Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 24, 1982 - Opportunistic Redbirds (5 Runs/5 Hits) Stifle Astros (1 Run/11 Hits)

Saturday, July 24, 1982 - At Busch Stadium II (Bob Forsch - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Houston Astros (Bob Knepper - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  22,462

The Cardinals had to be opportunistic to win this game - and they were - getting just five hits and five walks of total offense, they managed to score five runs, in handing the Houston Astros a frustrating 5-1 loss.

Houston, on the other hand, squandered most of their scoring opportunities - unable to get the key hit off Cardinals starter Bob Forsch - who yielded ten hits in 7.1 innings pitched, but just one lone run.

Houston had at least one hit in every inning - except the second - and their frustration started early - in the very first-inning.  After a lead-off single, Astros second baseman Dickie Thon tried to steal second base - unsuccessfully - while Terry Puhl was batting.  With one down and nobody on base now, Puhl then tripled - but was stranded when Forsch reached back for a little extra on his fastball - striking out Ray Knight.  Bob only had two strikeouts all day.  Jose Cruz was then retired on a fly ball to left to end the threat.  It was going to be that type of game for Houston - plenty of chances and plenty of missed opportunities.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, had very few scoring chances, but when they arose, the Redbirds rose to the occasion - starting with a third-inning run they tallied on just one hit - a lead-off single from Ozzie Smith.  With Forsch batting, Ozzie immediately swiped second - allowing Forsch the chance to move him to third with a sacrifice bunt - and he did.  Tommy Herr's sacrifice fly to center gave the Cards a quick 1-0 lead.

St Louis then jumped on Houston starter Bob Knepper for four runs in the fourth.  With one out, George Hendrick singled, then advanced to third on a single by Gene Tenace.  The next batter - Tito Landrum - scored Hendrick with a double to left field, while Tenace stopped at third.  Light-hitting Mike Ramsey then got into the act - scoring both runners with a single to left - and when Astros third baseman Art Howe botched the relay from the outfield, Ramsey advanced all the way to third base.  Ozzie then plated the fourth run of the inning (an unearned run) with a sacrifice fly to center field.

That was the extent of the St Louis attack on this Saturday afternoon.  Knepper's day was over after being lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth-inning - then Mike Lacoss and Randy Moffitt each pitched two-innings of no-hit-no-run relief for Houston - but the Astros lineup could only muster one fifth-inning run - on a two-out Dickie Thon double and a Terry Puhl run-scoring single.

After Ray Knight's one-out single off Forsch in the eighth-inning, manager Whitey Herzog brought in Jim Kaat to pitch to Jose Cruz - and the veteran lefty induced Cruz to hit into a Taylor-made 6-4-3 double play.

Bruce Sutter then got the final two outs in the ninth-inning (both strikeouts) to preserve the victory (although not a save situation), as Forsch improved to 10-5 on the season.

This was the kind of game the Cardinals managed to win with remarkable consistency in '82 - when they were outhit, but not outscored.  Opportunistic would seem to be their M.O.

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