Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Tom Underwood began his major-league career with Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, but nothing prepared him for the challenge he and his sibling faced.

Forty years ago, on May 31, 1979, Tom and his younger brother, Pat Underwood, opposed one another as starting pitchers in Pat’s major-league debut.

Brothers have faced one another as starting pitchers in big-league games before and since, but the matchup of the Underwoods was the only time a pitcher made his major-league debut against his brother.

The family affair occurred at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, with Tom, 25, starting for the Blue Jays against Pat, 22, starting for the Tigers.

Both left-handers rose to the challenge and pitched superbly. Pat prevailed, getting the win in a 1-0 Tigers victory.

Major talents

Tom and Pat were born and raised in Kokomo, Ind.

Tom debuted in the major leagues with the Phillies in 1974 and made his first big-league start on April 13, 1975, with a shutout against the Cardinals at Philadelphia. Boxscore

On June 15, 1977, the Phillies traded Tom and outfielders Dane Iorg and Rick Bosetti to the Cardinals for outfielder Bake McBride and pitcher Steve Waterbury.

Tom was 6-9 with a 4.95 ERA for the 1977 Cardinals. After the season, on Dec. 6, 1977, the Cardinals dealt Tom and pitcher Victor Cruz to the Blue Jays for pitcher Pete Vuckovich and a player to be named, outfielder John Scott.

Pat was selected by the Tigers in the first round of the 1976 June amateur draft. He was the second overall choice after the Astros took pitcher Floyd Bannister with the top pick.

The Tigers promoted Pat to the big leagues in May 1979 after he pitched for manager Jim Leyland at their Evansville farm club.

All in the family

When Tigers manager Les Moss chose to have Pat start against his brother, Tom was not pleased.

“I think it’s stupid,” Tom said to the Detroit Free Press. “It will be the first game of his major-league career and they’re making him start against his brother.

“I’m not sure it’s really fair to Pat. There’s enough pressure on you when you’re pitching your first game in the big leagues without worrying about your brother.”

Helen Marie Underwood, the mother of Tom and Pat, said, “I prayed for rain.”

The skies were all clear, though, in Toronto for the Thursday night game. Helen Marie told the Free Press, “Now I’m just hoping for a shutout _ on both sides.”

Tom and Pat got together the day of the game and Tom said to his brother, “Pat, let’s put on a show. We’ve got center stage tonight and we may never have it again. Let’s make the most of it.”

Mirror image

Pat retired the first 12 Blue Jays batters in a row before yielding a leadoff double to 39-year-old Rico Carty in the fifth inning.

Tom was equally effective and the game was scoreless until the eighth when Jerry Morales, a former Cardinal, led off with a home run over the left-field wall for the Tigers.

In the bottom of the ninth, after Alfredo Griffin doubled with one out, Moss went to the mound and Pat said, “I told him I was feeling really good even before he had a chance to say anything.”

Moss had two relievers ready and opted to replace Pat with Dave Tobik. After Tobik retired Bob Bailor on a fly out, John Hiller relieved and struck out Roy Howell, preserving the win for Pat.

After Pat congratulated Hiller with a handshake, he went across the field, put his arm around Tom and together they walked over to where their family was seated.

“I feel awfully happy for Pat,” Tom told the Free Press. “I’m just sorry it was at my expense.”

In remarks to the Associated Press, Tom said, “I taught him how to throw a slider and changeup while he was in high school. When I looked out, I felt like I was watching myself.”

Pat’s line: 8.1 innings, three hits, no runs, one walk and four strikeouts.

Tom’s line: nine innings, six hits, one run, two walks, six strikeouts. The loss dropped Tom’s record for the season to 0-7. Boxscore

Sibling rivalries

According to Baseball Almanac, other brothers who started a game against one another in the big leagues were Virgil and Jesse Barnes, Phil and Joe Niekro, Gaylord and Jim Perry, Greg and Mike Maddux, Pedro and Ramon Martinez, Andy and Alan Benes, and Jered and Jeff Weaver.

