Sunday, March 30, 2014

Houston Hoists Series Win from Expos

The Astros take two of three from Montreal, slowing the Expos' hot start (they are still 27-20 and a surprise NL East contender). Two comeback wins fuel the Houston charge.

Game One: Hou 6, Mon 4

W: Richard (6-2)
L: Grimsley (2-5)

Houston takes 2-0 first inning lead against Montreal's bushy-haired Ross Grimsley, but J.R. Richard falters in the sixth, giving up four Expos runs, two on a double off the leftfield wall by hot-hitting catcher Gary Carter. But Houston comes back from the 4-2 deficit, bringing home three in the seventh and one in the eighth off a tired Grimsley. Young centerfielder Terry Puhl strokes a key double to right as he raises his average to .316.

Game Two: Mon 4, Hou 2
W: Schatzeder (1-1)
L: Andujar (1-3)
S: Sosa (7)

22-year-old lefty Dan Schetzeder befuddles the many Astros portside hitters on his way to a four hitter in 7.2 innings of work. Montreal does much of its damage in a three run third, helped by a bases loaded walk from a wild Joaquin Andujar, who walks six on the day. This time, Montreal reliever Elias Sosa allows no Houston comeback in 1.1 innings of hitless pitching.

Game Three: Hou 3, Mon 2
W: J. Niekro (4-3)
L: Rogers (9-4)

Montreal's Steve Rogers goes for his 10th win, but is matched by Houston's Joe Niekro, who is having a good year (2.19 ERA) despite a record hovering around .500 But in this game, Niekro goes the distance, only allowing two runs. Montreal actually takes a 2-1 lead in the seventh on Carter's eighth homer, a liner to left.. But the Houston batters again respond by scoring two in the bottom of the inning. Rogers spells his own undoing with a key error that plates a run before Astros SS Craig Reynolds hits a tiebreaking single for the eventual win.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cincinnati Red-lights Astros Batters in Series Win

The Reds continue to stay close in the NL West by taking two of three in Houston, including a long 14-inning middle game.

Game One: Cin 4, Hou 2
W: Moskau (2-2)
L: Niemann (1-1)
S: Borbon (4)

Houston jumps out to an early 2-0 lead for Randy Niemann but the forkballer can't hold onto a good thing, giving up three runs in the middle innings highlighted by a sharp triple off the bat of light-hitting Paul Blair. Reds reliever Pedro Borbon is a bit shaky, giving up four hits in three innings of long relief, but Astros batters can't take advantage of the opportunities.

Game Two: Cin 6, Hou 4 (14 innings)
W: Bair (1-1)
L: Dixon (1-3)

Cincinnati's Tom Seaver is strong but not dominant, going 10 and giving up three Houston runs on scratch singles. Houston's dominant knuckleballer, Joe Niekro, also is tough, and the teams find themselves knotted up at three apiece. It then settles down to pitching, as neither team can generate scoring chances. Houston has to resort to unsteady reliever Tom Dixon in the fourteenth, and he responds characteristically by giving up three runs on six hits, including four straight Reds singles. Houston loads them up against Doug Bair in the bottom of the inning and grabs one run back, but disappointing Jeffrey Leonard grounds into a DP to end the marathon.

Game Three: Hou 9, Cin 5
W: Williams (3-1)
L: Norman (2-6)
S: Roberge (1)

Spot starter Rick Williams has another fine outing for Houston and is aided by a three-for-five day with three RBIs from banjo-hitting shortstop Craig Reynolds. Cincinnati's Ken Griffey stretches his hit streak to 22 games and drives in two in defeat. He is now batting .370 on the year.

Tribe Trips Up ChiSox

GAME ONE The White Sox got all the runs they needed in the 1st inning of a 3-1 win over Cleveland. Ralph Garr led off with a home run. Eric Soderholm doubled in two runs. Ken Kravec tossed 8 2/3 innings for the win. Randy Scarbery got the 27th out.

