Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1, 1987 - Another Come-From-Behind Walk-Off (Extra-Inning) Winner Over Pirates

Saturday, August 1, 1987 - At Busch Stadium II (John Tudor - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Pittsburgh Pirates (Rick Reuschel - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  47,106

The Cardinals did it again.  For the second straight game, the Pirates blew a three-run lead, as St Louis rallied to tie it in the ninth - then scored an unearned run in the tenth for their second straight walk-off win in this series.  Todd Worrell retired the four batters he faced - striking out one - for the win (5-6).

The Cardinals scored first - plating two first-inning runs off Rick Reuschel.  Vince Coleman - the walk-off hero from the previous night - beat out a slow roller to the shortstop to start this rally.  Next up - Ozzie Smith - pulled one down the right field line for a run-scoring double, then advanced to third on the futile attempt to nail Coleman at the plate.  Tommy Herr then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Ozzie.

That 2-0 Redbird lead was short-lived, however.  In the Pirates' second-inning, Jim Morrison laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line for an infield single, to light a fire for the Pittsburgh offense.  After John Tudor struck out Sid Bream, Morrison was forced out at second on a ground ball off the bat of Junior Ortiz.  But Rick Reuschel - a pretty good hitting pitcher - singled to left, moving Ortiz to second.  Then John Cangelosi doubled down the left field line, scoring both runners.  After Al Pedrique scored Cangelosi with a single to right field - he was then thrown out by catcher Steve Lake trying to steal second.

Pittsburgh then scored two more runs in the fourth-inning to stake Reuschel to a three run lead.  Jim Morrison lit another fire, baby, with a lead-off double - then Sid Bream laid down a sacrifice bunt which first baseman Jim Lindeman booted for an error.  Then Ortiz scored Morrison on a ground rule double - then Tudor finally recorded an out by striking out Reuschel.  An intentional walk to Cangelosi loaded the bases for Pedrique, who scored Bream on a sacrifice fly to left.  Tudor escaped any further damage, but he had dug himself into a three run hole now.

The Cardinal comeback began in the sixth-inning.  A lead-off single by Smith and another single by Herr quickly put runners on first and second.  Willie McGee advanced the runners to second and third on a ground out to the third baseman.  Terry Pendleton then was credited with a hit on a hard smash which Bream couldn't handle at first base.  After retrieving the ball,  he inexplicably made a futile attempt to nail Ozzie at the plate - and as the throw sailed past the catcher, Herr also scored on the play.  The Cards were only down by a run now - 5-4 was the score.

However, the Pirates added an insurance run in the ninth-inning.  Cangelosi drew a lead-off walk off reliever Lee Tunnel, prompting manager Whitey Herzog to bring Pat Perry in to face Pedrique - who sacrificed Cangelosi to second on a nice bunt.  Next up - Van Slyke scored the runner with yet another double to right.  It was the sixth double of the game for Pittsburgh.  That ended the scoring for the Pirates, but a Cardinal comeback seemed unlikely - down two runs - heading into the last half of the ninth.

The lead-off batter - Jose Oquendo - patiently worked a base on balls off reliever Barry Jones.  Then Tony Pena, who had just entered the game to play first base, also walked.  After Lake's bunt moved the runners up to second and third, Curt Ford brought in Oquendo with a sacrifice fly, which also enabled Pena to move up to third - but there were two outs now.

Now batting - Vince Coleman - came through again in a pressure situation - tying the game with a single up the middle.  But with Ozzie now batting - Vincent Van Go - who had already swiped two bags in this game - didn't go fast enough this time - as he was thrown out trying to steal second.  However, the Redbirds managed to send it into extra innings - or least one extra inning.

After Worrell retired the shell-shocked Pirates in order in their half of the tenth - Barry Jones returned to the mound for Pittsburgh - and the first batter for St Louis - Ozzie Smith - beat out a slow roller to the shortstop for an infield single.  Herr then moved Ozzie to third on a base hit to left.  After an intentional walk to McGee loaded the bases, Herzog sent pinch hitter Rod Booker to the plate - who grounded one to Bream at first base - who was able to force Ozzie at home for the first out of the inning.  Next up - Jose Oquendo - tested Bream again with another ground ball in his direction - but this time the Pirates' first baseman made a poor throw to the plate - allowing Herr to score the walk-off run.

It was a sloppy ending, for sure - but for the Cardinals, it was a happy ending, once again.  The next time the Cardinals would produce back-to-back walk-off wins wouldn't be until April 22 and 23, 1991.

By that time, the entire roster had been revamped.  The only constant:  The Wizard - Ozzie Smith - who would end his career as a Cardinal after a bitter '96 season - when new manager Tony LaRussa took over - and didn't exactly see eye-to-eye with his aging shortstop.

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