The Benes brothers, Andy for the Cardinals and Alan for the Cubs, started against one another on Sept. 6, 2002. Andy got a complete-game win in the Cardinals’ 11-2 victory. Boxscore

Bob Forsch of the Cardinals and his brother, Ken Forsch of the Astros, pitched against one another but didn’t start against one another.

Tom Underwood pitched in the major leagues for 11 seasons with six teams, Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Yankees, Athletics and Orioles, and had a career record of 86-87 with 18 saves and a 3.89 ERA.

Pat Underwood pitched in the major leagues for four seasons, all with the Tigers, and had a career record of 13-18 with eight saves and a 4.43 ERA.

Read Full Post »

The Cardinals were involved in the first unofficial use of video replay to review an umpire’s call and it resulted in a favorable ruling for them.

Twenty years ago, on May 31, 1999, National League umpire Frank Pulli used a television replay to determine whether a ball hit by Cliff Floyd of the Marlins was a home run.

At the time, video replay wasn’t permitted to be used by umpires to review calls made on the field. Pulli made the decision to use the technology available because the umpires disagreed on the call and were confused about the ground rules at Pro Player Stadium in Miami.

After seeing the replays on a television camera viewfinder near the Marlins’ dugout, Pulli reversed his call and ruled the ball hit by Floyd didn’t clear the wall. Floyd was given a double, not a home run.

The next day, National League president Leonard Coleman reiterated baseball’s policy against the use of video replays to review calls.

Nearly a decade later, in 2008, big-league baseball reversed its stance and started using video replays to review certain calls.

Varied opinions

The Cardinals-Marlins game was played on Memorial Day afternoon and featured shortstop Edgar Renteria in his first game at Miami since being traded by the Marlins to the Cardinals.

Renteria hit two home runs and scored three runs, leading the Cardinals to a 5-2 victory, but his performance was overshadowed by the replay controversy.

In the fifth inning, with the Cardinals ahead, 4-1, the Marlins had a runner, Alex Gonzalez, on second, with two outs, when Floyd drove a pitch from Kent Bottenfield deep to left-center.

The ball hit near the top of the wall and caromed back onto the field. The wall, extending from left to left-center and topped by a scoreboard, was 33 feet high and nicknamed the teal monster.

Second base umpire Greg Gibson correctly ruled the ball was in play because it hadn’t cleared the wall. Floyd, seeing Gibson’s signal, stopped at second base with a RBI-double, but he and the Marlins argued for a home run, saying the ball hit against a black canvas above the scoreboard.

After hearing their case, crew chief Pulli, umpiring at third, overruled Gibson’s call and declared a home run for Floyd. Pulli’s decision prompted an argument from manager Tony La Russa and the Cardinals.

“It wasn’t even close to going out of the park,” Cardinals left fielder Ray Lankford said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Cliff put on a good act. He’s a damn good salesman.”

Getting it right

The Cardinals made a compelling case and Pulli began to doubt his decision.

“When I first saw the ball, I thought it hit the scoreboard and came back,” Pulli said. “It was called in play. After further discussion with a few of the Marlins, they said something about hitting the black. I got confused with the ground rules.”

After Pulli and home plate umpire Greg Bonin watched a replay, they were convinced Floyd’s ball didn’t clear the wall.

“I sure don’t want to make a habit of it, but at that moment I thought it was the proper thing to do,” Pulli said. “I’m glad we did. We got the call right.”

Said Floyd: “Most guys make history by hitting two grand slams in one inning. I make history by being the first instant replay.” Boxscore

Marlins interim manager Fredi Gonzalez, filling in for an ailing John Boles, protested the game, saying Pulli violated baseball policy by relying on video replay. “You can’t use any electronic devices to determine the outcome of a game,” Gonzalez said.

Palm Beach Post columnist Dave George wrote, “The call was the right one. The way in which it was verified, however, was goofy considering baseball umpires have been conditioned for more than a century to consider any outside second opinion, up to and including a Supreme Court ruling, as the pathetic meddling of an inferior intelligence.”

