-7 against Houston on the year.

“Win in L.A. and I’m here to stay,” says Sheila after the game, thinking she’s Emily Dickinson all of a sudden. I’m about to remind her that the Reds won’t exactly be pushovers, but stop myself. It’s always beter to have your doctor in a good mood.

PGH 000 001 021 -4 13 0
HOU 010 000 000 – 1 3 0

W-Candelaria L-Dixon HRS: Parker, Howe GWRBI-Ott

PGH 200 021 000 – 5 8 0
HOU 200 000 000 – 2 7 0

W-Forster L-Bannister HR: Parker, GWRBI-Parker

The Buzz Line (two days’ worth)

9/13

at ASTROS 2-11-1, EXPOS 1-2-1 (10 innings)
J. R. Richard throws the first no-hitter of the year. Unfortunately his team can’t score a blessed run for him against Jackie Brown and the game goes into the 10th. When Valentine leads with the first Expo hit and scores an out later on a Cromartie single. Leave it to Joe Kerrigan, then to save the day after Brown allows singles to Puhl, Watson and Cruz to start the Astro 10th. A Howe single ties it, a Cabell single wins it, and J.R.’s miraculous and deserving 19th victory is complete.

at CARDS 13-18-0, PIRATES 3-8-1
The reason Parker’s big day was so big. Kison gets hammered by the Redbirds, giving them four doubles, two triples, and seven runs before getting jettisoned in the 5th. Rasmussen cruises and the slim St. Louis hopes are kept sort of fat.

at DODGERS 5-9-0, PHILLIES 0-5-0
Can’t say the same is true for the Phils, after a horrible two days in the Ravine. Christenson is atrocious as usual (seven straight Dodgers reach base in the 4-run 3rd), but it’s Sutton who shocks the masses, taking a shutout into the 8th before Sosa takes over with three on and two out and whiffs pinch-hitter Johnstone.

REDS 10-10-2, at CUBS 2-3-1
Great game for Norman and the first crappy one for Dave Roberts, as Bench bombs a Waveland Avenue job in the 4th to turn the game around and help Cincy tie Philly for third.

at ROYALS 3-8-1, YANKEES 1-10-1
The late-inning magic the Yanks enjoyed in the first game abandons them here, as they can’t do anything in the clutch against the normally bashable Splittorff. McRae chips in with a triple and double, and Mingori and Littell keep New York at bay in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Funny Yankee moment: Munson being hit by a Blair single and called out, ruining one of their rallies.  Still, the Yanks win the season series vs. the Royals 13-9.

RED SOX 7-9-0, at TWINS 4-7-1
Hobson and Evans both get knocked out for the first game in K.C. on Sunday, but it doesn’t stop the Sox from pasting Geoff Zahn. Miller takes over for Evans and rips a big 2-run double in the 8th to put the game away for Wise and Campbell.

at WHITE SOX 5-8-0, INDIANS 1-5-1
Stone beats Eckersley. Garr and Gamble homer. No one cares.

9/14
at DODGERS 7-11-0, REDS 3-7-0
L.A. stays even in the loss column with Pittsburgh, and they’ll have one more with the Reds tomorrow before the Big Bad Bucs sail in. Solo homers off John by Foster and Bench are pretty much all Cincy can muster, while Baker smashes a monster tater in the 1st and even the clutch-challenged Garvey gets three hits. (By the way, since I ripped Garvey’s card into four pieces on August 30th, the team is 11-3.)

at CUBS 4-14-4, PHILLIES 3-7-0
The end is near for the Brotherly Lovers. Jim Kaat gets raked, and even with Schmidt and Hutton hitting late homers off Reuschel to tie the game, and the Cubs making four errors, McGraw loses it on a Mick Kelleher sac fly.  All fourteen Cubbie hits are singles.

EXPOS 5-11-1, at CARDS 3-10-2
at CARDS 5-10-0, EXPOS 4-12-1
Why Baseball is the Most Unpredictable Game on Earth, vol. 68. The Cards, after beating up Pittsburgh, are overjoyed to face the Expos, who they’re 16-4 against. And Don Stanhouse is 4-17 on the year. So naturally, St. Louis goes out and loses a must-win game to him by grounding into five double plays. The team that’s turned the least DPs in either league? Yup, the Expos. The Cards battle back after Valentine’s 3-run homer in the 1st in game 2, and win it in incredible fashion when Al Hrabosky comes on in the 9th with the sacks juiced and Valentine at the plate with one out, for a 6-4-3 and game over. When all is said and done, though, the St. Louis tragic number is down to one.

RED SOX 5-6-2, at ROYALS 3-5-1
at ROYALS 6-13-1, RED SOX 4-9-1
Double comebacks in K.C. Colborn takes a 1-hitter into the 8th of the first one and the Sox score five times in the last two innings. Then a 2-run Rice triple in the 1st off Gura is turned around when the Royals pull Mike Paxton’s underwear over his head for seven hits and five runs. Spaceman Lee pitches fabulous the rest of the way, but the damage is complete, and Littell comes on to save a very effective win for Mr. Gura.

INDIANS 4-13-0, at RANGERS 2-6-2
at RANGERS 4-9-2, INDIANS 2-8-0
Splitsville, man. Beniquez ties the opener with a homer in the 7th, but Blyleven has a rare stinker and gives up six singles the last two innings, Garland with his 7th straight win. Adrian Devine takes the nightcap with another unexpected gem, Harrah with a 2-run insurance homer in the 8th, his first in a long while.

YANKEES 9-16-2, at TWINS 5-10-1
The Yanks take out yesterday’s frustrations in K.C. on poor Pete Redfern, stringing three walks and four singles together for five runs in the 4th, adding a rare Randolph homer the next inning for two more, and Tidrow throws three great relief innings to save Figueroa’s chorizo and keep sputtering Sparky out of sight. New York now has two in Chicago before heading east to finish up with the Indians and Red Sox and Indians again.

at WHITE SOX 23-23-1, ORIOLES 5-14-2
Grimsley has had better outings: two and a third innings, 11 hits, 13 runs, two homers and seven RBIs by Lamar Johnson. Kind of tough to win a pennant that way.

Tomorrow is Two Weeks Left Stats Day!

American League through Sunday, September 14

Kansas City 81 65 .555
Texas 78 66 .542 2
New York 77 66 .538 2.5
Boston 74 69 .517 5.5
Baltimore 74 70 .514 6
Cleveland 67 79 .459 14
Chicago 64 80 .444 16
Minnesota 63 83 .432 18

National League through Sunday, September 14

Pittsburgh 85 62 .578
Los Angeles 82 62 .569 1.5
Philadelphia 78 65 .545 5
Cincinnati 78 65 .545 5
St. Louis 76 69 .524 8
Houston 67 78 .462 17
Chicago 56 87 .392 27
Montreal 56 90 .384 28.5

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