Archive for the ‘Opponents’ Category

Keith Hernandez provided the biggest challenge to Tom Seaver in his bid to pitch a no-hitter against the Cardinals.

Forty years ago, on June 16, 1978, Seaver produced the lone no-hitter of his 20-year major-league career in a 4-0 Reds victory over the Cardinals at Cincinnati.

Hernandez twice came close to generating singles with sharp shots requiring skillful plays from second baseman Joe Morgan and shortstop Dave Concepcion.

Hernandez also almost ruined Seaver’s shutout, drawing a walk and advancing to third with one out before being left stranded.

Early jam

In 1978, Seaver, 33, was in his second season with the Reds. He’d pitched five one-hitters in 11 seasons with the Mets before they traded him to Cincinnati in June 1977.

Facing the Cardinals for the second time in 1978, Seaver retired the first four batters before Hernandez walked with one out in the second. When Hernandez stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Don Werner, the Cardinals were positioned to score, but Jerry Morales struck out and, after Ken Reitz walked, Mike Phillips grounded out, ending the threat.

In the fourth, Hernandez hit a one-hop smash between first and second. Morgan moved to his left, snared the ball and threw out Hernandez.

“It wasn’t a tough play if I get to it,” Morgan said to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The only question was if I’d get to it on the AstroTurf.”

Said Seaver: “Joe has a lot of smarts. He knows how to play the hitters. That was a case of intelligence getting you an out rather than raw ability.”

The Reds scored three runs in the fifth against John Denny on a two-run double by Pete Rose and a RBI-double by Morgan. A home run by Dan Driessen leading off the sixth gave the Reds a 4-0 lead.

Bearing down

In the seventh, Hernandez hit a low rocket that caromed off Seaver’s glove and deflected to Concepcion, who fielded the ball and threw out Hernandez.

“Even if Seaver doesn’t touch the ball, I think I make the play at first,” Concepcion said to The Sporting News.

Seaver survived another scare in the eighth when Morales hit a high chopper off the plate. Third baseman Ray Knight, who’d entered the game as a defensive replacement for Rose, fielded the ball cleanly and fired a throw to first to nip Morales.

Seaver retired 19 in a row before walking Jerry Mumphrey to open the ninth. “After that walk, I told myself, ‘Wait a minute, pal, you can lose this game,’ ” Seaver said.

Up next for the Cardinals were Lou Brock, Garry Templeton and George Hendrick. Ted Simmons and Hernandez awaited after that. “If I had to get down to Simmons and Hernandez, I knew the game would be in jeopardy,” Seaver said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Savvy Seaver

Brock worked the count to 2-and-1, fouled off four pitches and flied out to left. Templeton followed with a ground ball to Concepcion, who tossed to Morgan at second for the forceout of Mumphrey.

Seaver got ahead of the count, 1-and-2, on Hendrick before getting him to ground out to Driessen at first, securing the no-hitter and giving the Reds a 4-0 victory. Video of last out

“I did have a good sinker most of the way and my fastball came along later,” said Seaver. “I had my best stuff at the end.”

The no-hitter “was more a matter of skill over power,” wrote Bob Hertzel of the Enquirer.

Werner, catching in place of Johnny Bench, who had an ailing back, said Seaver called all the pitches. “Tom runs the show out there,” Werner said. “I was more of a spectator.” Boxscore

The no-hitter was the first by a Reds pitcher at Riverfront Stadium and the first by a Reds pitcher since Jim Maloney versus the Astros in April 1969.

Seaver’s no-hitter also was the first pitched against the Cardinals since Gaylord Perry of the Giants did it in September 1968.

“If it has to happen,” said Cardinals manager Ken Boyer, “at least it happened to a real pro.”

In 51 career starts against the Cardinals, Seaver was 25-13 with a 2.69 ERA, 21 complete games and four shutouts.

Here is a link to a game video of Seaver’s no-hitter.

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In the Year of the Pitcher, Steve Carlton showed he could hit as well as pitch for the Cardinals.

Fifty years ago, on June 13, 1968, Carlton hit his first major-league home run in the Cardinals’ 3-1 victory over the Braves at Atlanta.

Carlton’s home run was the first by a Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson hit one against Jim Lonborg of the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 1967 World Series and the first by a St. Louis pitcher in the regular season since Larry Jaster accomplished the feat on Sept. 23, 1966, against Larry Jackson of the Phillies.

