THE SUMMER OF "MORGAN'S
bobble away a pair of games
29, 1988 ... The Red Sox swept the Brewers, 6-4 and 5-4, in a
double-fantasy Fenway special. Dale Sveum's error led to three
unearned Sox runs in Game 1, and Paul Molitor's eighth-inning gaffe
set up Todd Benzinger's game-winning single in the nightcap.
Morgan's heroes tonight included Jody Reed (7 for 9, .325), Greenwell (homer,
three RBIs in Game 1), Benzinger (HR, three RBIs in Game 2), Lee Smith (17th
save), and Dennis Lamp (3 2/3 shutout innings of relief in Game 2).
It does't matter that Dwight Evans (hamstring) couldn't
play either game. It doesn't matter that Jim Rice returned to the scene of the
crime with a 1-for-8 performance, including three strikeouts and a double-play
grounder. It doesn't matter that Mike Smithson gave up 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings
of Game 2. The Morgan Red Sox keep finding ways to win.
They fell behind, 3-0, in the nightcap. They scored one in
the first on Wade Boggs' sacrifice fly and added two in the third on Benzinger's
homer. Both teams scored one in the fourth, and it was 4-4 when the indomitable
Reed hit his slow grounder to third baseman Molitor with two out in the bottom
of the eighth that he bobbled and threw away. Reed took second on the wild
throw, and Benzinger stroked a smooth single to right.
Bob Stanley came on in relief of Lamp and nailed down the
save in the ninth. In his last 16 appearances, Stanley is 3-0 with three saves
and a 1.93 ERA.
Greenwell got things off to a fast start with a two-run
shot into the Sox bullpen in the first inning of Game 1. The Gator connected on
Bill Wegman's 0-1 pitch. Ellis Burks walked after the homer and cruised home
when Jeff Leonard misjudged a Benzinger fly in left. The high drive landed on
the warning track, and Benzinger was credited with a double.
The Brewers answered with a pair off Bruce Hurst (11-4) in
the third. After Burks made a great fence-crashing grab of a Joey Meyer
screecher, Sveum walked and took third on a Charlie O'Brien double to left.
Molitor scored both base-runners with a bloop single to right.
The Sox KO'd Wegman with three unearned runs in the fourth,
and again, all came with two out. Reed (four hits and a walk in Game 1) started
things with a two-out walk, then Sveum let Marty Barrett's grounder go right
under his glove. Reed took third and scored on a sharp single to right by Boggs.
Greenwell followed with a single to center, scoring Barrett to make it 5-2.
Lefty Juan Nieves replaced Wegman. Boggs had taken third on Greenwell's hit, and
he scored when Burks beat out a grounder to short.
With the Sox leading, 6-2, news of the Mike Boddicker trade
flashed on the scoreboard as Hurst came out to start the fifth. Hurst got the
Brewers in order. In the seventh, Hurst walked the leadoff man, then surrendered
a double to Greg Brock. Stanley replaced Hurst.
Meyer scored Rob Deer with a groundout to short. After
Sveum lined to short, O'Brien hit a grounder to the right side. Larry Parrish
fielded the ball, but Stanley was slow getting over and dropped Parrish's throw.
Brock scored from second, and it was 6-4.
Smith came on in the ninth and punched out Brock, Meyer and
Sveum on 18 pitches.
Thus, the torrid Sox won their 17th and 18th straight at
home and inflated Joe Morgan's record to 15-1. The Red Sox are 1 1/2 games
behind the American League East-leading Tigers and a half-game behind the
Events of the first half of the 1988 season now seem like
happenings from another epoch. The film footage of John McNamara is all grainy
black-and-white stuff. Suddenly, the Sox are playing in living color. Night
after happy night.