GAME TWO – Toby Harrah and Ron Pruitt led the Tribe attack with 3 hits apiece as Cleveland evens the series 4-2. Eric Wilkins (1-1) evened his season mark with help from Sid Monge and Victor Cruz (3). Garr had 3 safeties for the Sox.


GAME THREE – Horace Speed (3H) and Pruitt (3H) collect 6 of the Indians 10 hits as the Wahoos take the finale of the series 6-3. Rick Waits (7-4) gets the mound win with Monge (8) notching the save. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Halos and Pale Hose Split DH and Series

GAME ONE Halos pound out 15 hits with every starter getting at least one in a 9-5 California win at Comiskey Park. Bobby Grich topped the least with 3. Dan Ford hit his 9th long one of the year. Nolan Ryan (7-1) used 141 pitches to record the 27 outs.

GAME TWO – Wayne Nordhagen’s double in the B9 plated Lamar Johnson with the walk-off winner as the Angels’ bullpen complete melts down. Leading 6-1 heading into the final frame, Halo hurlers record the leadoff out, then 8 straight Sox hitters reach safely leading to 6 runs and the come-from-behind victory. Nordhagen, Johnson and Greg Pryor smacked 3 hits apiece.

GAME THREE – More late-inning heroics from the Pale Hose as they plate 6 in the B8 to break open a 4-4 score to win 10-4 in a DH opener. Alan Bannister and Jorge Orta collected 3 hits each. Johnson and Eric Soderholm had 3 RBI apiece.


GAME FOUR – No come back this time for the Pale Hose as the Halos used an 8-0 advantage after 3 innings to cruise to an 8-4 victory in the nightcap. Rod Carew and Dickie Thon (3 runs) swat 3 hits each for Cal. Tom Donohue (1) and Jim Anderson (1) went yard at the bottom of the order for the Angels.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Athletics Grab 2 of 3 from White Sox

GAME ONE A tiring Rick Langford (5-3) hung in there and got PH Rusty Torres to ground out with 2 White Sox aboard to preserve a 6-5 win for Oakland. Ralph Garr had 3 hits to lead a 12-hit Sox attack. The A’s scored their first two in the 1st on a Mitchell Page (5) 2-run blast. They scored their final pair in the 6th when Glenn Burke, Mickey Klutts and Mike Edwards tripled on triples (3 consecutive).

GAME TWO – Oakland scores a run in the 8th and one in the 9th to spoil a superb pitching effort by Ken Kravec. Wayne Gross’ double in the 9th plated Dave Revering with the game winner as the A’s won 2-1. Dave Heaverlo (3-2) grabbed the win in relief. Mike Proly (1-4) took the loss. White Sox have lost 6 straight.


GAME THREE – Pale Hose break losing streak in a big way with a 10-1 win. Rich Wortham (3-4) went the distance. Don Kessinger, Claudell Washington and Lamar Johnson all collected 3 hits. The Sox had 15 total safeties for the game, but no extra base hits. Johnson drove in 3. Matt Keough (2-8) was lit up for the Athletics.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

California Taps Out As Brewers Sweep Series

Game 1: Milwaukee 6 California 4

WP: Larry Sorenson (5-3, 4.09 ERA, 4 Ks)
LP: David Frost (1-3, 2.37 ERA)
SV: Juan Castro (2)

Brewer home runs by Ben Oglivie (10) and Cecil Cooper (7) were the story behind Milwaukee's victory in
game 1.  Big Ben hit a two run shot in the bottom half of the 3rd to break a 1-1 tie and Coop hit his in the bottom of the 5th to break a 3-3 tie.  California was only able to battle back to within 1 run of the "Crew" before succumbing to Juan Castro in relief.   Don Baylor went 4 for 5 with 3 RBI's in the losing effort.

Game 2 Milwaukee 7 California 3

WP: Bill Travers (5-2, 2.23 ERA)
LP: Don Aase (2-4, 3.45 ERA)

An eighth inning 4 run explosion opened up a Milwaukee route as Bill Travers earned his eventual 5th win of the season with a complete game performance. California gave up 4 singles and a double in the bottom half of the 8th to see the Brewers break a 3-3 tie and settle on the eventual winning numbers of 7-3.  Cecil Cooper added his 8th homer of the season and the Angel's Carney Lansford chipped in a nice performance going 3-4 with an RBI.

