September 6, 1979: Pirates Drop Game to Cards, Lead Down to One Game

The Pirates’ pitchers got hit around early and the team lost an 8-6 decision to St. Louis.  The loss cut the Bucs’ lead in the NL East to one game over Montreal, which won for the tenth straight time.  The Expos have two fewer losses than the Bucs.

Since joining the rotation in early July, Jim Bibby has been arguably the Pirates’ best starter, with a 2,54 ERA in 11 starts.  In this game, he lasted only two batters into the third inning.

The Pirates jumped on top with three runs in the top of the third off St. Louis starter Silvio Martinez, who’s having a strong season of his own.  After John Milner walked and took third on a Bill Madlock single, a passed ball scored Milner and Ed Ott singled in Madlock.  Ott made it to third on an infield hit by Bibby and a forceout, then scored on a balk.

The Cards came back with two in the second and then finished Bibby in the third.  In the second, Ken Reitz doubled in a run and then scored on a Garry Templeton single.  In the third, Bibby departed after giving up singles to the first two hitters.  Grant Jackson relieved and gave up a one-out walk to load the bases, and then a sacrifice fly and a single to let both of Bibby’s runners score.  That put St. Louis ahead, 4-3.

The Cards extended the lead to 7-3 in the fourth.  Jackson gave up a single and a hit batsman with two out.  Tony Scott doubled in one run and Phil Garner booted a Jerry Mumphrey grounder to let in a pair of unearned runs.

The Pirates got three unearned runs of their own in the top of the fifth, cutting the deficit to one.  Dave Parker led off by reaching on a Templeton error.  A single by Willie Stargell and a Milner sacrifice fly brought in one run.  A double by Madlock set up two more, one scoring on a sacrifice fly by Ott and the other on a Dale Berra single.

Martinez left for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth, but the Pirates couldn’t do anything with reliever Will McEneany, who threw four scoreless innings.  The only runner in those four innings was Omar Moreno, who singled in the ninth.  Dave Roberts allowed the Cards’ last run on a sacrifice fly by Lou Brock in the sixth.

Bibby took the loss to drop to 10-4.  Moreno stole two bases, giving him 63 on the year.

The Pirates move on to New York for three games against the Mets.  John Candelaria (13-8, 3.22 ERA), Bert Blyleven (11-5, 3.48) and Bruce Kison (10-7, 3.35) will face Craig Swan (12-11, 3.18), Kevin Kobel (6-8, 3.41) and Ray Burris (1-5, 5.35).