Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17, 1982 - Hernandez Lifts Cards to Walk-Off Win Over Padres

Tuesday, August 17, 1982 - At Busch Stadium II (Joaquin Andujar - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  San Diego Padres (Eric Show - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  27,679

Keith Hernandez scored the first run and drove in the final run in a 3-2 walk-off win over the San Diego Padres.  Bruce Sutter - who entered the game in relief of Joaquin Andujar in the ninth-inning, inheriting a runner on second with no out - got out of the jam and got the win - improving to 8-5 on the season.  This win, coupled with the Phillies' loss in Montreal, gives the Cardinals (68-50) a two-game lead in the tight NL East race.

It was a lead-off triple by Keith Hernandez in the sixth-inning - followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of George Hendrick - that broke a scoreless tie.  For Padres starting pitcher Eric Show, it was only the third hit  surrendered in the game.

San Diego answered back with a pair of runs in the seventh-inning.  Broderick Perkins' two-out double scored Terry Kennedy from first - then Tim Flannery drove in Perkins with a single to center - and when Willie McGee booted the ball - Flannery kept running all the way to third base.  The next scheduled hitter - pitcher Eric Show - was removed for a pinch hitter - former Cardinal Sixto Lezcano - who was retired on a fly ball to Lonnie Smith in left field.  The decision by manager Dick Williams to remove Show from the game with a one-run lead - when he had been pitching brilliantly - may have been a favor to the Cardinals.

With Gary Lucas now pitching for the Padres, Ken Oberkfell greeted him with a lead-off seventh-inning single to right field.  Ozzie Smith then said hello to his former teammate with a run-scoring double to left.  Andujar got into the act, screaming "Say hello to my little friend!" - ripping the third straight hit off Lucas - a single to left - advancing Ozzie to third.

Next up - Tommy Herr - hit into some bad luck.  His line drive was hit directly to second baseman Flannery, who then doubled an absent-minded scar-face Andujar - who apparently thought the ball was not going to be caught - off first base.  Lucas managed to escape further damage - but in his first inning of work he had allowed the same number of base hits Show had allowed in six innings.

It appeared Andujar's base running blunder might come back to haunt the Cardinals when Terry Kennedy led-off the ninth-inning with a double.  At that point, manager Whitey Herzog brought in his miracle worker - Bruce Sutter - to bail the Redbirds out of this precarious situation - and he did - with a little help from his shortstop - actually, a lot of help from his shortstop.

After the Padres' catcher started the ninth with that two-base hit, Joe Pittman entered the game as Kennedy's pinch runner - representing the lead run.  After Jim Lefebvre moved the runner up to third with a sacrifice bunt, the Cardinal infield moved in - hoping for a ground ball to one of the infielders to keep the runner from scoring.  The strategy paid off - in an unconventional manner.  The next hitter - Luis Salazar - ripped a hard hit ground ball to Ozzie's right - who made a diving back-hand stop - freezing Pittman at third.  Salazar got the hit, but Ozzie saved the run.

Sutter then got Perkins on a pop fly to Ozzie - and Flannery on a ground out to Herr.

Leading off the bottom of the ninth was none other than The Wizard himself - Ozzie Smith - who received his second standing ovation from the appreciative fans for his game-saving stop.  Smith coaxed a walk off the doomed Lucas - then advanced to second on Mike Ramsey's sacrifice bunt.  Herr was intentionally walked to set up a possible double play - but Lonnie Smith was the next batter - who rarely hit into double plays.

Williams then brought in Luis DeLeon to pitch to Lonnie - who also walked - to load the bases for Keith Hernandez.  With no place to put him, DeLeon gave Hernandez a pitch he could handle - and Keith lined it into right for the game winner.

Three walks and a hit.  A typical Cardinal rally for a team that knew how to manufacture runs - and knew how shut down the opponent's chances to manufacture runs - with some pretty slick fielding.

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