Game 3 Milwaukee 6  California 5

WP Bob McClure (1-1, 2.13 ERA)
LP Dave LaRoche (1-1, 4.22 ERA)

Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the California Angels looked like they finally had the Milwaukee Brewers on the ropes.  But it was the Brew Crew who would receive the MIRACLE as Bambi's Bombers banged out 4 runs to steal the game 6-5.  Ben Oglivie led the inning off with a 343 foot shot down the right field line for his 11th homer of the season.  The Brewer bats continued to pound Angel relief pitcher Dave LaRoche with a double, single, single, double before LaRoche and California would wave the white flag. The Brewers rally gave them their 29th win of the season (29-15) while California drops to 26-17 (still 1st place in the AL West).

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Astros, Padres Each Take Two

Houston and San Diego, both striving to get above .500 after some difficult years, split the four game series at the Astrodome.

Game One: SD 3, Hou 2 (15 innings)

W: D'Aquisto (1-1)
L: McLaughlin (0-3)

San Diego, behind the crafty curveball of Bob Owchinko, holds a 2-0 lead into the eighth. But the Astros squad ties it up after punch hitting Craig Reynolds smashes a triple down the right field line, scoring Terry Puhl before coming in with the tying run. After that, both offenses shut down. Finally, in inning 15 after a long evening in Houston, San Diego pitcher John D'Acquisto lashes an RBI single to break the deadlock. He then pitches a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to finally end the marathon.

Game Two: SD 7, Hou 0
W: Jones (5-5)
L: Richard (4-2)

San Diego's slow-curve lefty Randy Jones is almost unhittable, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning and only allowing two hits in a complete game shutout. Triples by Dan Briggs and Ozzie Smith and a two-RBI single from Bill Almon provide some of the San Diego fireworks off Houston ace J.R. Richard, who is off his usual game.

Game Three: Hou 3, SD 1
W: Williams (2-0)
L: Perry (4-3)
S: Andujar (1)

Spot starter Rick Williams is again effective for Houston, only allowing one SD run in 7.2 innings of work, while Joaquin Andujar does the rest while shutting down the Padres offense. Houston only manages seven hits off Gaylord Perry in eight innings but get clutch RBI singles from Cesar Cedeno and Denny Walling in the first two innings to provide most of the scoring.

Game Four: Hou 6, SD 0
W: Niemann (1-0)
L: Lolich (1-3)

Journeyman Randy Niemann outduels long-toothed vet Mickey Lolich in a battle of lefties. Niemann only gives up three hits in 7.2 innings before yielding to Joe Sambito to finish the game for the tired pitching staff. Lolich is bombed for five runs in four innings of work, as the Astros spray the ball to all fields, including getting a two-RBI single from Jeffrey Leonard as he attempts to get regular playing time.

Reds Tackle Dem Bums in the Queen City.

Riverfront Stadium,

Game 1,
Concepcion smacks 10th homerun

George Foster drove in 3 runs as he led the Reds over the Dodgers in the first of a three game set.  Mike Lacoss got the start for Cincinnati and pitched well but was not around for the win. Pedro Borbon earned the victory to improve to 3-2. The loss was credited to Bob Welch (0-1). Reds 6...Dodgers 4.

Game 2,

Dodger righty Rick Sutcliffe was masterful as he shut down the Big Red Machine sticks with an eight inning two run performance to even the series.  Big Red helped himself at the plate as well. Sutcliffe doubled in two runs during the seventh inning to help his wonderfully pitched ball game. Sutcliffe improves to 3-2 with Bob Welch pitching the ninth for his 2nd save of the year. Paul Moskau threw well for the Reds but got tagged with the loss to fall to 1-2. Dodgers 4...Reds 3.
Seaver wins 4th game of season.

