Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 1987 - Cards Win See-Saw Battle in Pittsburgh

Tuesday, August 11, 1987 - At Three Rivers Stadium (John Tudor - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  Pittsburgh Pirates (Rick Reuschel - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  14,637

In a see-saw battle with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cardinals broke a 4-4 tie - scoring two runs in the top of the ninth - and then held on for dear life to come away with a nail-biting 6-5 win.  Ken Dayley - who pitched two perfect innings of relief - improved to 7-2, as Todd Worrell minimized the calamity in the bottom of the ninth to record his 24th save of the season.

John Tudor had a rough outing - allowing four runs in just five innings of work - but had been sidelined for most of the season after a freak dugout mishap in mid-April resulted in a smashed kneecap.  He would eventually return to form as the season progressed, but would only make sixteen starts - about half of what he would normally log had he been able to avoid any trips to the DL.

For the Pirates, Rick Reuschel was hit hard, but manager Jim Leyland left him in for a full nine innings of work, almost as if his entire bullpen crew had been kidnapped.  In nine innings, the soon-to-be-traded veteran (to San Francisco) coughed up six runs on twelve hits - but at least he got the complete game.  To the casual observer, it seemed that Leyland either lost his senses, or fell into a coma - right in the middle of a very important game.  But that's okay - the Cardinals won.

The Redbirds scored first, on Terry Pendleton's solo second-inning home run off the durable but ineffective Reuschel.

However, the Pirates quickly took the lead in the bottom of the second off a rusty Tudor - when Andy Van Slyke led-off with a single - then scored on Sid Bream's two-run shot deep to right.

St Louis tied the game in the fourth - on John Morris' two-out single - scoring Tommy Herr from third.

Pittsburgh untied it in the bottom of the fourth - on Johnny Ray's two-out solo blast.

After the Cardinals failed to score in the top of the fifth, the Pirates added another run in the bottom half - when Darnell Coles singled home Reuschel (who walked) from third.

Nursing a two-run lead, a tiring Reuschel went back to work in the sixth-inning - but couldn't hold the lead.  Ozzie Smith started the rally with an infield single which third baseman Bobby Bonilla couldn't make a play on.  Herr then doubled home Ozzie, as the Pirates bullpen was still missing in action.  Meanwhile, Leyland began nodding off in the Pirates dugout, incredibly, with a lit cigarette dangling from his lower lip.

In the meantime, Willie McGee advanced Herr to third on a ground out to first baseman Bream - to Reuschel for the putout.  Pendleton then tied the game once again - with a base hit to center.

Herzog - who rarely fell asleep in the dugout - brought in reliever Steve Peters to pitch the sixth-inning - and he survived it - two hits but no runs.

Meanwhile, Reuschel worked a scoreless seventh and eighth, while Ken Dayley - in relief of Peters - did the same.

The Cardinals broke through again in the ninth, when Tony Pena started a one-out rally with a single to left.  Pinch hitting for Ken Dayley - Jose Oquendo - reached on another infield single which Bonilla could do nothing with.  Vince Coleman also reached on an infield single to Bonilla - loading the bases.  Concerned fans now were contacting local authorities as to the whereabouts of anyone matching the description of any relief pitcher currently under contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Ozzie then scored Pena from third on what is referred to as a "fielder's choice".  The name and position of the "fielder" remains a mystery to this day; however, we do know that Smith was safe at first to re-load the bases for Herr - who scored Jose from third with a sacrifice fly to right field.  That ended the scoring.  As it turned out, those two extra runs were just enough to ensure victory.

Todd Worrell made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth.  Consecutive singles by Cangelosi and Bonds put runners on first and second.  The situation turned grave when the devious Al Pedrique laid down a perfect bunt which Worrell couldn't reach in time to get the speedy Pedrique.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Worrell decided it was time to wriggle out of this predicament.  He retired R.J. Reynolds on a fly ball to right - although it scored Cangelosi from third.  Bonilla - who had a tough day in the field and especially at the plate (0 for 5) - struck out on some high heat.  Worrell then got the dangerous Van Slyke on a pop fly to Ozzie - to end this crazy game.

Reuschel took the hard-earned complete game loss (8-6) - but proved he could pitch nine innings - regardless of the circumstances.  He would make just one more start as a member of the Pirates - a six-inning no decision effort - before being shipped off to bolster the Giants' stretch run to the postseason.

Big Daddy would make two starts against the Cardinals in the '87 NLCS - losing Game 1 and getting a no decision in Game 5 - a game eventually won by the Giants.  Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of this trade were the Cardinals.  After all, had they lost Game 1, they would have lost the series to San Francisco in five games.

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