The Crowning Touch

KANSAS CITY—Geez Louise. What a game, and what a finish.

Seemed pretty ordinary at first. Splittorff giving up two-out singles to Harrah and Horton in the 1st but escaping without blood. And Dock Ellis mowing us down in the 1st, yet another Royals scoreless inning.

But then some dormant KC magic bubbles to the surface. Wathan, filling in for the injured Porter, rips a single to begin our 2nd. Otis walks and Mayberry beats out an infield dribbler to load the bases, no one out. Patek works a walk for an actual run. Frank White drops a perfect squeeze down the third base line, Harrah can’t field it and it’s a base hit! Royals Stadium is rocking and Peachy’s cursing. With the infield up, Cowens shocks the park by grounding into a 6-2-3 DP, but Poquette doubles in the gap for two more, and it’s 4-0! Is this the day?

Maybe, says Texas, and maybe the hell not. Singles by Hargrove, Harrah and Horton give the Rangers a quick run right back, and then the Docktor goes to work. After Poquette’s double, ellis puts away the next thirteen K.C. hitters in a row.

And in the top of the 5th, Texas hell is unleashed. Hargrove leads with another single. A wild pitch moves him up. Alomar singles him to third. Harrah singles. Horton doubles. Washington grounds out but Ellis singles past a drawn-in infield. Herzog gets Mingori and Littell up, his only halfway decent relievers, but it’s way too early to bring them in. Splittorff hits Keith Smith to load the bases but Campeneris pops out, Beniquez grounds to Patek and the Rangers settle for four runs and the lead.

Splittorff regains his pitching sense after that, and it’s still 5-4 Texas in the last of the 7th. Mayberry starts it with a walk. Patek lines a single into center, Mayberry “motoring” to third. White whiffs but Cowens walks. With Ellis fatigued, in comes lefty Roger Moret to face Poquette. Up comes pinch-hitter Willie Wilson. The infield is up. I’m standing with 40,000 others going nuts. Willie picks out a fastball and rips it into left! Two runs score and we have the lead back! And here’s Brett with a base hit, 7-5 Royals! Len Barker in to face McRae, and Hal singles, too! Buck Martinez at the plate, who came in when Wathan went out with a sprain, whiffs, but with Otis at the plate, Barker loses it. Throws two straight wild pitches before Otis singles for the sixth run of the inning! I can’t believe it!

The excitement’s apparently too much for Splittorff, because he goes off the tracks in the 8th, walking Campaneris, getting a DP ball out of Beniquez, but then walking Hargrove. Littell comes in, gives pinch-hitter Wills a single, then a cheap hit to Harrah to load the sacks. Man alive, will this craziness ever end? Big bad Horton pops to Patek on a hittable pitch, and the 8th inning does.

Darold Knowles comes in to get Brett with two aboard to end the K.C. 8th, and then Peachy becomes the good sport I knew he was. With three outs left in his Rangers’ season, he shakes my hand, gives Dr. Sheila a big hug, and wishes us luck in the World Series as he backpedals toward the exit ramp, no doubt to catch a series of buses back to his home in Jewett. So he isn’t around when Washington flies to Zdeb in left…when Sundberg strikes out…and when Bevacqua flies to Zdeb to put this American League pennant in my pocket. YES!!

TEX 001 040 000 – 5 15 0
K.C. 040 000 60x – 10 12 0

W-Splittorff L-Ellis SV-Littell GWRBI-Wilson (1st of the year!)

WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE (blog versions*)

Thursday 1/20: Game One at Pittsburgh
Friday 1/21: Game Two at Pittsburgh
Saturday 1/22: Game Three at Kansas City
Sunday 1/23: Game Four at Kansas City
Monday 1/24: Game Five at Kansas City (if needed)
Tuesday 1/25: Game Six at Pittsburgh (if needed)
Wednesday, 1/26: Game Seven at Pittsburgh (if needed)

*Live Tweetcasts of every game will post at 10 p.m. eastern, the night before the blog stories, and will typically run about half an hour.

Best of luck to my astute managers, Rany Jazayerli and Pat Lackey, who will get a chance to set their lineups and rotations for the series.