Mistake pitch

The 1968 season became known as the Year of the Pitcher because only six major-league players batted .300 or better and the sport was dominated by the likes of Gibson (1.12 ERA, 13 shutouts, 268 strikeouts), the Giants’ Juan Marichal (26 wins, 30 complete games), the Tigers’ Denny McLain (31 wins, 28 complete games) and the Indians’ Luis Tiant (1.60 ERA, nine shutouts).

Carlton, 23, was developing into a premier pitcher. The left-hander would finish the 1968 season with a 13-11 record, 2.99 ERA and five shutouts.

He also was showing an ability to handle the bat.

Carlton, a left-handed batter, had three hits in his last three at-bats entering his start against the Braves and his batting average was .233.

In the third inning, in his first at-bat of the game, Carlton hit an 0-and-2 fastball from Braves starter Ken Johnson over the wall in right-center.

“The pitch was right down the middle with nothing on it,” Johnson said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I tried to go inside with that pitch and I figured on coming back with a knuckleball. Carlton hit a pitch that my two sons, both pitchers, wouldn’t make in Little League.”

Carlton said he never hit a home run in the minor leagues, but hit some in winter league games.

Knuckle under

Carlton’s home run gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. The Braves tied the score in the sixth on Joe Torre’s RBI-single with two outs.

Carlton pitched eight innings, allowing four singles and a walk and striking out seven, and departed with the score still tied at 1-1.

In the 12th inning, shortstop Dick Schofield led off for the Cardinals with a home run against Phil Niekro. “A lousy, lousy knuckler,” Niekro told the Atlanta Constitution.

Said Schofield: “It wasn’t one of Niekro’s better knucklers because nobody hits those.”

The home run was Schofield’s 17th in 16 major-league seasons and his only one in 1968.

Phil Gagliano, who batted after Schofield, walked and scored on Lou Brock’s double, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 3-1.

In the Braves’ half of the 12th, Wayne Granger struck out Torre, walked Deron Johnson and yielded a single to Tommie Aaron. Hal Gilson relieved and retired Clete Boyer and Marty Martinez on ground outs, stranding the runners and sealing the win. Boxscore

Power pitchers

Carlton hit two more home runs for the Cardinals _ on July 27, 1968, against the Pirates’ Bob Moose and on Sept. 1, 1969, against the Astros’ Don Wilson _ before he was traded to the Phillies after the 1971 season.

Carlton hit 13 regular-season home runs in his major-league career and one in the postseason. In Game 3 of the 1978 National League Championship Series, Carlton hit a three-run home run against the Dodgers’ Don Sutton.

Bob Gibson holds the Cardinals record for regular-season career home runs by a pitcher, with 24. Gibson also holds the Cardinals single-season record for regular-season home runs by a pitcher, with five.

The all-time major-league leader for regular-season career home runs by a pitcher is Wes Ferrell. He hit 38 in a big-league career from 1927-41 with the Indians, Red Sox, Senators, Yankees, Dodgers and Braves.

After Ferrell, the next best in regular-season career home runs by a pitcher are Bob Lemon (37) and Warren Spahn (35).

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In his brief stint with the Cardinals, Mark Worrell provided a lasting impression with his hitting instead of his pitching.

Ten years ago, on June 5, 2008, in the second game of a doubleheader between the Cardinals and Nationals in Washington, D.C., Worrell hit a three-run home run in his first major-league plate appearance.

Worrell, no relation to Cardinals reliever Todd Worrell, was regarded as a premier pitching prospect, but didn’t last long with St. Louis.

After four relief appearances for the 2008 Cardinals, Worrell was returned to the minor leagues, got traded after the season and hurt his arm.

His place in franchise lore, though, was secured as one of nine Cardinals to hit a home run in his first plate appearance in the major leagues.

The list:

_ Eddie Morgan, pinch-hitter, April 14, 1936, vs. Cubs.

_ Wally Moon, center fielder, April 13, 1954, vs. Cubs.

_ Keith McDonald, pinch-hitter, July 4, 2000, vs. Reds.

_ Chris Richard, left fielder, July 17, 2000, vs. Twins.

_ Gene Stechschulte, pinch-hitter, April 17, 2001, vs. Diamondbacks.

