Carney Lansford's single provides a walk-off win
May 15, 1981
... Through a half-dozen squalls and an hour's
delay, the Sox battled back from a 3-0 deficit with Dwight Evans and
Carl Yastrzemski homers, held on thanks to another brilliant
performance by the bullpen (in this case Mr. Clear) and, with a two
out, bottom-of-the-ninth rally culminated by Carney Lansford's
bases-loaded single, beat the Royals, 4-3, before 22,943, their ninth
victory in 11 games.
There was so much that demonstrates what has happened:
Lansford's clutch single and two superb defensive plays; the three hits and
diving ninth-inning stop by Jerry (.347) Remy; Evans' 8th homer, 24th walk and
perfect sacrifice bunt; Yastrzemski's 421st homer, his first into the screen
since 1976 and Mark Fidrych; Clear's second win to go with two saves in four
appearances with 3 1/ 3 innings of one-scratch-hit, three-strikeout relief; and,
unnoticed in the box score, Tony Perez's battling loser Renie Martin from an 0-2
count to a walk to load the bases for Lansford.
At one point in this game it
looked as if it would be a struggle to ever get five innings in, what with dire
predictions of 12 hours of rain at 10:15 p.m. At that point, Frank White and
Willie Mays Aikens homers off Steve Crawford had given Richie Gale the 3-0 lead,
a lead that was kept that close because Crawford was able to get U.L. Washington
and Willie Wilson with runners at second and third, one out in the fourth.
But in the fifth, Remy, who
began three attempted rallies with hits, including his third perfect drag bunt
in three games, and lined out hard twice, singled with one out. Evans, aiming to
be the first MVP not to make the All- Star ballot since Fred Lynn in 1975, then
jacked a tremendous homer over the screen. Next, Yaz drove a Gale fastball to
left, into the wind and into the screen. That gave him his second homer in three
games, the club back-to-back homers in consecutive games and six in two games.
Crawford had pitched well, but
when he walked Cesar Geronimo with one out in the sixth, Ralph Houk came out and
got him. From December on, Ralph Houk talked about the bullpen, and here we are
30 (16-14) games into the season and the starters have five complete games and
gone into the eighth only seven times (with a 7-12 record), while the bullpen is
Clear had Geronimo on third
when he got the final out of the sixth, then had Hal McRae on second when he
struck out Aikens and Amos Otis to end the seventh. Otherwise, the one hit was
John Wathan's 38-foot dribbler, and except for the fact that Remy had to charge
Wilson's hopper and dive for Aikens' grounder, he breezed.
It was telling about the fall
of one Dan Quisenberry that he sat as the bottom of the ninth proceeded. Martin
had two outs, none on, too, when he gave Yastrzemski his respect and walked him.
With Jamie Quirk on the line, Jim Rice singled past him, and after going 0-and-
2, the remarkable Perez kept fighting and fighting, sending one ball foul by
feet to right, lining one foul past third, and finally getting a walk. Which
brought up Lansford. He took one slider up and over the plate and got the same
pitch again. He drilled it into right field for the walk-off win.