Game 3,

Tom Seaver improved his record to 4-1 as he hurled 8 solid innings of six hit, 2 run work.  Tom Terrific also collected 2 hits and drove in a run with a basehit to center.  Dave Concepcion connected for his 10th homerun of the year to help Seaver's cause.  Don Sutton got hung with the loss to sink to a record of 6-2. Steve Garvey crushed his 12 homerun of the season in the losing effort.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reds Take 2 of 3 from Padres in Cincy.

Riverfront Stadium,

Game 1,

Champ Summers connect for his first homerun of the season while Paul Moskau pitched 8 strong shutout innings to improve his record at 1-1.  Eric Rasmussen got the loss for San Diego and evens his record at 3-3. Reds 7...Padres 2.

Game 2,

This game required extra innings to settle the matter.  The Reds scored single runs in the 8th and 9th innings to take a 2-1 lead and the lead appeared secure.  However, Dave Winfield crushed his 13th homerun of the season off reliever Doug Bair to knot the game at 2.  The game was finally decided in the bottom of the 13th when Junior Kennedy grounded a game winning RBI single to right to score Ray Knight with the deciding run....Reds 3...Padres 2 (13 innings).

Game 3,

San Diego battered Bill Bonham and Frank Pastore as they preserved one game in the series.  Gene Richards, Kurt Bevacqua, and Bill Fahey all collected 3 hits to lead a 18 hit, 10 run offensive explosion in Cincinnati.  The recipient of this huge offensive surge was veteran Mickey Lolich who recorded his first win of the season against 2 set backs.  Padres 10...Reds 3.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Houston Cuts Down the Giants

The Astros sweep the Giants, who now have won only two of their last 10 games.

Game One: Houston 4, SF 2
W: Richard (4-1)
L: Nastu (0-3)
S: Sambito (5)

Heat thrower J.R. Richard strikes out 13 Giants in eight innings, while Houston chips away for three runs and holds off a late SF rally. Joe Sambito's fifth save stops the threat.

Game Two: Houston 6, SF 5

W: Williams (1-0)
L: Knepper (2-6)
S: Sambito (6)

Rick Williams was cruising for Houston, supported by six early runs and a 6-0 lead when he left after seven. But reliever Bo McLaughlin stokes another late Giants rally, as SF scores four in the eighth, three on long homers from Terry Whitfield and Rob Andrews. But Sambito again hands Houston the win, this time in tense fashion he gives up two hits and a run before retiring the final out. Red hot Astro Bob Watson hits a three run homer to aid the cause.

Game Three: Houston 8, SF 3
W: Forsch (4-3)
L: Halicki (3-4)

Ken Forsch survives a rocky three run fourth after Houston tags SF starter Ed Halicki for four early runs, including a three run homer from Bob Watson, who is busting the chops of Giants pitchers. Forsch settled down after the fourth for a complete game, giving up no more runs. Jose Cruz hits his first homer to help Houston pull away. Watson has now hit safely in 11 games.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"King Kong" Kingman Attacks Houston

The Cubs and Astros played four close games, the first three going to extra innings and the fourth won in the bottom of the ninth. Dave Kingman does most of the late inning damage for the Cubbies in the extra inning affairs.

Game One: Cubs 5, Astros 3 (10 innings)
W: Burris (1-1)
L: Sambito (3-2)
S: Caudill (1)

Three singles off the Astros' Frank Riccelli in the Cubs' fifth give them a 3-0 lead, but the Astros come right back to score two quick runs and tie it in the eighth on a Bob Watson smash aided by a Dave Kingman throwing error. In the 10th, Kingman redeems himself by socking his 10th homer of the year off Astros' closer Joe Sambito for the win.