_ Hector Luna, second baseman, April 8, 2004, vs. Brewers.

_ Adam Wainwright, pitcher, May 24, 2006, vs. Giants.

_ Mark Worrell, pitcher, June 5, 2008, vs. Nationals.

_ Paul DeJong, pinch-hitter, May 28, 2017, vs. Rockies.

Climbing the ladder

Worrell, a starting pitcher at Florida International University, was selected by the Cardinals in the 12th round of the 2004 amateur baseball draft and quickly established himself as a quality reliever. In 2005, Worrell played for Class A Palm Beach, led all minor leagues in saves with 35 and was named Cardinals minor-league pitcher of the year.

Worrell led the Texas League in saves, with 27 for Class AA Springfield in 2006, and he struck 66 batters in 67 innings for Class AAA Memphis in 2007.

In 21 games for Memphis in 2008, Worrell had a 1.88 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 24 innings before he was called up to the Cardinals.

Worrell had an unorthodox pitching motion. “As he begins his delivery, Worrell bends over and then springs up to throw sidearm while stepping almost toward first base,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“In the end, his success is the ball on the edge and not the middle of the plate,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

Power pitcher

Worrell made his major-league debut on June 3, 2008, in the Cardinals’ first visit to Nationals Park and pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a 6-1 St. Louis victory. Boxscore

Two nights. later, Worrell made his second appearance when he relieved rookie starter Mike Parisi in the fifth. Parisi allowed eight runs in four innings and also got his first major-league hit, a two-run double against Nationals starter Tim Redding.

After Worrell pitched a scoreless fifth, the Cardinals batted in the sixth against Redding, looking to chip away at an 8-3 deficit. With runners on first and third, two outs, Worrell made his first major-league plate appearance and hit a 3-and-2 fastball from Redding into the left field stands for a three-run home run.

“Look at these pitchers! That’s a home run,” Nationals television broadcaster Bob Carpenter exclaimed as the ball carried over the fence. Video

“I let two different pitchers drive in five runs and a guy that had never swung a bat in the big leagues hit a three-run homer off me,” Redding said to the Washington Times. “Other than those two outcomes, I felt good.”

Worrell pitched a scoreless sixth and exited with the Nationals ahead, 8-6. The Cardinals rallied with two runs in the ninth to tie the score at 8-8 and went ahead, 9-8, with a run in the 10th, but the Nationals got a two-run home run from Elijah Dukes against Ryan Franklin in the bottom half of the inning and won, 10-9. Boxscore

Arm ailment

Worrell made his third appearance for the Cardinals on June 12 against the Reds and was the losing pitcher, yielding two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Boxscore

After one more appearance, in which he gave up three runs to the Phillies, Worrell was sent back to Memphis. His record in four games with the Cardinals was 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA, but his slugging percentage was 2.000.

On Dec. 4, 2008, the Cardinals traded Worrell and a player to be named to the Padres for shortstop Khalil Greene. Three months later, the Cardinals sent the Padres pitcher Luke Gregerson to complete the deal.

At spring training with the Padres in 2009, Worrell injured his right elbow and needed reconstructive surgery, sidelining him for the season.

Two years later, Worrell returned to the major leagues with the 2011 Orioles and yielded eight earned runs in two innings over four relief appearances for a 36.00 ERA.

In his final major-league appearance, on July 24, 2011, Worrell gave up a three-run home run to Mike Trout, the first in the big leagues for the Angels rookie. Trout, 19, became the first teen to hit a home run in the major leagues since 2007, according to the Los Angeles Times. Boxscore

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In answering a call for help from the Cardinals, Brady Raggio got into a jam and required rescue.

Twenty years ago, on May 15, 1998, Raggio started for the Cardinals against the Marlins and allowed 11 consecutive batters to reach base before he was lifted in the first inning.

Though he was sent to the minor leagues the next day, Raggio returned to the Cardinals a month later and earned redemption.

Bad results

Needing someone to fill in for Donovan Osborne, who developed a shoulder ailment, the Cardinals called on Raggio, who was with their Class AAA Memphis club, and gave him the start in the Friday night opener of a series against the Marlins at St. Louis. Raggio, who’d made 15 appearances as a rookie with the 1997 Cardinals, was 4-2 with a 2.48 ERA at Memphis.

