August 8, 1979: Pirates Win in Ten, Extend Division Lead

by Wilbur Miller

The Pirates beat the Cubs, 5-2, in ten innings.  With the Expos losing, the Pirates extended their lead in the NL East to a season-high game and a half.

Jim Bibby pitched a strong seven innings, but the bullpen failed to hold a one-run, ninth-inning lead.  Bibby allowed just three hits.  The only run off him came on a home run by the very first batter he faced, Ivan DeJesus.  Thanks to a double play later in the inning, Bibby faced only twelve batters from the home run through the end of the fourth.

Bibby stranded a pair of runners each in the fifth and sixth, then had a perfect seventh.  He left after walking the leadoff hitter in the eighth.  Chuck Tanner brought in Enrique Romo to get the next two batters in the eighth, then Grant Jackson ended the inning by retiring the left-handed Bill Buckner.

The Pirates meanwhile got all their offense from the longball.  They didn’t get on the board until the top of the fifth, when Bill Madlock led off against Lynn McGlothen with his tenth home run of the season, tying the game, 1-1.  In the seventh, John Milner led off with his 14th home run, putting the Bucs up, 2-1.  It was Milner’s third bomb in the last four games.

The score stayed 2-1 into the bottom of the ninth.  Kent Tekulve came on to lock it down, but gave up the tying run.  It could have been worse.  A one-out walk and two singles tied the game.  Steve Dillard then hit the Cubs’ third straight single, but left fielder Bill Robinson, in the game for defense, threw Steve Ontiveros out at home.

The Pirates took control quickly in the tenth against reliever Dick Tidrow.  Rennie Stennett started the inning with a single, then Ed Ott beat out what was intended as a sacrifice bunt.  That brought up Phil Garner, who smashed his eighth home run of the year to make it 5-2.

Teke had more trouble in the bottom of the tenth.  He got two outs, then gave up a pair of singles.  He got Ontiveros, though, to line out to end the game.  The win moved Teke to 6-6 despite the blown save.