June 20, 1979: Pirates Top Giants for Fifth Straight Win

The Pirates got a big early lead and then scored three late runs to pick up an 8-5 win over San Francisco.  The win was their fifth straight to end a west coast trip that started with three losses in San Diego.

The last time the Pirates saw Vida Blue, he got a complete game win.  He had a considerably shorter outing this time.  Back-to-back bombs by Bill Robinson and Lee Lacy produced four runs in the first; Omar Moreno and Tim Foli had singled before Robinson’s blast.  The longballs were Robinson’s 15th of the year and Lacy’s second.

The Giants got one back in the bottom half on a walk, a steal, a wild throw by catcher Manny Sanguillen and a groundout.  Blue, however, departed after allowing another run in the third.  Rennie Stennett drove that one in with a bases-loaded groundout, making the score 5-1.

Jim Rooker pitched well through three innings, but ran into problems in the fourth.  Three hits and a wild pitch produced two runs.  The Giants tied the game in the sixth when Mike Ivie doubled and Bill Madlock singled, then Madlock came all the way around on errors by Sanguillen and Rooker.

Rooker was still on at the start of the seventh, but left for Enrique Romo after a leadoff single and a sacrifice.  Romo gave up a single to Bill North and, with pinch runner Max Venable holding at third, the Pirates cut off the throw home to try to get North at second.  Venable broke off third and the Pirates caught him for the second out.  Grant Jackson then came on to get the last out of the inning, keeping the game tied at 5-5.

The Pirates hadn’t been getting anywhere with the Giants’ bullpen after Blue left, but they finally got to Gary Lavelle in the top of the eighth when Rennie Stennett tripled and Sanguillen hit a sacrifice fly.  They got two more in the ninth, one on a sacrifice fly by Lee Lacy and the other on a balk.

Kent Tekulve meanwhile stopped the Giants in the eighth and ninth, allowing just one runner.  Jackson got credit for the win to go 4-0.  Teke got his ninth save.  A Cards’ loss put the Pirates in second place, half a game ahead of St. Louis and Philadelphia, and four and a half behind Montreal.  The Bucs have tomorrow off as they head home to face the Cubs.