Though the Marlins were defending World Series champions, three of their best players _ third baseman Bobby Bonilla, catcher Charles Johnson and outfielder Gary Sheffield _ were held out of the lineup against the Cardinals while the club negotiated a deal to trade them to the Dodgers.

Raggio got the first batter, John Cangelosi, to ground out. The next eight _ Edgar Renteria, Cliff Floyd, Derrek Lee, Mark Kotsay, Gregg Zaun, Craig Counsell, Dave Berg and pitcher Brian Meadows _ each singled.

The hits by Floyd, Kotsay, Zaun, Berg and Meadows produced five runs. It could have been more except Kotsay made the second out of the inning when he drifted too far off second base after Zaun singled.

The Marlins, though, weren’t done. Batting for the second time in the inning, Cangelosi walked, loading the bases. Renteria singled again, driving in a run and making the score 6-0.

After Raggio walked Floyd, forcing in a seventh run, manager Tony La Russa replaced him with Curtis King, who got Lee to ground out, ending the Marlins’ half of the first.

Raggio departed with an ERA of 94.50, yielding seven runs in two-thirds of an inning.

“They found the holes,” Raggio said to the Miami Herald. “I thought I was making pretty good pitches, but they had, like, six groundball hits.”

La Russa agreed, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “We expected him to get a bunch of ground balls. We didn’t get anything hit at anyone. I think the results were a little misleading.”

Raggio told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal he received “some encouraging words” from La Russa after the outing. “I make the same pitches that I made in that inning in 100 more innings and I get out with no runs,” Raggio said.

Keep on trying

Down 7-0, the Cardinals chipped away, scoring a run in the first, a run in the third and four in the fifth. Meadows gave up two home runs to Ray Lankford and one to Brian Hunter. The Marlins added a run in the fourth against Kent Bottenfield and led, 8-6, after five innings.

The Cardinals made Marlins reliever Jay Powell squirm in the ninth. With two outs, John Mabry doubled, scoring Gary Gaetti from first and getting the Cardinals within a run at 8-7. When La Russa sent Willie McGee to bat for pitcher Juan Acevedo, the Marlins opted to walked him intentionally, even though he represented the potential winning run. Tom Pagnozzi ended the drama by lining out to Renteria at short. Boxscore

Raggio was returned to Memphis after the game and pitched well, boosting his record to 6-3 with a 2.50 ERA. On June 15, the Cardinals recalled him. “Brady deserves it,” said Memphis manager Gaylen Pitts. “That’s what happens when you come down and work. He could have gone the other way, but he worked hard and did what he had to do to get back.”

In his first appearance for the Cardinals since his recall, Raggio pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief, earning the win against the Diamondbacks. Boxscore

After two more relief stints, Raggio went back to Memphis. Released after the season, Raggio was in the Rangers’ system in 1999 and spent three years (2000-2002) in Japan. In 2003, he returned to the big leagues with the Diamondbacks.

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Chuck Carr, a switch-hitting speedster who appealed to the Cardinals but didn’t fit into their plans, found a home with the expansion Marlins.

Twenty-five years ago, on May 14, 1993, the Cardinals played the Marlins in a regular-season game for the first time. The first batter they faced was Carr, whom the Marlins selected from the Cardinals in the Nov. 17, 1992, National League expansion draft.

Carr developed into a productive player with the 1993 Marlins. He led the National League in stolen bases (58) that season, tied with Jeff Conine for the team lead in runs scored (75) and was second on the club in hits (147).

The Cardinals would like to have kept him, but they had outfielders such as Ray Lankford, Bernard Gilkey and Brian Jordan who rated ahead of him.

Learning to hit

On Dec. 13, 1991, the Cardinals, acting on the recommendation of player development director Ted Simmons, acquired Carr from the Mets for minor-league pitcher Clyde Keller. Carr had a reputation for being a good fielder and weak hitter. “We signed him primarily as a defensive player,” Simmons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Cardinals assigned Carr to Class AA Arkansas to open the 1992 season and sent minor-league hitting instructor Johnny Lewis to work with him.

“Chuck was just slapping at the ball … I took him aside and showed him ways he could hit the ball harder,” Lewis told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Said Carr: “Johnny wants me to shorten my swing and put the ball in play more, just like Jose Oquendo and Ozzie Smith. It made sense to me.”

