With the bats of Giants regulars suddenly going silent this month (Bill Madlock is hitting just .143, Jack Clark .122, and Mike Ivie .102), the team’s run production for their game last night at Dodger Stadium fell into the hands of utility players Hector Cruz, Jim Dwyer, and Willie McCovey, who all powered home runs in a 4-2 win over LA.
For 20-year veteran McCovey, it was the 499th HR of his career, an eighth inning solo shot off Dodgers reliever Rick Sutcliffe that gave the Giants a late two-run lead, and prompted cheers—as well as some confusion—among fans and players alike. “I knew I had two more to go,” said McCovey, “and when I looked up and saw the scoreboard flashing a big 500, I thought maybe I’d forgotten one.”
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Right now, Mike Torrez may not be having the best season of his career, but last night, in front of a near-sellout crowd at Fenway Park, he most certainly experienced his best game.
Torrez, in his first year in a Red Sox uniform, completely shut down the vaunted Milwaukee power-hitting attack, allowing just two singles to Robin Yount in the fourth and ninth innings, as the Bosox cruised to a 16-0 whitewash of the Brewers in the opening game of their 4-game set at Boston. It was the 12th shutout of Torrez’ career and his first of the season, improving his current won-lost record to 8-9.
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Rangers ace Jon Matlack tied Mike Caldwell of the Brewers for the most wins in the major leagues yesterday, cruising to his 18th victory against just three defeats with a dominating 4-0 shutout of the Tigers before a Navy Night crowd at Tiger Stadium. For Matlack, who was traded to the Rangers in December after seven seasons with the Mets, the win was not only the 100th of his major league career, but helped lift Texas to a 4-game lead over second-place Kansas City in the tight AL West pennant race.
“I hit some rough spots last year,” Matlack said, referring to his 7-15 won-lost record with the Mets in 1977, “so it feels good to turn it around and help a team make a run at a division title.”
Help also came last night in the form of slugging left fielder Richie Zisk, another freshman member of the team, who spent last season with the White Sox after seven seasons with the Pirates; his 2-run home run in the first inning off Detroit spot starter Kip Young gave Texas a quick 2-0 lead. It was Zisk’s 19th HR of the year, and the first a slumping Rangers squad had hit since July 30th, when Johnny Grubb connected off Wilbur Wood in the second game of a twinbill against Chicago.
After Young averted further first-inning damage by enticing Grubb to loft an infield fly for the third out, Matlack ran into some trouble of his own to open the home half of the frame, serving up a double to Johnny Wockenfuss and a two-out walk to Jason Thompson. But Matlack settled down and retired Alan Trammell on a fly out to center to end the threat and escape the inning unscathed. From there, the former NL Rookie of the Year was invincible, retiring nine straight Tigers before Rusty Staub singled to lead off the fifth. Continue reading
In just his second game with the St Louis Cardinals, rookie shortstop Todd Benefiel was rudely welcomed to the major leagues by the visiting Mets with his first career out, as well as a caught stealing on his first stolen base attempt, and in the 14th inning, his first career error, a low throw to first that skipped wide of a lunging Keith Hernandez, allowing batter Lenny Randle to take second and eventually score the go-ahead run, putting New York in the driver’s seat with a 7-6 lead and just one half-inning left to play.
One full inning later, the major leagues welcomed the Mets to rookie shortstop Todd Benefiel.
With the score deadlocked at 7-7 in the last of the 15th, after Hernandez had re-tied the game with a solo home run in the last of the 14th, the determined 15-year-old led off the frame by battling pitcher Paul Siebert for a hard-earned walk. On Siebert’s first pitch to follow-up batter Tony Scott, Benefiel took off for second, swiping the bag well ahead of the throw for the first stolen base of his career. Moments later, after advancing to third on a sharp groundout to shortstop Tim Foli, he tagged and scored the game-winning run on Jerry Mumphrey’s shallow fly-out to Joel Youngblood in center, beating the throw to home with a hook slide that evaded catcher John Stearns’ desperate tag, lifting the Cards to a thrilling 8-7 win in front of a fervent crowd at Busch Memorial Stadium late Saturday night.