Nothing was left as it was in the standings as the top teams dropped and the runner-ups were winners.
Braves 8, Giants 7 (13 innings)
San Francisco continued to make things difficult for me with their games that are seemingly always high-scoring and going into extra innings. The Braves took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the 3rd, only to see that lead down to one by the top of the 7th. Atlanta re-extended the lead to 3 runs in the top of the 9th, but in came Donnie Moore to try and notch his first save of the season in the bottom of the 9th. Now, with my older brother having been a big Angels fan and me seeing what he went through in the 1986 ALCS, I have special feelings about Moore. I mean, I know that blown save in ’86 essentially led to a whole bunch of dark things in Moore’s life, so even in the “imaginary world” of sport sims, I really want Moore to have success. So it’s a bit heart-breaking when, even in Strat-O-Land, things don’t turn out well. Bob Brenly led off reaching base on an error by Rafael Ramirez. Then Joel Youngblood homered to make it a 7-6 game. Wellman singled, moved up to second on a sacrifice, and then scored on a one-out single by Dan Gladden to tie the game. DAMN IT! To his credit, with men on 2nd & 3rd and one out, he got Manny Trillo on a shallow fly into left and then struck out Chili Davis to get the game into extra innings. Fast forward to the 13th inning and the Braves are at bat, two outs and nobody on. Bruce Benedict walks. Rick Mahler (yes, a pitcher) pinch hits and singles to keep the inning alive and Albert Hall doubles Benedict in. Jeff Dedmon throws a spotless bottom of the inning and the Braves move atop the NL West at 6-3.
Phillies 8, Astros 7
I take it personally, for some reason, when leads aren’t hold, particularly when a Hall of Fame pitcher is the one who is failing. So this game caused some agitation for me. Nolan Ryan had a 6-3 lead headed into the bottom of the 7th inning and all seemed right with the world until Von Hayes clubbed his second homer of the game off of Ryan, tying the ballgame up. Bill Dawley came out of the pen and fared no better in the 8th, allowing four straight base hits to the bottom four men in the Philadelphia order as the Phils stormed back for an 8-7 win, Larry Andersen throwing a perfect 9th for the first Philadelphia save of the season. I somehow inadvertently used their actual closer that year, Al Holland, in the 7th and 8th innings, so he picked up the win. Oops. I’ll try and make it up to Mister Holland. That .484 batting average that Von Hayes now has is pretty nice, although he is conspicuously absent from the list of top MVP vote-getters in an informal poll. The win moved Philadelphia into 1st place in the East.
Pirates 6, Padres 5 (12 innings)
An exciting one in San Diego with Pittsburgh’s Don Robinson playing the role of hero, coming out of the pen and retiring all 12 Padres he faced for the win, ending the game with a rare strike out of Tony Gwynn and also fanning veteran Steve Garvey for the 3rd out. In the top of the 12th, Marvell Wynne led off with a triple – his 4th of the year – scoring on a Johnny Ray base hit.
Mets 7, Cubs 2
Dwight Gooden (W 1-1) struck out 9 Cubs, going the distance for his first win of the year. Rick Sutcliffe (L 1-1) picked up 10 strikeouts of his own, but was smacked around in a rough 8th inning that saw New York snap a 2-2 tie behind a 5-run inning, sending 10 men to the plate. George Foster has three hits for the Mets, improving to .433 on the season.
Expos 5, Cardinals 4 (11 innings)
The Cardinals couldn’t hang on to a 4-1 lead. Having only one rested relief pitcher hurt them, particularly when combined with a starter who couldn’t get through 7 innings and a game getting into extra frames. It was a bad combination leading to Bruce Sutter allowing his first run of the season when Miguel Dilone’s pinch-hit single scored Dan Driessen from 2nd, ending the game. That’s two straight wins now for the ‘spos, who started the year 1-6.
Reds 9, Dodgers 3
It was all Cincinnati, with Eric Davis’ 3-run homer highlighting a 4-run 1st inning for the Red Legs. Two runs in the 2nd meant emergency starter Jerry Reuss collected just 4 outs in total. Things didn’t get much better from there as Mario Soto (W 2-1) picked up his second win for Cincinnati, going the distance for the win and striking out 8 Dodgers.
STANDINGS ========= NL EAST W L PCT GB STR Philadelphia Phillies 5 3 .625 - W 2 New York Mets 4 3 .571 0.5 W 1 Chicago Cubs 5 4 .556 0.5 L 1 Pittsburgh Pirates 5 5 .500 1 W 1 St. Louis Cardinals 4 5 .444 1.5 L 2 Montreal Expos 3 6 .333 2.5 W 2 NL WEST W L PCT GB STR Atlanta Braves 6 3 .667 - W 2 San Diego Padres 4 2 .667 0.5 L 1 Houston Astros 5 3 .625 0.5 L 2 San Francisco Giants 4 5 .444 2 L 2 Los Angeles Dodgers 4 7 .364 3 L 1 Cincinnati Reds 3 6 .333 3 W 1 TEAM STARS ========== BATTER PITCHER ATL Dale Murphy Craig McMurtry .382, 3 HR, 11 RBI 1-0, 2.57, 9 K CHC Gary Matthews Dennis Eckersley .313, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB 2-0, 0.53, 11 K CIN Gary Redus Mario Soto .387, 3 SB 2-1, 4.50, 18 K HOU Jose Cruz Frank DiPino .235, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB 2-0, 1 Sv, 1.35 LAD Mike Marshall Rick Honeycutt .314, 2 HR, 6 RBI 2-0, 1.20 MON Andre Dawson Steve Rogers .323, 1 HR, 6 RBI 1-0, 0.00 NYM George Foster Bruce Berenyi .433, 3 HR, 6 RBI 1-0, 0.00 PHI Von Hayes John Denny .484, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB 1-0, 0.00 PIT Marvell Wynne John Tudor .362 2-0, 0.57, 8 K SDP Tony Gwynn Goose Gossage .429, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB 1-0, 1 Sv, 0.00 SFG Jeff Leonard Frank Williams .387, 3 HR, 8 RBI 1-0, 5.00 STL Tommy Herr Bruce Sutter .324 3 Sv, 0.63, 7 K LEADERS ======= BATTING AVERAGE 1. Hayes, Von (PHI) .484 2. Foster, George (NYM) .433 3. Gwynn, Tony (SDP) .429 Washington, Claudell (ATL) .429 5. Schmidt, Mike (PHI) .400 6. Leonard, Jeff (SFG) .387 Redus, Gary (CIN) .387 8. Garner, Phil (HOU) .385 9. Murphy, Dale (ATL) .382 10. Moreland, Keith (CHC) .371 HOME RUNS 1. Cruz, Jose (HOU) 3 Durham, Leon (CHC) 3 Foster, George (NYM) 3 Leonard, Jeff (SFG) 3 Murphy, Dale (ATL) 3 Schmidt, Mike (PHI) 3 Thompson, Jason (PIT) 3 RUNS BATTED IN 1. Murphy, Dale (ATL) 11 2. Schmidt, Mike (PHI) 10 3. Hendrick, George (STL) 9 Matthews, Gary (CHC) 9 McReynolds, Kevin (SDP) 9 STOLEN BASES 1. Gladden, Dan (SFG) 6 2. Dernier, Bob (CHC) 5 Raines, Tim (MON) 5 Wiggins, Alan (SDP) 5 Wilson, Mookie (NYM) 5 EARNED RUN AVERAGE 1. Berenyi, Bruce (NYM) 0.00 Denny, John (PHI) 0.00 Dravecky, Dave (SDP) 0.00 Rogers, Steve (MON) 0.00 Whitson, Ed (SDP) 0.00 6. Eckersley, Dennis (CHC) 0.53 7. Tudor, John (PIT) 0.57 8. Sutter, Bruce (STL) 0.63 9. Honeycutt, Rick (LAD) 1.20 10. Darling, Ron (NYM) 1.50 LaPoint, Dave (STL) 1.50 Rhoden, Rick (PIT) 1.50 WINS-LOSSES 1. DiPino, Frank (HOU) 2-0 Eckersley, Dennis (CHC) 2-0 Honeycutt, Rick (LAD) 2-0 Robinson, Don (PIT) 2-0 Sambito, Joe (HOU) 2-0 Tudor, John (PIT) 2-0 STRIKEOUTS 1. Sutcliffe, Rick (CHC) 25 2. Soto, Mario (CIN) 18 Valenzuela, Fernando (LAD) 18 4. Perez, Pascual (ATL) 17 5. Gooden, Dwight (NYM) 16 SAVES 1. Smith, Lee (CHC) 3 Sutter, Bruce (STL) 3 3. Dedmon, Jeff (ATL) 2 Power, Ted (CIN) 2 Tekulve, Kent (PIT) 2 SCHEDULE ======== ATL 6-3 Camp, R (0-0, 1.80) SFG 4-5 Krukow, M (1-1, 3.21) CHC 5-4 Eckersley, D (2-0, 0.53) NYM 4-3 Fernandez, S (NR) STL 4-5 Horton, R (1-0, 0.00) MON 3-6 Lea, C (0-0, 5.54) LAD 4-7 Welch, B (0-2, 3.09) CIN 3-6 Pastore, F (0-0, 1.80)