The Pirates rode a five-run sixth inning to a 7-3 win over the Cardinals at TRS. A strong relief outing by Dave Roberts also played a key role.
Don Robinson started and pitched fairly well for the Bucs. He gave up seven hits over five innings, but only two runs. The runs both came with two outs in the fourth. With Ted SImmons on first, Jerry Mumphrey and Ken Reitz hit back-to-back RBI doubles.
Through four innings, the Pirates couldn’t score against St. Louis starter John Denny. Although they had to show on offense was a walk that was wiped out by a double play and a two-out double by Dave Parker.
In the fifth, though, John Milner led off with a double and Bill Madlock got hit by a pitch. Ed Ott bunted the runners up and, on ball four to Phil Garner, a wild pitch brought Milner home. Chuck Tanner sent Mike Easler up to hit for Robinson and he came through with an RBI single to tie the game, 2-2.
Enrique Romo came out for the top of the sixth, but couldn’t retire anybody. A single, a walk and a Reitz single put the Cards back up, 3-2. With the left-handed Ken Oberkfell up, Tanner went to Roberts, who got a double play ball and then retired Denny to end the inning.
The Bucs struck back quickly. After Parker led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, Willie Stargell launched his 28th home run of the year to the opposite field, putting the Pirates up, 4-3. The Pirates kept on, adding some breathing room. The next two batters reached, and the Cards sent lefty Darold Knowles out to replace Denny with Ed Ott due up. Ott responded with a double, knocking in a run and leaving runners at second and third. Righty Roy Thomas came on to face Garner, but Scrap Iron singled to drive in both runs. The Pirates led, 7-3.
Roberts put a lid on the Cards the rest of the way, pitching the last four innings scorelessly. They threatened only in the ninth, getting two on with two out. Roberts got Lou Brock on a fly ball to end the game.
The win improved Roberts’ record to 4-3. The Pirates lost ground, though, as Montreal swept a doubleheader from the Cubs. The Expos have won four straight and 14 of their last 15. The Bucs’ lead is now half a game.