Carr hit .261 at Arkansas and was promoted to Class AAA Louisville on May 12. He batted .308 with 53 stolen bases in 96 games for Louisville.

“Carr is stirring memories of Vince Coleman,” wrote Courier-Journal columnist George Rorrer. “He’s fast enough to steal a base nearly any time he wants.”

Said Louisville manager Jack Krol: “Chuck has done more than we thought he could do … He can make it to the big leagues.”

Building block

Carr was called up to the Cardinals in September 1992 and they gave him a chance to play. He made 15 outfield starts. “His disruptive speed and defensive skills make Carr intriguing,” Dan O’Neill of the Post-Dispatch wrote.

Carr hit .360 in his first 25 at-bats and had five stolen bases. “Initially, he stirred excitement with the Cardinals,” wrote O’Neill. “Then he started hitting fly balls and his average deflated.”

In 22 games for the Cardinals, Carr hit .219 with 10 stolen bases.

After Carr was drafted by the Marlins, Cardinals manager Joe Torre said Carr “would have benefited us as a player coming off the bench” in 1993. “We were kind of hoping he might sneak through” the draft without being selected, Torre said.

The Marlins saw Carr as a possible cornerstone for building a lineup. “He can steal 50 bases in the major leagues,” said Marlins scout Cookie Rojas.

Run generator

Scott Pose was the Marlins’ starting center fielder and leadoff batter in their first Opening Day, April 5, 1993, but Carr took over the job on April 16 and kept it the remainder of the season.

When the Marlins came to St. Louis to play the Cardinals for the first time in a regular-season game, their lineup was Chuck Carr in center, Junior Felix in right, Dave Magadan at third, Orestes Destrade at first, Benito Santiago at catcher, Jeff Conine in left, Alex Arias at second, Walt Weiss at short and pitcher Chris Hammond.

The Cardinals’ lineup: left fielder Bernard Gilkey, shortstop Ozzie Smith, center fielder Ray Lankford, first baseman Gregg Jefferies, right fielder Mark Whiten, third baseman Todd Zeile, second baseman Geronimo Pena, catcher Erik Pappas and pitcher Bob Tewksbury.

The Cardinals won, 7-2. Carr contributed to both Marlins runs.

In the fourth, Carr got the Marlins’ first hit, lining a single to center. He swiped second _ “The throw was pretty good,” said Pappas. “He just beat it.” _ advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a single by Magadan.

In the seventh, with the bases loaded and two outs, Carr was grazed on the arm by a Tewskbury pitch, forcing in a run. “The ball was close to being a strike,” said Tewksbury. “He’s just diving into the pitch.” Boxscore

Carr batted .263 with six stolen bases against the Cardinals in 1993. The Cardinals won nine of 13 games against the expansion Marlins.

In eight major-league seasons with the Mets (1990-91), Cardinals (1992), Marlins (1993-95), Brewers (1996-97) and Astros (1997), Carr batted .254 with 144 stolen bases.

Previously: How Rene Arocha turned Marlins fans into Cards fans

Previously: First Rockies lineup had prominent Cards connection

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With a pitching performance as entertaining as it was admirable, Jose Oquendo impressed his teammates, frustrated the Braves and earned a spot in Cardinals lore.

Thirty years ago, on May 14, 1988, at St. Louis, Oquendo was asked by manager Whitey Herzog to relieve in the 16th inning because no one on the pitching staff was available. Oquendo shifted from first base to the mound and shut out the Braves for three innings before yielding two runs in the 19th. Though he lost, Oquendo surprised most by doing as well as he did for as long as he did.

Another surprise was the performance of Jose DeLeon, a Cardinals pitcher who played the outfield in the final four innings.

Limited options

The Saturday night game matched starting pitchers Cris Carpenter, making his major-league debut for the Cardinals, against Zane Smith. The Cardinals led, 5-4, before the Braves tied the score with a run in the seventh.

Oquendo, a utility player, entered the game in the ninth as a replacement for first baseman Bob Horner. In the bottom half of the inning, Oquendo and Tony Pena were on base, with one out, when Vince Coleman hit a grounder past pitcher Jose Alvarez. Second baseman Ron Gant dived, stopped the ball and started a double play, sending the game into extra innings.

