“DIARY OF A WINNER”
THE CURSE OF
THE BAMBINO, PART 9
August 16, 1986 ... Detroit's 12-6 victory over the first-place Red Sox featured 30 hits, eight walks, five Tigers tossed out on the base paths, a pinch-hit grand slam by Larry Herndon, and six hurlers.
The 34,806 who opted for the Fenway frolic would have preferred a different outcome, but still got their money's worth. And it should soothe the New England mind to learn that the Yankees also lost, keeping the Townies four games on top with 46 to play.
The pitching matchup was enticing. Boston started Oil Can Boyd, while the Tigers went with ace Jack Morris, the man who could snatch the Cy Young trophy from Roger Clemens. It was a duel of two very good pitchers who failed to make the American League All-Star team.
Morris blanked the Red Sox on three hits last Monday and was pitching his second "crucial" game in six days. Boyd, meanwhile, went to the hill looking for his first victory since July 8th. He's still looking.
Morris (15-7) got the win even though he yielded nine hits and six runs in seven innings. It was the first time the '86 Sox have lost when scoring more than five runs.
Boyd, Sammy Stewart, Joe Sambito and Bob Stanley served more meatballs than any North End restaurant of your choice as the Tigers amassed their highest hit total in eight years (23 vs. Texas, July 7, 1978). The Tigers looked like kids at an arcade stuffing quarters into pinball machines and watching the scoreboard dance. Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson, who bat 1-2-3 in the order, slapped eight hits, scored nine runs and knocked in four. Every spot but one in the Detroit batting order had at least two hits. The Tigers batted around twice. The 2-3-4 spots in Detroit's order knocked in 10 of the dirty dozen runs.
Boyd (11-9, 4.00 ERA) was the first pitcher pulverized by the potent Motown gang. The Can lasted a season-low four innings and would have been gone sooner if the Tigers hadn't run the bases like the sons of Bonehead Merkle.
The Tigers scored two runs on three hits in the first inning and kept pounding the Can in the second, but ran themselves out of the inning. Dave Collins (three hits) led with a single to right, but was thrown out stealing on the next pitch. Then Chet Lemon cracked a single to left, tried to go to second, and was erased by Jim Rice.
With one out in the third, Alan Trammell (three hits, three runs, two RBIs) reached on a infield hit and moved to third when Kirk Gibson grounded a single past the flopping Bill Buckner. Johnny Grubb followed with a line single to center scoring Trammell. Grubb was thrown out stealing to end the third, and Collins was again wiped out stealing in the scoreless fourth
Boston's first answer was a takin'-it-to-the-streets home run by Dwight Evans. Evans' 17th homer came with one out and nobody on in the second, and easily cleared the screen in left. In the fourth, the Red Sox did what no team has done since June 25th. They scored more than one run in an inning against Mr. Morris.
Rice led with a single off the Wall and Evans drew a one-out walk. With two outs, Tony Armas reached for an outside pitch and slapped it down the right-field line. In a rare display of heads-up spectating, none of the fans down the line tried to snatch the rolling baseball. By the time Gibson corralled the ball and fired toward home, Rice and Evans had scored and Armas had his third triple of the season. It was 3-3.
The Can was KO'd in the fifth as the Sox fell behind for good. The immortal Dwight Lowry led with a sharp single to right and took third on a double to right-center by Whitaker. McNamara came out with the hook. Stewart came on for Boyd, and Trammell slapped Stewart's fourth pitch straight up the middle (between Stewart's legs) for a two-run single. The Tigers led, 5-3.
Gibson was next and he hit a hard grounder between Buckner's legs (croquet, anyone?) into right. Grubb walked to load the bases. At that point, the Red Sox had retired only eight of Detroit's first 23 hitters (not counting the four erased at second base).
Stewart got the next three batters in order (including a Coles sacrifice fly), but the Sox trailed, 7-3.
The Red Sox struck back with two more runs in the sixth, when Armas hit a two-run single to center.
Any hopes of a Sox comeback were dashed when Herndon hit his pinch-hit grand slam n the eighth. Pitching in relief of Stewart, who had loaded the bases, Sambito walked Gibson on a 3-2 pitch to give Detroit an 8-5 lead. Herndon batted for Grubb and hit Sambito's first pitch into the screen. It was Herndon's first Fenway homer and the first grand slam of his 12-year major league career.
Baylor took Morris over the wall with a lead-off shot in the bottom of the eighth. Anderson summoned Hernandez, and the 1984 MVP retired six straight Sox to put an end to the madcap matinee.
Tony Armas had a single, double, triple and four RBIs. He's knocked in 11 runs in his last five games. Armas had a shot at the cycle when he batted in the eighth, but he popped to the infield.
Dwight Evans' homer off Jack Morris was his second off Morris this year. Evans homered on the first pitch of the 1986 season in Detroit April 7th. The homer gave Evans 693 career extra- base hits, tying him (with Bobby Doerr) for fourth on the Sox career list. Evans has a slight injury in his right thigh and was replaced by Kevin Romine in the ninth, but said he'll be able to play today.
Jim Rice picked up his 14th assist in the second when he gunned down Chet Lemon, who was trying to stretch a single. Rice ranks second to Toronto's Jesse Barfield, who leads the AL outfielders with 15 assists.
Don Baylor's eighth-inning homer was his first at Fenway since June 4. He's hit five homers against the Tigers this year, three off Jack Morris. Detroit's ace has given up 28 homers this year.
In six appearances since coming off the disabled list, Sammy Stewart has yielded 14 hits, 11 walks and 11 earned runs in 12.1 innings (8.02 ERA)
Twenty-one hits was the most allowed by the Red Sox this season.