August 10, 1979: Pirates Split Two Tight Games with Phillies

The Pirates played a pair of one-run games in Philadelphia on Friday night.  They came from behind to tie in the first game, only to lose in twelve innings, 4-3.  In the second game, a strong effort from Bruce Kison helped them to a 3-2 win.

Game one featured a rematch between the Bucs’ Bert Blyleven and the Phillies’ Steve Carlton, both of whom got banged around in a high-scoring game five days ago.  This one was a little closer to the pitchers’ duel you’d expect.

Each team got just one run through the first five innings, both coming in the second.  In the top of the inning, Phil Garner put the Pirates on the board with his ninth home run.  The Phillies tied it on a walk, a double by Manny Trillo and an infield hit by Larry Bowa.

Neither starter was challenged again until Blyleven ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth.  A leadoff hit, a triple by Pete Rose and a single by Del Unser gave the Phillies a pair of runs.

Philadelphia held the 3-1 lead until the top of the eighth, which Rennie Stennett, batting for Blyleven, led off with a single.  A strikeout and a force play later, Dave Parker drilled his 19th home run of the year to right, tying the game at 3-3.

Enrique Romo replaced Blyleven, and he and Carlton held the line through the ninth.  After the Phillies hit for Carlton in that inning, it was Kevin Saucier and Kent Tekulve for two more scoreless innings.  The closest thing to a threat came on a two-out walk to Bill Robinson in the 11th, followed by a steal and an error.  Bill Madlock, though, wasn’t able to get Robinson home.

In the 12th, the Pirates couldn’t come up with anything against Rawly Eastwick.  In the bottom of the inning, Grant Jackson allowed a leadoff single to Bake McBride.  A force out and a fly out followed, but Jackson walked Greg Luzinski and gave up a game-winning single to Bud Harrelson.  The loss dropped Jackson to 6-4 and continued a rough month of August in which he’s allowed six earned runs in three and two-thirds innings.

In game two, the Bucs got shutout pitching from Kison through seven innings.  He’d been having a rough time lately, with an ERA of 8.76 in his last three starts.  Through the seventh in this one, he gave up just two hits, although he walked five.

The Pirates didn’t do any more against Randy Lerch except in the fourth inning.  With Garner and Parker on base, Robinson tripled to put the Bucs up, 2-0.  After an out, Madlock doubled to knock Lerch out and make it 3-0.

The Bucs threatened a couple times after that.  A two-out, Parker double put runners on second and third in the fifth, but Robinson popped up.  A single and two walks loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Parker flied out.

Kison finally ran out of steam in the bottom of the eighth.  A leadoff walk and a triple by McBride ended his night.  Enrique Romo gave up a single to Greg Gross, cutting the lead to 3-2.  Another single put runners at the corners with nobody out.  Romo fanned Del Unser, then Kent Tekulve came on to face Bob Boone.  A 4-6-3 double play bailed the Pirates out of trouble.

Teke stayed on for the ninth.  He gave up a pair of two-out singles, but got McBride on a grounder to end it.  Kison got the win to go 7-6.  Teke got his 21st save.

The Expos split a doubleheader with the Mets, so the Pirates’ division lead held at a game and a half.  The Cubs lost a pair to the Cards to fall four and a half out.