May 19, 1979: Pirates Blank Cubs in Jim Rooker’s First Start of Season

Lefty Jim Rooker made his first start of the season a good one, going eight and a third shutout innings in a 3-0 shutout in Chicago.  He and two relievers combined to allow just three hits.

Rooker started the season on the disabled list with an unknown injury.*  He didn’t show any lingering effects, though, retiring twelve straight after Ivan De Jesus led off the bottom of the first with a single.  The Cubs finally got another runner when Rooker walked Dave Kingman to start the bottom of the fifth, but a double play immediately wiped out that threat.  Rooker set down the side in order in the sixth and seventh, then got another double play when Kingman started the eighth with a single.

The Pirates’ offense didn’t have a big day, either, but they got a quick lead when Dave Parker hit his sixth home run with two out in the first off Mike Krukow.  After that, nothing much happened until the eighth.  Krukow started the inning by walking Dale Berra, who was still filling in at short for Tim Foli.  After a Rooker sacrifice, Krukow also walked Omar Moreno.  John Milner singled in one run and a wild pitch brought in another, making it 3-0.

After breezing through eight innings, Rooker finally ran into some trouble with one out in the ninth.  Sizemore beat out a bunt and Rooker walked Sam Mejia.  That brought in Enrique Romo, who walked Bobby Murcer to load the bases, then got Mike Vail on a popup.  With the left-handed Bill Buckner up, Chuck Tanner went with Grant Jackson, who got Buckner to ground out.

Jackson picked up his fifth save.  The Pirates had only seven hits, with Phil Garner the only player getting two.  The win was the team’s fourth in a row and left them tied with the Cubs for fourth place.

*Rooker stated after he retired that he was not hurt and didn’t know why he was put on the DL.

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