August 11, 1979: Pirates Come Back From 8-0 Deficit to Beat Phillies

In probably their wildest win of the season, the Pirates beat Philadelphia, 14-11, after falling behind 8-0 early.  The Bucs pounded out 23 hits, with six players getting at least three apiece and Ed Ott picking up four, plus five RBIs.  The win kept the Pirates ahead of Montreal by a game and a half.

Jim Rooker has been struggling lately and this game was no exception.  He lasted only two and a third innings, giving up seven runs, five earned.  Rooker gave up two doubles and a triple in the bottom of the second, which put the Phillies up 2-0.  In the third, he walked the leadoff batter and Greg Luzinski then belted a two-run home run.  Three of the next four batters reached, one on an error by Omar Moreno in center.

Joe Coleman replaced Rooker with three runs in and two on.  A wild pitch, double and single led to three more runs, two of them charged to Rooker.  That left the score 8-0.

In the fifth, the Pirates started coming back against Phillies’ starter Dickie Noles.  All the action came with two out.  Moreno started things with his seventh home run of the year.  After Tim Foli and Dave Parker both reached, Willie Stargell singled in a run to knock out Noles.  With lefty Kevin Saucier on the mound, John Milner singled, Bill Madlock doubled and Ott singled, each driving in a run to make the score 8-5.  Rawly Eastwick had to replace Saucier and get the third out.

Coleman kept the Phillies off the board in the fourth and fifth, and Enrique Romo did the same in the sixth.  That set the stage for another two-out rally in the top of the seventh.

Parker led off the inning with his 20th home run of the year to narrow the score to 8-6.  The next two batters were retired, but Madlock and Ott both singled, and Phil Garner doubled them home to tie the game.  With left-handed Mike Easler batting for Romo, the Phillies brought in lefty Tug McGraw, but Easler singled to drive in Garner.  The Pirates had their first lead, 9-8.

In the top of the eighth, two-out lightning struck again.  With nobody on, Willie Stargell singled and John Milner doubled him to third.  Phillies’ manager Danny Ozark, apparently unaware of McGraw’s career splits, had him walk Madlock to get to the left-handed Ott.  The result was a grand slam, Ott’s sixth home run of the year, to put the Pirates up, 13-8.

Kent Tekulve meanwhile was holding the Phillies in check, throwing scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.  In the top of the ninth, Stargell singled in Moreno with, of course, two outs.  That made it 14-8.

Teke ran into some trouble in his third inning.  The Phillies started the bottom of the ninth with two singles and a Bake McBride, two-run double.  After one out, Greg Gross drove in McBride.  Teke walked Pete Rose, but got the next two hitters to end the game.

Romo got the win, leaving him 9-3.  Teke got his 22nd save.  Apart from Ott’s four hits, Moreno, Foli, Pops, Milner and Madlock each had three.