The 1993 Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team in a streak of 20 losing seasons. Going into play on June 27th, they were just two games below the .500 mark. The Philadelphia Phillies would go on to the World Series in 1993 and they looked like a powerhouse team from the start, going into play on the 27th with a 51-22 record. On this day though, the underdogs would come out on top with an extra inning comeback against one of the top relievers in baseball.
This game was a matchup of two left-handed pitchers having strong starts to the 1993 season, with the Pirates sending out Zane Smith to face Terry Mulholland. Both starters pitched well on this date, but neither figured into the decision. It was a Sunday afternoon at Three Rivers Stadium, with 27,824 fans in attendance.
Both pitchers started off a little shaky in the first despite pitching scoreless frames. The Phillies had two runners on in the top of first and Pirates put two runners on base in the bottom of the inning. Both sides were retired in order in the second and then the Phillies had their chances again in the third on a walk and single, but couldn’t push a run across. The Pirates had the same thing happen in the bottom of the inning, so for the first three frames, both teams were matching each other inning-for-inning.
After a scoreless fourth, the Phillies broke through in the fifth inning. With two outs, a Ruben Amaro triple scored Mickey Morandini with the first run of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Pirates saw a two-out rally nearly wasted. Carlos Garcia singled, then Jay Bell walked. Lonnie Smith followed with a single that scored Garcia just ahead of Bell getting thrown out going to third base. It was a tie game after five innings.
The Phillies pushed another across in the sixth on a walk, passed ball and a single. The run was unearned for Smith. The Pirates went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
Zane Smith worked himself into a jam in the seventh. After retiring the lead-off batter, he gave up a walk, stolen base and infield hit to put runners on the corners. Jim Leyland had seen enough at that point and brought in reliever Freddie Toliver. On his third pitch, Toliver got John Kruk to ground into an inning ending 3-6-3 double play.
The Pirates were retired in the bottom of the seventh inning in order. Ben Shelton pinch-hit for Toliver, whose final pitching line shows that he recorded two outs while facing one batter.
Blas Minor came on for the eighth and gave up a lead-off double to Pete Incaviglia. After a sacrifice bunt, Todd Pratt hit a shallow fly ball to Lloyd McClendon in right field. Incaviglia tagged up on the play, but McClendon cut him down for a double play to end the inning and keep it a 2-1 game.
In the bottom of the eighth, Carlos Garcia singled, then moved to second base on a ground out. Jeff King came through with a line drive to left field that scored Garcia and tied the game. It was later noted that Garcia (pictured above/photo credit: Tim de Frisco) injured himself running earlier in the game and only stayed in because infielder Tom Foley got injured while stretching out between innings to replace Garcia. After running the bases full speed to score the tying run, Garcia had to leave the game.
Both teams were held scoreless in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. The Pirates got a one out single from catcher Tom Prince in the ninth, but Larry Andersen struck out the other three batters in the inning, including pinch-hitters Orlando Merced and Al Martin.
Lenny Dykstra started the tenth with a double off of Stan Belinda. After a sacrifice and a walk, Incaviglia brought home Dykstra with a sacrifice fly. This half inning also included a rare stolen base from John Kruk. The Phillies were up 3-2 in the tenth and called on Mitch Williams to close out the game.
Don Slaught pinch-hit for Dave Clark to lead-off the inning. On a 2-2 pitch, Slaught launched a pitch deep to left field to tie the game. The was followed by a Jay Bell single, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a non-intentional walk, which loaded the bases for Kevin Young. He lined the first pitch he saw into right field for the walk-off 4-3 victory. The Pirates ended their ten-game homestand that day with an 8-2 record.
Here’s the boxscore and play-by-play from Baseball-Reference.
Here are links to the previous Game Rewind articles:
Pirates vs Moose, August 17, 1924