Game Two: Cubs 7, Astros 5 (11 innings)

W: Sutter (1-0)
L: Sambito (3-3)

The game is tied 5-5 in regulation as both teams score early. Bill Buckner and Jerry Martin homer off the Astros' Ken Forsch, while Houston chips away with 10 hits in seven innings off Cubs' starter Lynn McGlothen. Cubs' pinch hitter Scot Thompson homers in the 10th but the Astros hand Bruce Sutter his first blown save as Jesus Alou walks with the bases loaded to tie the game. But shades of Game One, Dave Kingman steps in the batters box in the 11th and hits a two run homer off Joe Sambito to provide the margin of victory.

Game Three: Cubs 4, Astros 2 (10 innings)
W: Sutter (2-0)
L: Mclaughlin (0-2)

Houston spot starter Rick Williams keeps Chicago bats at bay but allows two runs in the eighth to Mick Kelleher and Bill Buckner to tie the game, after Houston pulled ahead early off Ken Holtzman on a Bruce Bochy single that scores two. Bruce Sutter pitches three innings of scoreless relief and gets the win in the 10th. Kingman again does damage by singling, stealing second and scoring the winning run off a ground single from Tim Blackwell.

Game Four: Houston 3, Chicago 2
W: Dixon (1-1)
L: Caudill (0-2)

Starters Mike Krukow and Joe Niekro  pitch good games but both tire after six and the score tied at 2 apiece. It looks to be another long afternoon of extra inning baseball at the Astrodome until Alan Ashby and Julio Gonzalez single off Cubs reliever Bill Caudill in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, pinch hitter Jesus Alou sends the crowd home happy for once by singling to left center for the Houston win.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Royals and ChiSox Split

GAME ONE – Amos Otis and Clint Hurdle hit 2-run homers in the 8th and 9th, respectively to power Kansas City to a 6-3 win over the White Sox in the opener of a 4-game set. Paul Splittorff (5-1) pitched 8 2/3 for the win. Al Hrabosky (8) recorded the 27th out.

GAME TWO – Ken Kravec (5-2) was nearly un-hittable in a complete game 3-0 shutout for the White Sox. U.L. Washington’s sharp single between first and second was the only blemish. Kravec fanned 7. Claudell Washington’s 2-run single in the 8th was the biblow offensively for the Pale Hose.   

GAME THREE – Chet Lemon plated Washington for a White Sox winner in the 9th capping a wild one, 13-12 at Comiskey. Lemon and Washington each had 4 hits to pace the ChiSox total of 23 safeties for the game. U.L. Washington’s 4 knocks led the Royals 15 hits. The Sox put a 5-spot on the board in the 3rd with Lamar Johnson and Bill Nahorodny swatting back-to-back home runs. Nahorodny would add a second dinger in the 6th. Chicago led 12-6 heading into the 9th, but the Royals tied it with 6 in the 9th without an extra base hit.


GAME FOUR – KC earns the split in the series with a 10-6 win in the finale. Eduardo Rodriguez muscled up and went the distance in his first start of the year. Everyone in the Royals lineup had at least 1 hit except Washington and George Brett. Chicago’s Johnson was the only player to leave the yard.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Houston Shuts Down Disappointing Cardinals Club

Houston is attempting to get back in the NL West race after a slow season start and is aided by a sweep of the dispirited St. Louis ballclub in the 'Dome. Houston is starting to climb back toward .500 at 13-18 while St. Louis drops to a horrid 7-21.

Game One: HOU 3, STL 0
W: Forsch (3-3)
L: Vuckovich (2-2)

Ken Forsch pitches a tidy three-hit complete game to even his record at three apiece. Pete Vuckovich isn't too shabby himself, only allowing six hits in eight innings, but allows RBI singles from Terry Puhl and Art Howe to give Houston the slight edge.

Game Two: HOU 1, STL 0

W: J. Niekro (2-3)
L: Denny (0-7)
S: Sambito (4)

A great pitching duel, as the Cards' John Denny finally finds his groove after a horrible beginning to the season that has put his ERA at over 5. However, Houston's Joe Niekro has the knuckleball fluttering today, only allowing six hits and no runs in 8.2 innings. A Bob Watson smash to left scores Cesar Cedeno in the sixth with the game's only run. After Niekro puts a runner on in the ninth, Joe Sambito comes in to get Jerry Mumphrey on a groundout to end the game.

