June 8, 1979: Eighth-Inning Bombs Give Pirates 3-2 Win Over Giants

Back-to-back, eighth-inning home runs by Willie Stargell and Dave Parker gave the Pirates all their offense as they edged San Francisco, 3-2.

The Pirates got a good start from Don Robinson, who missed his last start when he couldn’t get loose before the game.  Robinson allowed one run over six innings on five hits and no walks.  The only run came on a two-out, Willie McCovey double in the first.  It drove in Billy North, whom Robinson had picked off second only to make a bad throw.  Worse than that, the Pirates lost Tim Foli to a minor injury two batters into the game, with Dale Berra taking over at short.

The Pirates had a good chance to tie the game in the bottom of the first.  Omar Moreno got to third with one out on a single, his 22nd steal and a wild pitch.  Parker then walked to put runners on the corners, but the Cobra got thrown out stealing with Moreno holding.  Bill Robinson then struck out.

Both Don Robinson and Giants’ starter John Curtis stayed sharp through six, keeping the score 1-0.  The Giants got two runners as far as second in the second through the sixth, the Pirates none.

Robinson left for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth and Enrique Romo threw a scoreless seventh.  In the bottom half, the Pirates got two hits but couldn’t score.  Romo then gave up an unearned run in the top of the eighth when he botched Curtis’ sacrifice attempt following a leadoff single.  That put the runner on third and a sacrifice fly made it 2-0.

The lefty Curtis started off the bottom of the eighth well, getting the first two batters, but a string of left-handed hitters proved his undoing.  Omar Moreno singled with two out and, despite the lefty pitcher, Chuck Tanner sent Willie Stargell up to bat for Berra.  Pops responded with his 11th home run of the season, tying the game 2-2.  Giants’ manager Joe Altobelli stuck with Curtis against the left-handed Parker and the result was another dinger, Parker’s 12th, to put the Bucs up, 3-2.

With lefties McCovey and Darrell Evans due up, Tanner went with Grant Jackson.  He also went with a makeshift infield, as Foli and Berra were gone.  Phil Garner took over at short and Bill Robinson at third, with Stargell at first.  It didn’t matter, though, as Jackson got a fly out and two popups, the last from pinch hitter Bill Madlock.

Romo got the win to go 3-1.  Jackson got his seventh save.  The Pirates had only seven hits, two each by Moreno and Parker.