September 5, 1979: Pirates Beat Cardinals in 11, 7-5

An 11th-inning error gave the Pirates a 7-5 win in the first of two games in St. Louis.  With the Expos winning their ninth straight game, the Pirates held their two-game lead in the NL East.

Except for a pair of longballs in the fourth inning, the Pirates couldn’t do anything with Cards’ starter John Denny through seven.  The two solo home runs were Phil Garner’s tenth and Willie Stargell’s 27th.  At the time, they tied the game, 2-2.

St. Louis had gotten a pair of runs off Don Robinson in the bottom of the third.  A two-out double by Tony Scott had driven in the runs.

After the Pirates’ dingers, the game stayed tied until the bottom of the fifth, when a Ted Simmons sacrifice fly plated Lou Brock.  The Pirates missed a chance to respond in the top of the sixth.  A Dave Parker double, a walk to Pops and a single by John Milner loaded the bases with nobody out.  Bill Madlock, though, hit into a 5-2-3 double play and Ed Ott struck out.

Robinson left for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh with the Pirates still trailing, 3-2.  Enrique Romo replaced him and gave up a run in the bottom of the inning on a one-out single by Brock and a double by Keith Hernandez.  The second error of the game by Dale Berra, still filling in for Tim Foli at short, let Hernandez advance to third, but Romo caught Hernandez between third and home on a comebacker and the Pirates ran him down.

Down 4-2 in the top of the eighth, the Pirates scored three runs to take the lead.  Singles by Garner and Stargell, and a walk to Milner, loaded the bases with one out and brought on Mark Littell in relief.  Madlock hit a fly to center that scored Parker, who’d forced Garner.  With Ott up, a wild pitch scored Stargell’s pinch runner, Matt Alexander.  Ott then singled in Milner.

Romo, though, couldn’t hold the lead in the bottom of the inning.  A two-out walk to Ken Oberkfell and a double by Dane Iorg tied the game, 5-5.  Grant Jackson had to finish the inning.

Roy Thomas for the Cards and Dave Roberts for the Bucs threw scoreless innings in the ninth and tenth, although Thomas had to get out of a jam in the tenth.  With two out, the Pirates loaded the bases on a single, a walk and an intentional walk, with two steals thrown in.  Thomas got Berra to ground out to end the inning.

The Pirates finally broke through in another bases-loaded, two-out situation in the top of the twelfth.  Omar Moreno doubled with one out and the Cards walked the Cobra with two outs.  Bill Robinson loaded the bases with an infield hit, bringing on lefty Darold Knowles to face Milner.  Knowles had Robinson picked off first, but threw the ball away, letting Moreno and Parker both score.

Kent Tekulve came on for the bottom of the twelfth.  He gave up a two-out double to Garry Templeton, but got Brock on a grounder to end it.  Roberts, who threw two perfect innings, got the win to even his record at 3-3.  Teke got his 26th save.