Jim Bibby saw a strong string of starts come to an end and a comeback fell short as the Pirates lost to the Dodgers, 7-6. The loss brought an end to the team’s six-game winning streak.
Bibby had posted an ERA of 0.77 over his previous three starts and 2.08 over his previous seven. This time he ran into trouble early.
Four singles in the first brought in a run; it would have been worse but for a line drive double play. The Dodgers got another run in the second on a double, a ground out and a squeeze bunt by pitcher Charlie Hough. The biggest blow, though, came in the third, when Gary Thomasson followed a walk and a hit batsman with a three-run home run.
The Pirates lifted Bibby for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the third and then got some two-out lightning. Tim Foli singled, Dave Parker tripled and John Milner singled to cut the gap to 5-2.
After a scoreless inning of relief by Joe Coleman, LA upped its lead against Dave Roberts. Again it was Thomasson, this time with a two-run double that upped both his RBI total and the Dodgers’ lead to five.
The Pirates came right back in the bottom of the fifth. A hit batsman and two walks loaded the bases with one out. Singles by Bill Madlock and Ed Ott brought in three runs and finished Hough’s day. Phil Garner greeted reliever Dave Patterson with a sacrifice fly that made it a one-run game, 7-6.
After that, it became a battle of the bullpens. The Pirates’ held, with Grant Jackson throwing three scoreless innings and Kent Tekulve one. The Dodgers’ ‘pen, however, held on, too.
The Bucs had a good shot in the seventh when Bill Robinson doubled with one out and took third on a single by Madlock. Patterson, however, struck out both Ott and Garner. In the eighth, Omar Moreno singled with one out but got caught stealing. A walk, single and walk loaded the bases, but reliever Bobby Castillo fanned Robinson. Ott had a one-out single in the ninth, but Castillo struck out the other three batters.
For the day, the Pirates had 14 hits and four walks, but they stranded a dozen and struck out ten times. Bibby dropped to 9-3. The Expos won, dropping the Pirates’ division lead to three games.