August 20, 1979: Pirates Edge Giants on Late Passed Ball

The Pirates overcame a subpar start from Bert Blyleven to beat San Francisco, 6-5.  The bullpen threw three scoreless innings and the go-ahead run scored on a passed ball.

The Bucs got the early lead off John Montefusco in the bottom of the first.  Omar Moreno singled, moved up on his 56th steal of the year and a ground ball, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Dave Parker.

The Giants, though, came back with three in the top of the second, all after two were out.  The first run scored on an infield hit by Roger Metzger, but the big blow was a two-run double by Montefusco.

The Pirates came back three times to tie the score.  They got their own two-out runs in the bottom of the second on a two-run single by Moreno, tying the game, 3-3.  Blyleven helped with a sacrifice following singles by Ed Ott and Phil Garner.

The teams exchanged runs in the third and fifth.  The Giants went ahead in the third on three singles, the last by Darrell Evans to make it 4-3.  Willie Stargell tied the game in the bottom half with his 23rd ‘tater.

In the fifth, Jack Clark returned the favor with a blast off Blyleven.  The Pirates came right back to tie it, 5-5, on an unusual play in the bottom half.  A Tim Foli single, a Parker double and an intentional walk to Stargell loaded the bases with nobody out.  John Milner lined out to center, deep enough to bring Foli home and get Parker to third, but catcher Dennis Littlejohn, after the throw home, caught Pops trying to reach second for a rare sacrifice fly/double play.

Blyleven retired the Giants in the sixth, then departed for a pinch hitter.  He fanned eight, but gave up ten hits and five runs.

Grant Jackson took over in the seventh, but quickly got into trouble.  A walk and a double by Evans put runners on second and third to start the inning.  After a popup, the Pirates intentionally walked Bill North.  Chuck Tanner then brought in Enrique Romo to face Littlejohn.  The Giants sent up left-handed pinch hitter Terry Whitfield, but Romo fanned him and got pinch hitter Johnnie LeMaster on a fly ball.

The Pirates went down in order against Gary Lavelle in the bottom of the seventh and Romo got the Giants 1-2-3 in the eighth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Pops led off with a single.  Alberto Lois, who was called up when Jim Rooker went on the disabled list, came on to run.  A ground out moved Lois to second.  Lavelle put Bill Madlock on, then struck out Bill Robinson, who came up to bat for Ott.  Garner walked to load the bases and Lee Lacy came up to bat for Romo.  With Lacy up, a passed ball by Mike Sadek, who’d replaced Littlejohn, let Lois score.

Tanner went to Kent Tekulve for the ninth and Teke got off to a shaky start.  A single and a walk started the inning.  Teke then fanned Greg Johnston.  That brought up Sadek, who’s probably had better days.  For the 15th time on the season, Teke got a double play grounder, ending the game.

The win went to Romo, who’s now 10-3.  Teke got his 23rd save.  The Expos won their fifth straight, so the Pirates’ division lead remains two games.