Game Three: HOU 3, STL 1
W: Richard (3-1)
L: Sykes (0-4)

St. Louis scores its only run of the three game set, but one run is all they can muster off Houston ace J.R. Richard. The great fireballer strikes out eight en route to a complete game, four-hit win. Little used youngster Jeffery Leonard drives in two runs with singles off Cards' young starter Bob Sykes, who looks good but can't get around the lack of a Cardinals' offense.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Milwaukee Massacres Tribe

Jim Slaton is now 5-1.
The Milwaukee Brewers put on quite a show scalping the Tribe in three straight to improve to 20-11 on the season.  The Brewers outscored the Indians 22-3 over the 3 game series bashing 5 home runs in the process.  Milwaukee has now strung together 8 straight wins to move into first place in the AL East.  Cleveland has lost 10 of their last 12 games to drop to 14-14.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

4 Game Split on the Ohio Between Reds and Astros

Riverfront,

Game 1,

Concepcion hits 5 homeruns in the series.
The Big Red Machine flexed these muscles in the game with 5 homeruns!! Dave Conception connected for a pair and starter Tom Seaver, helped his cause with 2 long balls of his own ( Seaver already has hit 3 homeruns this season).  Reds batters crushed the Astros batters as Tom Seaver held down the Astros sticks to improve his record to 3-1.  Reds 12...Astros 2.

Game 2,

Cincinnati continued their offensive onslaught in the second game of the series.  Shortstop Dave Conception made it back to back days with with multiple homerun games!!! This was the 3rd game of the season that the slick fielding shortstop has gone deep twice in the same game.  Tom Hume and Dave Tomlin blanked the Astros lineup while surrendering a meager 5 hits.  Tom Hume still stands perfect with his 5-0 mark.  Reds 9...Astros 0.

Game 3, Doubler header,

Watson hits homerun in victory.
J.R. Richard found the cure for the Astros pitching woes against the Reds with a complete game victory over the Big Red Machine.  Richard struck out 7 batters and only allowed one measly run to record his second victory of the year.  Reds shortstop Dave Conception accounted for the only Reds run with his third consecutive game with a homerun. Davy leads the Reds in homeruns with 8.  Astros 2...Reds 1.

Game 4, second game of DH,


Houston first sacker Bob Watson hit his 3rd homerun of the season to lead the Astros to a

double header and 4 game split with the Reds.  Red starter Fred Norman was knocked out of the box in the fourth inning and was relieved by Frank Pastore.  Houston southpaw Frank Riccelli won his first victory with a solid pitching performance. Riccelli threw 5 innings of 2 hit ball but was relieved by Mclaughlin and Joe Sambito to help secure the victory.  Sambito earned his 3rd save of the year. The loss went to Fred Norman (2-3). Astros 6...Reds 3.

Milwaukee Rolls Over Toronto

The Brewers banged out 7 home runs in 4 games to sweep the Blue Jays 4-0.  

Sal Bando - 7-14, 2 HRs
Game 1: Milwaukee 4  Toronto 1
WP: Bill Travers (2-2, 2.63 ERA)
LP: Tom Underwood (2-4, 3.66 ERA, 6 Ks)
SV: Jerry Augustine (2)

Game 2: Milwaukee 9  Toronto 7
WP: Mike Caldwell (4-2, 4.21 ERA)
LP: Jim Clancy (1-4, 7.59 ERA)
SV: Reggie Cleveland (1)

Game 3: Milwaukee 9 Toronto 1
WP: Jim Slaton (4-1, 2.88 ERA, 3Ks)
LP: Mark Lemanczyk (1-2, 5.68 ERA)

Game 4: Milwaukee 7  Toronto 4
WP: Larry Sorensen (3-2, 4.15 ERA)
LP: Lemongello (0-4, 3.64 ERA, 7 Ks)

Milwaukee improves to 17-11 while Toronto drops to 8-20