Oliver Sinks San Diego
Article taken from The Indiana Evening Gazette, August 24, 1977
Pittsburgh (AP) - There were some hitters on
that American Legion baseball team they had back in Portsmouth, Ohio.
"We didn't win every game, but only because we didn't have much pitching." Al Oliver said Tuesday night after his ninth-inning homer offset a blast minutes earlier by former American Legion teammate Gene Tenace and gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 7-6 victory over the San Diego Padres.
Another ex-member of that same Legion squad, American League All-Star Larry Hisle, of the Minnesota Twins, wasn't around for the reunion Monday night, but Tenace and Oliver made Portsmouth proud.
With Pittsburgh leading 6-5 into the ninth, the thick-shouldered Tenace smacked a fastball from Pirate reliever Rich Gossage over wall in dead center for his 15th homer.
" In Legion ball, I really wasn't a home run hitter like Al and Larry. I wasn't fully developed physically," said Tenace now a 6-foot, 190-pounder.
The Pirate crowd was still muttering about Tenace's homer when Padre reliever Rollie Fingers made his first pitch in the bottom of the ninth to leadoff hitter Oliver. Oliver jerked if down the rightfield line, and it landed in the seats a few feet inside the foul pole for his 15th homer. "When I got near home plate, Gene looked at me and said 'You dirty rascal'." said Oliver, choosing words that were far more printable than what Tenace actually said.
The homers by Oliver and Tenace weren't the only big plays in the game, which halted a three-game losing streak by the Pirates and kept them 7 1/2 games behind first-place Phildelphia in the National League East.
After the Padres scored a pair of runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead against Pirate starter Jerry Reuss, Bill Robinson hit a tying two-run homer in the Pirate fifth off San Diego starter Dave Freisleben.
In the San Diego sixth, pinchitter Merv Rettenmund gave the Padres a 5-4 lead with a run-scoring single off Reuss.
Yet Frank Taveras went to work in the Pirate eighth, helping Pittsburgh scored a pair of unearned runs without a hit.
After Duffy Dyer opened with walk, Taveras laid down a bunt along the third base line.
Padre third basemen Mike Ivie threw the ball wildy past first, allowing Dyer to score and the speedy Taveras to reach third, from where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Fernando Gonzales to give Pittsburgh a 6-5 lead.
Tenace erased that lead with his homer, thne Oliver earned the headlines with his smash. Elsewhere, the Phillies edged Atlanta 3-2, San Francisco nipped Chicago 4-3, St. Louis trimmed Los Angeles 2-1, Montreal downed Cincinnati 4-2 and Nwe York bested Houston 2-1.
Phils 3, Braves 2
If the Philadelphia Phillies haven't lost their flair of the dramatic, they should go into a slump right about now. It is one year to the day since the Phillies saw a whooping 15 1/2-game lead begin to fritter away. It dwindled down to three games before they recovered and won the National League East by nine games over the Pittsburgh Pirates. "That doesn't even come to mind. This is the first time anyone's ever asked me that question," Manager Danny Ozark said following the red-hot Phillies' 3-2 triumph over the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night. It was their sixth consecutive victory and 19th in 20 games and kept them 7 1/2 games ahead of Pittsburgh... their largest lead of the season.
Giants 4: Cubs 3
Tim Foli's run-scoring single in the 13th inning gave the Giants their first victory of the year over the Cubs after eight defeats. With one out in the 13th, Jack Clark walked and stole second and Darrell Evans also walked before Foli's soft single.
Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1
Bob Forsch pitched a threehitter in outdueling Don Sutton, and Lou Brock drove in the winning run with a secondinning single for his 2,800th career hit.
Expos 4, Reds 2
Dave Cash continued his season-long assault on Cincinnati with two hits, an RBI, and two runs scored. Cash doubled and scored in the first inning, reached on a fielder's choice and scored in the fourth, and drove in an insurance run with an infield hit in the ninth.
Mets 2, Astros 1
Lenny Randle singled home Leo Foster with the winning run in the ninth inning after the Mets tied the score in the eighth on Ed Kranepool's pinch double.