“DIARY OF A WINNER”
THE CURSE OF
THE BAMBINO, PART 9
July 6, 1986 ... Tom Seaver improved his Boston record to 2-0 with seven stellar innings in a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park. He had plenty of help. Tony Armas hit his first Fenway homer; Marc Sullivan tagged a three-run homer (his first of the season); and Bob Stanley picked up his 14th save.
Seaver was the star who lit up the sky in Boston's July 4th weekend finale. He allowed only four hits and one walk while throwing a tidy 96 pitches in seven strong innings. He struck out five and left with a 4-1 lead.
Jim Presley tagged a two-run homer off Joe Sambito to cut it to 4- 3 in the eighth, but Sullivan's blast (after a lengthy foul-ball dispute) sealed it in the bottom of the eighth. Coupled with New York's loss in Chicago, the victory moved the Sox eight games ahead of the second-place Yankees and Indians.
After Seaver got the Mariners in order in the top of the first, Marty Barrett led with a single to left off lefty Mark Langston (9- 6). Barrett stole second (the 19th steal for those runnin' Red Sox) and moved to third when Wade Boggs grounded to second.
Dave Stapleton, making a rare start, struck out swinging, but remembered to run to first when he saw the ball clang off catcher Scott Bradley's glove. Bradley's throw to first took Ken Phelps off the bag and Stapleton was safe.
First-base ump Welke signaled Stapleton out. Stape screamed and McNamara bolted out of the Sox' dugout. Welke conferred with home-plate ump Vic Voltaggio, who ruled Stapleton safe. Williams tore out of his dugout and earned the first ejection of his Seattle Mariner career.
Barrett hadn't moved from third, but he coasted home on Jim Rice's single to right. Don Baylor grounded into a double play to end the strange inning.
Seaver coasted through the first four innings, allowing only two singles and one walk. Boggs saved him in the third with a great backhanded stab of a hot grounder by Presley. Boggs threw out Presley at first and kept John Moses from scoring from second.
Boston's designated Hall of Famer was victimized by an Armas miscue in the fifth. Spike Owen reached on a one-out single, then No. 9 batter Harold Reynolds dumped a single to center. Armas charged the ball, but couldn't handle a high bounce. While Armas recovered, Owen darted to third. Reynolds chugged into second, and there was no Sox infielder covering second to handle Armas' throw. Moses followed with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left and it was 1-1. With Reynolds on third, Seaver fanned Phil Bradley to end the inning.
Langston (3-0, 2.05 lifetime vs. Boston coming in) pitched four perfect innings after the first. Rey Quinones broke the string, drawing a leadoff walk in the sixth.
Barrett failed on two bunt attempts then grounded a 1-and-2 pitch through the hole into left for a single. Boggs (0 for 12 lifetime vs. Langston) bunted the first pitch slowly toward the mound. Langston charged, fielded the ball, and threw to third too late to get the sliding Quinones. Bases loaded. After Stapleton flied to shallow left, Rice walked on four pitches and it was 2-1. (Is it our imagination or is this becoming Boston's specialty?)
Baylor followed with a hot grounder to Presley at third. It was a perfect double-play opportunity, but Presley booted the ball and everybody was safe. 3-1. Dwight Evans grounded to short for an inning-ending double play. The Red Sox had scored two runs with one hit.
Seaver stormed through the seventh. Throwing only eight pitches, he got Dave Henderson on a weak fly to left, sandwiched between a couple of weak grounders. That was it for Townie Tom Terrific.
The eventual winning run crossed home in the bottom of the seventh when Armas drilled a Langston meatball off the light tower in left.
Sambito came on for Seaver in the eighth and quickly put the Mariners back in it. After Phil Bradley's two-out bloop single to right (accompanied by a Barrett throwing error that moved him to third), Presley drove a Sambito pitch into the net to cut the Boston margin to 4-3. When Sambito walked Phelps, Stanley was summoned. The Steamer punched out Danny Tartabull on a 2-and-2 pitch to end the threat.
Controversy No. 2 came with two on and two out in the bottom of the eighth. Sullivan hit a towering fly down the line in left. Left fielder Bradley ran into the sparse foul area and waited for the ball to drop. A Fenway fan reached over the wall and made a great one-handed grab. Bradley screamed for fan interference, but umpires McCoy and Voltaggio insisted that the ball would have scraped the wall on the way down.
Two pitches later, Sullivan was circling the bases with a three- run homer.
The victory was the 308th of Seaver's illustrious career and tied him with the immortal Charles (Old Hoss) Radbourn for 12th-place on the all-time victory list.