The Cardinals, of course, supported Pulli.

“There’s a sentence in the rule book that says, ‘Get the play right.’ That’s the rule _ the golden rule of umpiring,” said La Russa.

“If the play had gone against us and was called right, I wouldn’t have complained.”

Knowing right from wrong

Coleman rejected the Marlins’ protest but made it clear umpires shouldn’t use video replay again.

“Use of the video replay is not an acceptable practice,” Coleman said.

Coleman suggested “part of the beauty of baseball is that it is imperfect,” and added, “The integrity of the game requires that judgments be left to on-field personnel. In the course of play, instant replay has no role in Major League Baseball.”

In explaining why he didn’t uphold the Marlins’ protest, Coleman said Pulli’s decision to use video replay was a judgment call that violated a policy, not a rule.

Pulli, 64, was in his 28th season as a major-league umpire. The 1999 season would be his last.

Cardinals coach and former Marlins manager Rene Lachemann said, “A lot of people should look at the intestinal fortitude Frank Pulli had by doing that. I don’t know how many other umpires would do it. Here’s a guy with 28 years of service trying to do something that’s right for the game and now he gets slapped. That’s what bothers me about the game of baseball.”

Read Full Post »

A different role in a different league revived the playing career of outfielder Vic Davalillo.

Fifty years ago, on May 30, 1969, Davalillo was traded by the Angels to the Cardinals for outfielder Jim Hicks.

Davalillo had been a starter in the American League since making his major-league debut with the Indians in 1963. He won a Gold Glove Award in 1964 and was an all-star in 1965.

The Cardinals acquired him to be a pinch-hitter and backup outfielder and it was a role Davalillo, 32, embraced. A left-handed batter, he developed into a premier pinch-hitter and played in the major leagues until September 1980 when he was 44 years old.

Power arm

Davalillo, a native of Venezuela, followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Pompeyo “Yo-Yo” Davalillo, who was a shortstop in the American League for the 1953 Senators.

The Reds signed Vic as a left-handed pitcher and he began his professional career in their minor-league system in 1958. He had a 16-7 record and 2.45 ERA for Palatka of the Florida State League in 1959. He also batted .291.

After the 1961 season, the Reds sold Davalillo’s contract to the Indians, who converted him into an outfielder. Though Davalillo was slight at 5 feet 7 and 150 pounds, he had a powerful throwing arm and made consistent contact at the plate.

After batting .346 with 200 hits as an outfielder for Jacksonville of the International League in 1962, Davalillo became the starting center fielder for the American League Indians in 1963. His best big-league season was 1965 when he hit .301 with 26 stolen bases for the Indians.

On June 15, 1968, the Indians traded Davalillo to the Angels for power hitter Jimmie Hall. Davalillo led the 1968 Angels in batting average (.298) and stolen bases (17).

Health problems

Davalillo returned to Venezuela after the 1968 big-league season and played winter ball there until he was stricken with what was described as “nervous exhaustion and a stomach disorder,” The Sporting News reported. He spent two weeks in a hospital.

“Everything seemed to make me ill,” Davalillo said. “Then I began to worry and soon I was very nervous.”

When Davalillo got to spring training with the Angels in 1969, he struggled to perform at the level he was accustomed.

In March 1969, the Angels offered to deal Davalillo and others to the Senators for slugger Frank Howard, according to The Sporting News, but when the Senators countered by asking for a different package of players the Angels refused.

Davalillo opened the regular season by going hitless in his first 13 at-bats for the Angels. On May 2, Royals rookie Dick Drago threw a brushback pitch at Davalillo, who responded by going toward the mound while carrying the bat at his side. Royals catcher Jim Campanis grabbed Davalillo from behind and prevented an incident.

Versatile player

Davalillo was batting .155 in 33 games when the Angels dealt him to the Cardinals. The Los Angeles Times described him as “a major disappointment, a man beset with personal problems.”

