Jim Bibby picked a good time for one of the best games of his career. The big righty fanned 11 and held the Cubs to four hits to lead the Pirates to a 6-1 win over Chicago. Montreal lost to the Phillies, giving the Pirates a two-game lead in the NL East and reducing their magic number to two.
Bibby faced only limited trouble throughout the game. The Cubs got a leadoff double and a two-out walk in the second, but Bibby got a ground out to end the threat. A one-out double and a two-out walk gave the Cubs another chance in the fifth, but Bibby fanned Bill Buckner.
The Pirates got on the board quickly against Cubs’ ace Rick Reuschel. In the bottom of the first. Omar Moreno led off with a single, stole his 75th base of the season and scored on a single by Dave Parker.
The Pirates effectively put the game on ice in the second. After a pair of walks, Tim Foli singled in a run and a second one scored on an error. The Cobra then launched his 25th home run of the season, making the score 5-0 and giving him 94 RBIs. In the sixth, Dale Berra, who’d entered as a runner for Foli, singled in a run to make it 6-0.
Bibby continued to cruise until the top of the eighth. A walk, a double and a wild pitch brought in a run for the Cubs with one out, but Bibby got a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning. A 1-2-3 ninth finished things. The win left him at 12-4.
Montreal lost its game to the Phillies, 3-2, in 11 innings. An unearned run in the 11th spoiled a strong start by the Expos’ David Palmer, who went ten and gave up just two runs, both on Mike Schmidt’s 45th home run. The Pirates now control their own destiny; they can clinch the division by winning their final two games. A combination of Pirate wins and Expo losses that equals at least two will prevent the Expos from having to play two rained-out games against Atlanta.