The Pirates started September with a bang by sweeping a doubleheader from San Francisco. Willie Stargell launched a pair of bombs and Bruce Kison allowed no earned runs over seven innings in a 5-3 win in game one. Lee Lacy and Jim Bibby keyed a 7-2 win in game two.
Kison got hit by three unearned runs in the bottom of the first in the opener. An error by Phil Garner, a single and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with two out. Mike Ivie singled in both, then Terry Whitfield doubled to score Ivie.
Kison settled in after that. He had some runners to deal with, including two each in the fourth and fifth. He made it through the seventh, allowing six hits and four walks overall.
The Pirates took a while to make any progress with Giants starter John Montefusco. A single by Omar Moreno to start the game was their only baserunner until John Milner singled with one out in the fourth. A two-out single by Mike Easler, making a rare start in right, brought in Milner to cut the gap to 3-1. It became a one-run game when Dale Berra led off the fifth with his second home run of the year. Berra was recalled with the rosters expanded and started at short in place of a dinged-up Tim Foli.
The Pirates took the lead in the sixth. Pops led off the inning with his 25th dinger. A one-out single by Easler finished Montefusco. Matt Alexander, running for Easler, stole second, went to third on an infield hit by Ed Ott, and scored on a fly ball by Berra. That made it 4-3 and Pops stretched the lead to 5-3 with yet another leadoff home run in the eighth. That gave him 26 on the year.
Kent Tekulve replaced Kison for the eighth. He got past a hit and a walk in that inning. In the ninth, Jack Clark beat out a bunt with two outs. Grant Jackson came on to face the left-handed hitting Darrell Evans. With the right-handed hitting Ivie, who’s been bedeviling Pirates pitching, on deck, Chuck Tanner didn’t want to lose Teke’s services. Tanner solved the dilemma with a double switch, moving Teke to left. Sure enough, Evans sliced a fly ball to left, but it was a routine fly and Teke brought it in.
Kison got the win to go 10-7. Jackson picked up his 13th save.
Bibby dominated the second game, going the distance while allowing only five hits and no walks, and fanning eight. It took the Pirates a bit, though, to get the offense going against Bob Knepper, who’d shut them down on August 21 in Pittsburgh.
The Giants didn’t get a runner until a one-out single and double in the bottom of the fourth. That put runners on second and third, and a sacrifice fly by Evans brought in one run. That tied the game, as Manny Sanguillen, starting at first, had doubled in Bill Madlock in the top of the inning.
The Pirates took the lead for good in the sixth. Lee Lacy and Bill Robinson started the inning with singles. A ground out by Madlock brought in one run, then an error brought in another, putting the Bucs up, 3-1.
Lacy extended the lead to 5-1 with a two-run home run. It was his fifth longball of the year.
After the Giants’ fourth-inning run, Bibby had perfect innings in the fifth and sixth. The Giants got a run in the seventh on a single, and error and another single. Bibby then set them down in order in the eighth and ninth.
The Pirates had added two more insurance runs in the ninth, leading to the 7-2 final score. Garner and Lacy drove in the runs with singles.
The win moved Bibby to 10-3. Lacy went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Moreno, Garner, Robinson and Madlock had two hits apiece.
Montreal won a single game, leaving them three and a half games behind the Bucs. The two teams still have the same number of losses, but the Pirates have seven more wins, which is odd for such a late point in the season.