Friday, February 1, 2013

Niekro Pitches Gem in Atlanta's Opener

Opening day in Atlanta and 39 year old knuckleballer, Phil Niekro, got the honor of opening the Braves 1978 season against Don Sutton and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  LA jumped off to a quick start in first on a Bill Russell double and a two out single by Ron Cey.  As it turned out, that was all the offense they could muster against Niekro as he scattered 7 hits in a 6-1 complete game victory.  A 3 run first by the Braves was all the offense Niekro needed.  Young Dale Murphy drove in 3 runs with a SF and a two run home run.  Game 2 saw the Dodger's Tommy John pitch a gem of his own as he shutdown the Braves in a 5-0 win. Dick Ruthven retired the first 7 batters before LA nicked him for a run in the 3rd and 3 more in the 4th.  Reggie Smith added a solo HR in the 7th for good measure.  Game 3 saw Atlanta's Tommy Boggs face off against LA's Rick Rhoden and once again it was pitching that dominated the game.  The Dodgers got all their offense in the first inning on Reggie Smith"s 2nd homerun in as many days and Rick Rhoden allowed a single run in the 6th inning on a ground out by Gary Matthews.  Charlie Hough pitched the 9th inning to get his first save of the 1978 season as Los Angeles wins game 3, and the series, 2-1.

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