In the 12th, former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons led off for the Braves. Facing his friend, Bob Forsch, Simmons pulled a pitch hard on the ground. Oquendo ranged to his right, snagged the ball and threw to Forsch, covering first, in time to nip Simmons.

In the 15th, Herzog brought in his last available pitcher, Randy O’Neal, whom the Cardinals acquired from the Braves the year before. O’Neal had experience as a starter and Herzog figured to let him finish the game, no matter how many innings it took.

However, after retiring the Braves in order in the 15th, O’Neal said his arm hurt. Herzog had used all his pitchers except three: DeLeon, Larry McWilliams and John Tudor. All were deemed unavailable. DeLeon had pitched 8.2 innings the previous night, McWilliams was scheduled to start the next game and had been sent home by Herzog in the 10th inning, and Tudor had a tender shoulder.

Herzog turned to Oquendo, who’d made one big-league pitching appearance, a 1987 mop-up role during a blowout loss to the Phillies.

Serious business

Selecting Oquendo to pitch, Herzog needed someone to play first base. He moved Duane Walker from left field to first and brought DeLeon into the game to play left.

DeLeon hadn’t played a position other than pitcher since entering the big leagues in 1983. Asked how Herzog broke the news to him, DeLeon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “He said, ‘Can you play outfield?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ I didn’t mind.”

Herzog approached umpire Bob Davidson to inform him of the lineup switches. Recalled Davidson: “Whitey said he was bringing in Oquendo to pitch and he said, ‘Can I forfeit?’ ”

When catcher Steve Lake went to the mound to review the pitch signals, Oquendo told him he had three pitches: fastball, slider and split-finger. “I started chuckling,” Lake said. “Then I see that he’s dead serious.”

Ken Griffey Sr. led off the 16th against Oquendo and doubled. After Gerald Perry was walked intentionally, Ozzie Virgil Jr. hit a single to right. In a decision the Atlanta Constitution described as “a blunder,” third-base coach Willie Stargell sent Griffey to the plate, where Lake awaited with the ball after fielding a strong peg from right fielder Tom Brunansky. Griffey was out by 10 feet.

“I’ve got to thank Stargell because he didn’t hold the guy (at third),” Herzog said. “The game should have been over then.”

Mix and match

As the game moved along through the 17th and 18th, Herzog continually shifted DeLeon and Brunansky in an effort “to put DeLeon where the batter was least likely to hit the pitch,” according to the Constitution. DeLeon and Brunansky switched spots in right field and left field 11 times.

Still, DeLeon had two fly balls hit to him and he caught both. “I was a little nervous,” DeLeon said. “My knees were shaking.”

In the 18th, with Cardinals runners on first and third, none out, Lake grounded out to third. After Luis Alicea walked, loading the bases, Walker hit a broken-bat liner that was caught by shortstop Andres Thomas and resulted in a double play when Brunansky was unable to get back to the bag at third.

“I didn’t get the job done,” said Walker. “All I had to do was hit a fly ball to end the game.”

Said Herzog: “We should have won in the 18th.”

The Cardinals stranded 21 base runners in the game.

Staying alive

In the 19th, Griffey hit a two-run double against Oquendo with two outs. Rick Mahler retired the Cardinals in order in the bottom half, completing eight scoreless innings of relief and sealing a 7-5 Braves victory. Mahler “pitched the best he has in three years,” said Braves manager Chuck Tanner.

Oquendo finished with a pitching line of four innings, four hits, two runs, six walks and one strikeout. “He threw a lot of sliders and a lot of split-fingers,” said Lake. “I never knew where his fastball was going. I didn’t know if he was going to drop down (sidearm) or throw overhand.”

Oquendo became the first non-pitcher to receive a decision since outfielder Rocky Colavito won a relief stint for the Yankees against the Tigers in 1968.

“I’m glad I got a chance to pitch and I’m glad nobody got hurt,” Oquendo said.

Said Braves slugger Dale Murphy, who was hitless in seven at-bats: “It wouldn’t have looked very good if we had lost. It didn’t look too good anyway, but we won.” Boxscore

Herzog said utility player Tom Lawless would have relieved Oquendo if the game had gone to a 20th inning. “That would have been brutal,” said Lawless. “I’d already thrown batting practice.”

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