May 31, 1979: Foli’s Walk-Off Single in Tenth Completes Sweep of Cubs

A clutch single by Tim Foli in the tenth inning gave the Pirates a walk-off victory over Chicago, 4-3.  The win finished a three-game sweep and extended the Bucs’ win streak to five.

Bert Blyleven had a solid start, marred only by two leadoff home runs.  Larry Biittner hit one in the second to put the Cubs on top, and Bobby Murcer connected in the fourth to tie the game.

In between, the Pirates got two in the bottom of the second off Cubs’ starter Dennis Lamp.  Willie Stargell led off with a double and Ed Ott doubled one out later to drive him in.  After a second out, the Cubs walked Phil Garner to get to Blyleven, but the Dutchman foiled the strategy with a single to right, driving in Ott.

Blyleven pitched out of trouble a couple of times.  In the third, he fanned Scot Thompson with one out and a runner on third, then got Bill Buckner to ground out.  He left the bases loaded in the fifth.  He finally departed as the Pirates took the lead in the bottom of the sixth.  Mike Easler pinch hit for him with two out and Ott on second, and drew a walk.  Omar Moreno then singled to right to score Ott.  Blyleven finished with two runs allowed over six innings on seven hits and three walks.

Enrique Romo came on to protect the lead and retired the side in order in the seventh.  In the eighth, though, the Cubs got runners to first and second with one out.  Mike Vail singled to center to tie the game and put runners on the corners.  Dave Kingman came up to hit for Lamp and skied one to center, but Moreno threw Steve Dillard out at the plate to keep the game tied.

Romo departed after a one-out walk in the top of the ninth, with Grant Jackson getting the last two outs.  Lee Lacy hit for Jackson and doubled to start the bottom half.  His pinch runner, Matt Alexander, went to third on a bunt.  The Cubs then brought on Bruce Sutter, who got Tim Foli to ground out to third, with Alexander holding.  Sutter intentionally walked Dave Parker and Stargell to load the bases, and then got Bill Robinson on a grounder.

After Bruce Kison threw a scoreless tenth, Ed Ott led off the bottom half with a single and, after an out, Garner singled him to second.  Manny Sanguillen, batting for Kison, loaded the bases with an infield hit.  Sutter got Moreno to ground into a force out at the plate.  That brought up Foli for another shot at Sutter and, this time, the result was different.  Foli singled to center to win the game.

Kison got the win, making him 2-1.  Ott had three of the Pirates’ 13 hits.  The Pirates remain a game behind the third-place Cards and six behind first-place Montreal.  The Expos maintained their lead by beating the Phillies.  Philadelphia, which spent 33 days in first, has dropped four straight and seven of eight.

The Pirates have San Diego coming into TRS for three games.  Ed Whitson, John Candelaria and Kison will face Randy Jones, Gaylord Perry and Bob Owchinko.