Cardinals general manager Bing Devine made the deal because he projected Davalillo as “a qualified backup man for Curt Flood in center field” who provided the club “something it was sadly lacking _ a fleet pinch-hitter,” The Sporting News reported.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst told the St Louis Post-Dispatch, “You can do a lot of things with him because he can run well and play anywhere in the outfield and also do a good job of pinch-hitting.”

The Angels were happy to get Hicks, 28, in exchange for Davalillo because he gave them a potential power bat. Though Hicks batted .182 in 19 games for the 1969 Cardinals, he led the Pacific Coast League in hitting (.366) in 1968 when he played for Tulsa.

Both Davalillo and Hicks got off to storybook starts with their new teams.

On June 1, 1969, in his first at-bat as a Cardinal, Davalillo hit a three-run home run against Reds left-hander Gerry Arrigo at St. Louis. “I’ll say one thing about the little guy _ he takes a good cut and hits the ball hard,” said Schoendienst. Boxscore

Two days later, playing in his second game as an Angel, Hicks delivered his first hit for them _ a two-run home run against John Hiller of the Tigers at Anaheim. Boxscore

Hit man

The deal worked out much better for the Cardinals than it did the Angels.

Hicks batted .083 in 37 games for the 1969 Angels and ended his big-league career with four at-bats for the 1970 Angels.

Davalillo produced five hits in his first eight at-bats as a Cardinal. On July 2, 1969, pinch-hitting for Julian Javier, Davalillo hit a grand slam against Mets reliever Ron Taylor, a former Cardinal who was Davalillo’s teammate with Jacksonville in 1962. Boxscore

Davalillo batted .265 in 63 games for the 1969 Cardinals.

In 1970, Davalillo returned to the Cardinals and hit .311 in 111 games. He was amazing in the clutch, batting .393 with runners in scoring position and .727 (8-for-11) with the bases loaded. As a pinch-hitter in 1970, Davalillo batted .324, with 23 hits.

In his book, “Stranger to the Game,” Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson described Davalillo as “a skilled veteran, a popular teammate and in 1970 the best pinch-hitter in the National League.”

Gibson also told an anecdote about a day in Chicago when Davalillo’s friends “had to bring him directly to the ballpark after a long night of festivities.”

“When we saw the condition Davalillo was in, we dressed him, pulled him up the dugout steps and took him to the bullpen where we could cover him with warmup jackets,” Gibson said.

Davalillo quietly napped in the bullpen until late in the game when Schoendienst, unaware of Davalillo’s condition, told coach Dick Sisler he wanted Davalillo as a pinch-hitter. Sisler suggested Schoendienst try someone else, but the manager was insistent.

Davalillo “had a habit of picking up his right foot when he swung the bat,” Gibson recalled, “and when he picked up his foot to swing at the first pitch that day, a strong gust of wind came up and blew him right on his ass.”

As Davalillo lay sprawled across the batter’s box, Sisler said to Schoendienst, “I told you you didn’t want Davalillo.”

On Jan. 29, 1971, the Cardinals traded Davalillo and pitcher Nelson Briles to the Pirates for outfielder Matty Alou and pitcher George Brunet. Davalillo hit .285 for the 1971 Pirates and helped them win the World Series championship.

The 1971 World Series was the first of four in which Davalillo would play. He also played in the World Series in 1973 with the Athletics and in 1977 and 1978 with the Dodgers.

Davalillo finished his major-league career with a .279 batting average and 1,122 hits, including 95 as a pinch-hitter.

Read Full Post »

For one glorious season, St. Louis Cardinals running back MacArthur Lane rumbled through defenses like a heavy-duty Mack truck and rushed for more touchdowns than anyone else in the NFL.

Lane died May 4, 2019, at 77. He played in the NFL for 11 seasons with the Cardinals (1968-71), Green Bay Packers (1972-74) and Kansas City Chiefs (1975-78).

