GIANTS 1, EXPOS 0
Wednesday, August 16, 1978 at Olympic Stadium
Game 1566 – 7/1/17
Roger Metzger’s two-out single to center in the top of the seventh sent Jack Clark home from second with the tie-breaking run, and John Montefusco shut down the Expos the rest of the way to collect his third shutout of the season, as the visiting Giants captured a close 1-0 game from the Expos at Montreal.
Montefusco and opposing starter Scott Sanderson battled for six scoreless innings before the Giants got on the board with the game’s lone run in the seventh, thanks to Metzger’s decisive hit, his second single of the game. This came after Clark had pushed a one-out hit past a diving Dave Cash at second; Clark then advanced into scoring position when a Sanderson pick-off attempt was thrown away for an error. Montefusco, meanwhile, was having no problem keeping Montreal’s offense at bay, allowing just two hits through eight innings and at one point retiring 17 straight batters before walking Chris Speier in the eighth.
But the Count ran into trouble in the ninth, surrendering a base hit to Andre Dawson and another to Warren Cromartie, with Dawson stopping at second with only one out. After a visit to the mound from manager Joe Altobelli, who chose to stick with his starter, cleanup batter Ellis Valentine lofted an easy pop fly to third baseman Darrell Evans for the second out, which then brought veteran Tony Perez to the plate. Perez, 0-for-3 on the night, punched a single to left, and with the swift Dawson off with the full-count pitch, and with the weak-armed Terry Whitfield advancing on the slow-rolling ball, it appeared Dawson would easily tie the game at 1-1. Whitfield, however, had other ideas, and rifled a pinpoint peg to backup catcher John Tamargo to nail Dawson at home and end the game in dramatic fashion.
Larry Herndon, Metzger, and Clark paced the Giants with two hits apiece, and Expos shortstop Chris Speier supplied the game’s only extra-base hit when he doubled off Montefusco with two down in the first; he was left stranded when Valentine struck out to end the frame. Montefusco finished with a 5-hitter, striking out six and walking just one en route to his 14th career shutout…and all this after taking a bad-hop grounder to the face in the third inning, a sharp comebacker off the bat of Dave Cash that glanced off his right cheekbone. Though knocked to the ground, Montefusco still made the play for the out, and shook off the injury to remain in the game and earn the win.
After splitting the first two games of the series, the teams will meet again tomorrow night to wrap up their midweek 3-game set at Olympic Stadium, the final visit the Giants will make to Montreal this season. Ed Halicki (11-6) will get the nod for San Francisco, with Ross Grimsley (7-12) slated to start on the mound for Montreal.
• The game was played at night at site AZ18 in Peoria, Arizona, on the living room table while I listened to my home-burned CD of favorite songs from 1980, titled Read Between the Lines.
• This was the 68th game played at site AZ18, which jumped past RB11 into sole possession of 7th place on the all-time SP78 games hosted list.
• This was the fourth SP78 game ever played on this date, and the first since the previous year.
• This was the first SP78 game I’d played in three months, where I spent some time away from the season to work on getting July stats calculated and prepped for the blog site, and to get August stats caught up through the 15th.
• The loss ended Montreal’s modest 3-game winning streak.
• With two Expos batters on base in the ninth, representing the tying and game-winning runs, Valentine had a BD chance (an extra-base hit that would clear the bases) come up on his Fast-Action Card draw…with no result. The next batter, Perez, also had a BD opportunity…and like Valentine was denied.
• When Dawson tried to score from second on the Perez single in the ninth, he only needed a FAC number of 72 or less—practically a sure thing with a FAC range of 11 to 88—to tie the game at 1-1. Instead, he wound up with an 83 for the third out.
• At the same time I was playing this game, my brother Scott was at his apartment in San Diego playing a game from his The Show 17 season on his PS4 console, the Padres and Tigers at Petco Park. Check out the side-by-side shots from the two games below. And by the way, in Scott’s photo, that’s me at the plate for the Padres, with Scott taking a lead off first: