April 13, 1979: Milner Bombs the Cards

John Milner launched a pair of dingers to lead the Pirates to a 7-6 win over St. Louis.

Bruce Kison had a rough start, but the Pirates’ pitching depth made a difference.  Kison struck out the side in the first, but gave up three straight hits to start the second.  He compounded the problem with an error, leading to one earned and one unearned run.

The Pirates came storming back in third against Pete Vuckovich.  A Phil Garner caught stealing left nobody on with two out, but a Kison double and a single by Frank Taveras got one run in.  A single by Omar Moreno and an error by Garry Templeton led to two more, and Milner capped off the inning with a two-run shot, his first home run of the season.  That made it 5-2.

St. Louis tied it up in the top of the fourth and chased Kison.  Two singles, followed by a double by Mike Tyson (no, not that one) brought in a run.  Pinch hitter Dane Iorg then doubled in two more.  Kison departed with five runs allowed, four earned, in three and a third innings.  Jim Bibby entered and fanned Lou Brock with a runner on third and one out, then retired Templeton to end the inning.

The score stayed knotted into the bottom of the seventh, but Milner struck again.  With three lefties due up — Moreno, Dave Parker and Milner — the Cards went with lefty reliever Buddy Schultz.  The strategy failed, as Parker doubled and Milner launched his second bomb of the day.  That gave him four RBIs.

The Cards finally got to Bibby with two out in the eighth, on an RBI single by Tony Scott.  That made it 7-6 and knocked out Bibby.  He’d gone four and a third, allowing just the one run and two hits, with no walks.  Kent Tekulve gave up a single to put two on and, with lefty Bernie Carbo up to pinch hit, Chuck Tanner went with Grant Jackson.  The Cards countered with righty Roger Freed, but Jackson got him on a fly to right.

The Pirates didn’t score in the eighth and Jackson walked the leadoff batter in the ninth.  That was it, though, as Ed Ott threw out the pinch runner trying to steal, and Jackson got a strikeout and a ground out.  Bibby got his first win of the year and Jackson his first save.