His most memorable year was 1970, his third Cardinals season, when his skills as a punishing rusher with a linebacker’s approach were in peak form. Lane, 6 feet 1 and 220 pounds, rushed for 977 yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games that season. He also had 32 receptions, including two for touchdowns. Lane was the 1970 NFL leader in both rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.

Born in Oakland in 1942 and named in honor of U.S. Army general Douglas MacArthur, Lane’s 1970 performance prompted Sports Illustrated to note, “MacArthur Lane gives St. Louis the most powerful ground attack since his namesake relieved Seoul.”

After spending most of his first two Cardinals seasons on the bench, Lane, like the famous general, said to Sports Illustrated, “I told everyone, ‘I shall return.’ Sure enough, I did.”

Pro potential

After graduating from high school, Lane worked as a machinist in Oakland for three years. When he earned enough income, he attended a junior college for a year and was a linebacker on the football team. Utah State took notice and granted Lane an athletic scholarship. He played linebacker as a sophomore at Utah State before converting to running back.

Lane averaged 6.9 yards per carry in his two seasons as a Utah State running back and was projected to be a pro prospect, even though he’d turn 26 two months after the 1968 NFL draft.

The Cardinals wanted to draft either offensive tackle Russ Washington of Missouri or linebacker Fred Carr of Texas-El Paso, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, but Washington went to the San Diego Chargers and Carr to the Packers before the Cardinals got to pick 13th in the first round.

Cardinals head coach Charley Winner and his staff were considering Lane or his Utah State teammate, defensive lineman Billy Staley. “Swaying their decision was advice from Utah State coach Chuck Mills,” who told the Cardinals he thought Lane had more potential, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Lane was the second running back selected in the 1968 draft, following the Miami Dolphins’ choice of Syracuse fullback Larry Csonka, who was the eighth player taken overall.

Emerging force

Lane was 28 when the Cardinals’ gave him a chance to be a starter in 1970. His breakout performance came in the second game of the season when he rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Washington Redskins.

In October, he dazzled in consecutives games against the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. Lane had 132 yards rushing, 41 yards receiving and a touchdown versus the Saints on Oct. 11. The next week, he scored four touchdowns and rushed for 125 yards against the Eagles.

Lane and Cardinals fullback Cid Edwards “just might be the most formidable rushing combination in the country,” Post-Dispatch columnist Bob Broeg observed.

Lane appeared headed to a 1,000-yard rushing season, but in December he was limited to 10 carries against the Detroit Lions and nine versus the New York Giants. After averaging 17.5 rushing attempts per game in September, 14.8 in October and 15.2 in November, Lane got 12.0 carries per game in December.

According to the Post-Dispatch, Lane “ended the season angrier than ever after coaching strategy in the final games cost him his cherished goal of 1,000 yards rushing.”

Lane’s 977 yards rushing placed him third among 1970 NFL leaders, behind Larry Brown of the Redskins (1,125) and Ron Johnson of the Giants (1,027).

Money matters

The sour ending to Lane’s 1970 season carried over to training camp in 1971. Lane and the Cardinals couldn’t agree on contract terms and he was unsigned when President Nixon ordered a freeze on all prices and wages in the United States in August 1971 in response to increasing inflation.

According to the Post-Dispatch, “When the wage and price freeze went into effect, Lane and other unsigned players went into limbo. Lane had to play for his 1970 salary _ which was based on unproductive 1968-69 seasons _ minus a 10 percent cut he had to take to play out his option.”

Lane blamed Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill for not getting a contract done before the wage freeze occurred and he remained miffed at Bidwill throughout the season.

“I’ve been having my problems with him and we’ve been getting under each other’s skin,” Lane said.

Lane’s frustration boiled over on Dec. 12, 1971, after the Cardinals lost to the Eagles. Talking with writers when Bidwill entered the locker room, Lane pointed at the rotund owner and said, “All his money is in that money belt around his stomach.”

“He’s the cause of all this trouble,” Lane said.

Though Lane apologized to Bidwill, the Cardinals suspended him for the season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. The suspension “was a matter of principle,” Bidwill said.

“I just spoke before thinking,” Lane said. “I put my foot in my mouth. What I said was in a rage of anger. The whole damn season has been so frustrating.”

Lane finished the 1971 season with 592 yards rushing and three touchdowns for first-year head coach Bob Hollway.

Sent packing

In late January 1972, Lane and management had amicable contract discussions, but a month later the Cardinals traded him to the Packers for running back Donny Anderson.

“It was just a total surprise,” Lane told the Post-Dispatch. “I was baffled by it all because when I was in St. Louis recently we were very close to signing the contract … We had settled our disagreements when I was there and the Cardinals and I were both happy.”

Said Hollway: “As far as myself and management are concerned, we resolved any problems we had with Lane … The trade came about because we were able to get a more versatile running back.”

Lane and fullback John Brockington gave the Packers a powerful running attack. In 1972, with Lane rushing for 821 yards and three touchdowns, and Brockington rushing for 1,027 yards and eight touchdowns, the Packers were 10-4 in the regular season.

Lane also had success for Chiefs head coach Paul Wiggin in 1976, leading the NFL in receptions with 66. He gained 542 yards rushing and 686 yards receiving that season.

He finished his NFL career with 4,656 yards rushing, 2,786 yards receiving and 37 touchdowns _ 30 rushing and seven receiving.

Read Full Post »

Allen Watson, a Cardinals pitcher struggling to get outs, and Orestes Destrade, a Marlins batter struggling to get hits, took out their frustrations on each other.

Twenty-five years ago, on May 22, 1994, Watson hit Destrade with a pitch, triggering a fight on the field at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.

Watson and Destrade were ejected and each received a suspension _ Watson for eight games and Destrade for four. Cardinals outfielder Bernard Gilkey and Marlins pitcher Luis Aquino also got ejected for instigating another fight and Gilkey got a four-game suspension for inadvertently making contact with umpire Charlie Reliford.

Bruised feelings

Watson entered the Sunday afternoon start with a 6.70 ERA for the season and Destrade came in batting .210.

In the first inning, Destrade hit a two-run double against Watson. In the second, Watson yielded a solo home run to Rich Renteria and two-run home runs to Carl Everett and Jeff Conine, giving the Marlins a 7-2 lead. Everett’s home run was his first in the major leagues.

After Conine delivered the Marlins’ third home run of the inning, Destrade stepped to the plate and Watson’s first pitch hit him in the back.

“Obviously, it was intentional,” Destrade said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Said Watson: “I was trying to throw inside and it ran too much and hit him.”

Sticks and stones

Destrade charged toward Watson, who removed his glove and flung it hard in self-defense. The mitt struck Destrade, knocking the eyeglasses off his face. Columnist Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch said Watson displayed “his best location of the day” with his glove toss.

“I knew he was going to charge, so I wasn’t going to stand there and get my head kicked in,” Watson said.

Destrade grabbed Watson in a headlock and landed a punch to the face.

“I fight with my fists,” Destrade said to the Palm Beach Post. “I didn’t throw my helmet at him. He has to take his medicine.”

As both benches emptied, Watson and Destrade grappled until separated by teammates.

“Basically, he’s a wimpy, little gutless college boy,” Destrade said. “He was trying to make up for stinking. What he did isn’t being an athlete. It’s being a wimp.”

Replied Watson, “A wimp? I was calling for him to come out. I charged at him, too. I didn’t back down. That’s not being a wimp.”

Redbirds rally

Rich Rodriguez relieved Watson and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings. As Rodriguez was returning to the dugout after an inning, a fan threw a cup of beer at him and Rodriguez hurled his glove at the guy.

“It wasn’t an Anheuser-Busch product,” Rodriguez said. “That’s what got me upset.”

The Cardinals scored four in the sixth to get within a run at 7-6. The Marlins responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning against John Habyan to go up 9-6.

Rob Murphy held the Marlins scoreless in the seventh and eighth, keeping the Cardinals in the game.

