A day after earning a walkoff win against Cubs ace reliever Bruce Sutter, the Pirates did it again with San Diego ace Rollie Fingers on the mound. A four-run, ninth inning rally gave them a 9-8 win over the Padres at TRS. The win was their sixth in a row, tying their season high winning streak.
Ed Whitson had a shaky start for the Bucs, but the defense didn’t help. Three unearned runs in the top of the second gave the Padres an early lead. With two out, third baseman Dale Berra, who’s made a habit all season of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, booted a grounder by Fred Kendall, whose name rings a bell for some reason. A single by pitcher Randy Jones and a walk loaded the bases. A single by Ozzie Smith unloaded them, with an error in right by Dave Parker letting the third run score.
The Pirates chipped away, though, scoring single runs in the second through the fourth to tie it. A two-out triple by Phil Garner preceded a double by Steve Nicosia in the second. In the third, Omar Moreno singled, stole his 20th base and scored on a single by Tim Foli. Garner scored again in the fourth, doubling and scoring on a fly ball and an error.
Things seesawed after that. A Dave Winfield solo homer put San Diego back up in the fifth, but the Pirates took the lead with two in the bottom half. Moreno walked and stole #21, then scored on another Foli single. Bill Robinson then drove Foli home with a double. The Padres tied it in the sixth after a one-out single chased Whitson. The runner scored due to a single and sacrifice fly off Enrique Romo. Whitson finished with five runs allowed, only two of them earned, on seven hits in five and a third innings.
Romo got the last two outs of the top of the sixth and Kent Tekulve replaced him for the seventh. It was Teke’s first game in six days — an eternity given his usual workload — and maybe the rust showed. The first batter he saw was Winfield, who clubbed his second longball of the day to put the Padres ahead, 6-5. After that, the game was uneventful until the ninth. Tekulve was still in and gave up a pair of runs on three hits in the top half, leaving the Bucs down, 8-5.
With John D’Acquisto on for San Diego in the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates got one-out singles from Moreno and Foli. That brought up Dave Parker, who at that point was one of just two Pirates’ starting position players without a hit. That changed in a big way, as Parker tied the game, 8-8, with a three-run blast to center, his eighth home run of the year.
After D’Acquisto retired Robinson, the Padres went with lefty Bob Shirley to face Willie Stargell, the other Pirate starter without a hit. Pops, however, singled to center, bringing on Fingers to face Phil Garner. Scrap Iron came through with his fourth hit of the game, a double that sent Stargell to third. San Diego opted to give Ed Ott a free pass to load the bases and bring up Berra. Chuck Tanner sent up Lee Lacy, though, and Lacy drew a walk to force in the winning run.
Teke got the win despite giving up three runs over three innings. That improved his record to 3-5. Garner had a single, two doubles and a triple in five times up. Foli and Moreno were pests the whole game, with Foli getting three hits, and Moreno two hits, a walk and three runs. The Pirates moved to three games over .500 for the first time on the season. They pulled to within five games of first-place Montreal.