April 15, 1979: Pirates Miss Chance to Sweep Cards

The Pirates had a chance for a four-game sweep of St. Louis, but a bullpen meltdown let the chance slip.  The Cards won, 9-4, in ten innings.

The game started off well.  In the bottom of the first, Phil Garner walked and went to third on a single by Dave Parker.  A wild pitch scored Garner and put the Cobra on second, from where he scored on a double by Bill Robinson.

John Candelaria made the two runs stand up for five innings.  He allowed just three hits and two walks, while fanning five.  The only run against him was unearned.  A Frank Taveras error helped the Cards load the bases with nobody out, but the Candy Man got a double play grounder that scored the only run.

Candelaria gave way to Enrique Romo in the sixth.  Romo got away with a leadoff double by striking out Dane Iorg and Ken Oberkfell to end the inning.  The Pirates made it 3-1 in the bottom of the inning when an Omar Moreno singled in John Milner, who’d reached on an error.  They stretched it to 4-1 in the seventh when Bill Robinson singled, went to third on two wild pitches, and scored on a hit by Rennie Stennett.

Things went south after that.  Grant Jackson had thrown a scoreless seventh.  In the eighth, though, a Garner error, a single and a two-run double by Ken Reitz made it 4-3.

With lefties Bernie Carbo leading off and Keith Hernandez due to bat fourth, Jackson stayed on for the ninth.  Carbo and Garry Templeton started the inning with singles, but Jackson got the next two hitters, including Hernandez.  A two-out single by Ted Simmons, though, tied the game.  Kent Tekulve got the last out of the top of the ninth.

The Pirates didn’t score in the ninth and the roof caved in on Teke in the tenth.  Five hits and a Robinson error led to five runs, four of them earned.  The Pirates went quickly in the bottom half and 9-4 was the final, snapping the Bucs’ three-game win streak.  Teke took his second loss.  Robinson, Moreno and Steve Nicosia each had two hits.