In the ninth, the Cardinals had two outs and none on against Marlins closer Jeremy Hernandez, who had nine saves and a 1.42 ERA on the season.

After Jose Oquendo walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Mark Whiten drove him in with a double, making the score 9-7. Ray Lankford’s single scored Whiten and got the Cardinals within one at 9-8. After Luis Alicea singled for his fifth hit of the game, Gregg Jefferies doubled down the right-field line, plating Lankford and Alicea for a 10-9 Cardinals lead.

“I had nothing on any of my pitches,” Hernandez said. “I probably should have told the coaches I felt terrible.”

In the bottom of the ninth, Mike Perez struck out Kurt Abbott, hit Bret Barberie with a pitch and got Dave Magadan to ground into a game-ending double play. Boxscore

Destrade played two more games for the Marlins, got released and never played in the big leagues again.

Read Full Post »

Like a couple of grand chess masters, managers Joe Torre of the Cardinals and Jim Leyland of the Pirates engaged in a series of maneuvers designed to outwit the other. Torre won, and the result was as unusual as it was satisfying.

Twenty-five years ago, on May 17, 1994, Torre utilized six pitchers to achieve a shutout against the Pirates at Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals tied a National League record for most pitchers used in a shutout. The American League record at the time was seven.

Since then, the American League Indians established a record by using nine pitchers in a shutout against the Tigers on Sept. 17, 2016, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Boxscore The previous record of eight had been done five times, MLB.com reported.

Tom terrific

The Cardinals-Pirates game was played on a 40-degree Tuesday night at Three Rivers Stadium. The starting pitchers were left-handers Tom Urbani for the Cardinals and Zane Smith for the Pirates.

Urbani entered the start with a season record of 0-3 and a 5.04 ERA. The Cardinals wanted to send him to the minor leagues, but balked when left-hander Rheal Cormier injured his shoulder.

Both starters worked fast and the first seven innings were played in less than 90 minutes. The Cardinals scored a run in the sixth and another in the seventh and led 2-0.

The Pirates’ lone hit against Urbani was a single by Carlos Garcia leading off the fourth.

“I set up hitters and I got them out the way I wanted to get them out,” Urbani said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Torre observed, “Even when he didn’t hit his spots, he had enough on the ball where they didn’t get good wood on it.”

Mix and match

In the eighth, the Pirates had two on via walks with two outs when Torre lifted Urbani and brought in right-hander John Habyan to face Lance Parrish. Leyland countered by using Dave Clark, a left-handed hitter, to bat for Parrish and Habyan walked him, loading the bases.

Torre called for left-hander Rob Murphy to pitch to Orlando Merced, a switch-hitter, but again Leyland countered and switched to right-handed batter Don Slaught. Murphy got Slaught to hit a grounder to shortstop Ozzie Smith, who threw to second baseman Jose Oquendo for the inning-ending force on Clark.

In the ninth, Torre used three pitchers to get three outs.

Garcia led off with a single against Mike Perez. After Jay Bell popped out to second, left-hander Rich Rodriguez came in to face the former Cardinal, Andy Van Slyke.

A left-handed batter, Van Slyke turned on a Rodriguez fastball and hit it high and far. Van Slyke’s drive had home run distance but landed a few feet foul down the right-field line.

“I was able to get away with a pitch,” Rodriguez said. “I had new life and once I did I figured I’d better make something happen.”

Rodriguez switched to sliders and struck out Van Slyke.

Playing the percentages, Torre brought in right-hander Rene Arocha to face right-handed Brian Hunter and got him to fly out to shallow left, ending the game.

Urbani pitched 7.2 innings, limiting the Pirates to one hit and four walks, and earned his second career win in the big leagues. Boxscore

In using Habyan, Murphy, Perez, Rodriguez and Arocha to complete the shutout, Torre emptied his bullpen.

“I didn’t have any left,” Torre said to the Associated Press. “(Arocha) was the last I had.”

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »