Over at Play That Funky Baseball, we split a double-header with the Cardinals, losing Game 2 on a three-run walkoff homer.
St. Louis 4
ST. LOUIS—I’m no fan of phony grass as you know, but the fans are blazin here and nothing’s been sweeter so far than these Astro-Card battles. You got two speedy outfits with major gap power and shaky pitching and it’s been nip and tuck and nip again from the get-go. Here it’s J.R. Richard’s third try for his first win, and he’s got a 4-0 lead and a two-hit shutout after five. Tom Underwood’s been a Houston punching bag and a Howe triple and Ed Herrmann sac fly knock him out in the 6th down 6-0.
Then the 7th rolls around and J.R. gets tired for no special reason. A Hernandez walk, Simmons single, Scott double and single by Tyson fill-in Mike Phillips gets two runs back. Richard bears down, has an easy 8th, but loses it again in the 9th. McBride leads with a single and Reitz whiffs, but Scott walks and Phiilips gets hit. In comes Joe Sambito, and up walks dangerous ringer Roger Freed to pinch hit with the bases juiced.
Freed lofts one out to Cruz in right. Cruz drops the ball, two runs race in, it’s 6-4 and the ‘Stros are seeing red. Then Brock walks to reload the bases. Templeton rips one back to the mound, which Sambito nabs and fires home to get the sliding Phillips. Two outs. Keith Hernandez now, sporting a card with a mine field of clutch. Keith skies out to right and J.R. finally wins one.
St. Louis 4
I stick around for yet another beauty on Saturday. Mark Lemongello starts for Houston and gets out of a crapload of jams. but Phillips knocks one in with a 4th inning single. Bob Forsch, brother of Ken in the opposing bullpen, has his light saber out this time, and has given up just three singles through five. Problem is that the fourth one is by Cedeno leading off the 6th, who rips off second right away and scores on a two-out single by Puhl to tie the game.
Now it’s the Jelloman’s turn. Mark gives up a Simmons single, then gets the next eleven Cards in a row to bring up Scott with two outs in the 9th. Seems like we’re going extras. But Scott pings a single. Phillips does too. And here’s that many Freed again. Sambito’s available but Lemongello is tough on righties and Rogers bashes both kinds of arms. So here’s Jello’s windup, here’s the pitch…
…and it’s high and deep and into the upper deck for a 3-run Clydesdale trot-off! Oddly enough, the season series is now tied 3-3.