The Seamus Spin (the final two days)

9/27
at WHITE SOX 4-10-0, TWINS 3-10-1
Carew goes 4-for-5 to up his average to .396 with one game to play. Gonna be tough…And it may be tough for the Twins to ever win another game, as Zahn gets racked this time for ninth loss in a row.

at RED SOX 8-12-0, ORIOLES 5-12-2
Nice of Boston to retrieve their winning ways right after they’re eliminated. Down 5-1 here to Rudy May, Fisk with a 2-run tater, Lynn with a 2-run triple in the 8th to tie the game, Rice with a 3-run Landsdowne Street walkoff against Dennis Martinez to win it.

at INDIANS 5-7-1, YANKEES 0-5-0
Guidry gets his usual zero run support, and two Mickey Rivers butcheries in center lead to a 4-run Tribe 6th inning to put it away.

at REDS 12-15-0, PIRATES 6-8-1
Reuss goes out with a bang, giving Cincy eight runs in three-plus innings. Morgan, Foster, Bench and Driessen with blasts.

at DODGERS 5-9-0, CARDS 2-8-1
Thank god Doug Rau draws the icky Tom Underwood, who allows two singles and a double to start the Dodger 7th and give them the win.

at CUBS 6-11-2, ASTROS 5-12-2
Woo-hoo! Ray Burris ends up 3-20, as the Cubs get six in the 4th and Ray-Ray more or less cruises from there.

at PHILLIES 9-15-2, EXPOS 6-10-0
Bahnsen is gone by the 3rd, Kaat survives until the 7th. Back in the leadoff spot, Schmidt doubles and homers and then gets injured for the duration.

9/28
at ROYALS 7-14-1, RANGERS 5-12-0
Just in case the Saturday game was overturned, K.C. beats Texas again on Sunday. Buck Martinez still filling in at catcher, singles and homers and drops down a perfect bunt in a huge six-run 5th off Gaylord Perry, who’s denied his 20th win.

at WHITE SOX 5-7-0, TWINS 3-8-0
Well, Mr. Carew goes 3-for-4 to reach .398, but with the score tied 3-3 in the 8th and another possible at bat rolling around, Ron Schueler serves up Oscar Gamble’s second homer and 39th of the year to win it for Chicago. Bummer. Even more bummerish is Minnesota’s 10-game losing streak to end the season. This team just never got it together and finished with the worst home mark in either league, 24-53.

ORIOLES 6-13-0, at RED SOX 2-7-2
The only pimples on Jim Palmer’s smooth 20th win are two Yaz solo homers in the 7th and 9th, while May, DeCinces and Dauer all take Jenkins deep. What a weird team this Boston club was. Led both leagues in runs, homers, fewest walks allowed and had the third best defense. Did not steal one base all season. And their pitching absolutely murdered them.

YANKEES 8-9-1, at INDIANS 2-5-1
Yay. Six runs off Garland in the middle innings enable New York to end their disappointing season on a winning note. With any kind of consistent pitching and defensive range, they coulda been the only contender.

at REDS 12-19-0, PIRATES 1-4-1
Interesting? Or irrelevant? Cincy outscores the league champs 24-7 in the last two games, though we are talking about Reuss and Kison here. The lone Buc tally is a Cobra solo shot in the 9th, a calling card if there ever was one.

at DODGERS 3-11-0, CARDS 2-6-0
Check it out! A run in the 7th ties it, a walkoff single from Ted Martinez in the 9th wins it, and L.A. finishes in second place.

ASTROS 10-17-0, at CUBS 2-10-0
A big weekend for six-run innings, as Houston gets one here in the 4th off Krukow. Watson blasts another homer to end with 30 dingers, and a wonderful 120 RBIs.

at PHILLIES 11-13-0, EXPOS 2-3-0
And we finish the regular campaign—all 1,232 games worth—with Steve Carlton’s easy 20th win. Ellis Valentine’s two bombs (44 on the year off Lefty) are all he wrote until a pinch single in the 9th. Carlton also triples in the winner early on.

RECORDS IN SEPTEMBER

White Sox 15-7
Royals 13-8
Orioles 12-9
Red Sox 14-11
Yankees 11-12
Rangers 10-12
Indians 9-13
Twins 5-17

Dodgers 14-9
Reds 13-9
Pirates 12-9
Astros 11-11
Phillies 12-12
Cards 10-12
Cubs 9-14
Expos 8-13

American League FINAL through Sunday, September 28

x-Kansas City 87 67 .565
Texas 83 71 .539 4
Boston 82 72 .532 5
New York 81 73 .526 6
Baltimore 79 75 .513 8
Chicago 72 82 .468 15
Cleveland 69 85 .448 18
Minnesota 63 91 .409 24

National League FINAL through Sunday, September 28

x-Pittsburgh 89 65 .578
Los Angeles 86 68 .558 3
Cincinnati 85 69 .552 4
Philadelphia 84 70 .545 5
St. Louis 80 74 .519 9
Houston 72 82 .468 17
Montreal 61 93 .396 28
Chicago 59 95 .383 30

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Crowning Touch

  1. Pirates-Royals? What a long, strange trip it’s been…

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