Thursday, August 12, 1982 - At Three Rivers Stadium (Joaquin Andujar - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent: Pittsburgh Pirates (Ross Baumgarten - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance: 16,430
The Cardinals broke a scoreless tie with three fifth-inning runs - and that was just enough to beat the Pirates, thanks to a solid start by Joaquin Andujar (7 IP - 4 Hits - 2 Runs) and a strong finish by Bruce Sutter (1.2 IP - 0 Hits - 0 Runs - 2 SO). The 3-2 win put the Redbirds back on top in the NL East - a half game ahead of the Phillies, who lost to Montreal tonight.
Pirates starter Ross Baumgarten pitched well until the fifth-inning - when the bottom of the St Louis lineup started all the trouble. Ozzie Smith led-off with a single to left field. Next up - Joaquin Andujar - in an apparent bunting situation - fooled everybody by lining a single to right field. The ball was hit so hard, Ozzie had to stop at second. After Tommy Herr advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, Lonnie Smith brought them home with a single to center.
With Keith Hernandez now batting, Lonnie stole second - then advanced to third when Hernandez grounded out to the shortstop. George Hendrick then brought Smith in with a single to left, for the third and final run of the game for the Cardinals - but it was enough tonight.
Andujar held Pittsburgh scoreless through the first six innings - but Jason Thompson got the Pirates on the board with a lead-off home run in the seventh. Andujar got the next three batters, but ran into trouble in the eighth-inning, when his control deserted him. A lead-off walk to John Milner suddenly brought the tying run to the plate in the person of Willie Stargell. When Andujar missed with his first two pitches to the 42-year old Pirates' slugger, Herzog had seen enough - bringing in the 43-year old Jim Kaat to pitch - who completed the base on balls - putting runners on first (Jim Smith pinch ran for Stargell) and second.
After Kaat retired Omar Moreno on a pop fly to short, Johnny Ray singled to left - bringing Milner in to score.
With just a slim one-run lead to protect, Herzog brought in Bruce Sutter for the five-out save. He got two of the outs with one swing of Bill Madlock's bat - along with some questionable base running by Johnny Ray. After Madlock hit a fly ball to right fielder George Hendrick - just shy of the warning track - Smith tagged up from second, and would have easily advanced to third - but Ray tried to sneak into second. Not a good move, as Silent George threw a strike to Herr - nailing Ray to silence the Pirates' threat - not to mention the crowd.
Sutter pitched a perfect ninth - striking out the last two batters - to record his 23rd save of the season. Andujar improved to 9-10 - and would go 6-0 down the stretch to help the Cardinals win their first-ever NL East division title.
That would prove to be the start of something big.