The Pirates’ bullpen held onto a one-run lead for the final three innings as the Bucs beat Montreal, 6-5. The win puts the Pirates in a virtual tie with the Cubs for second, five and a half games behind the Expos.
The Pirates got the early lead against Spaceman Bill Lee. Omar Moreno singled to start the bottom of the first, took second on his 31st steal of the year, and scored on a hit by Tim Foli. Dave Parker followed by hitting into a double play, which was unfortunate because Bill Robinson and Lee Lacy then hit back-to-back bombs. The longballs were Robinson’s 18th and Lacy’s third.
The Bucs got a fourth run off Lee on an error in the third, then got two more off Stan Bahnsen in the fourth. Moreno drove in one and later scored on a hit by the Cobra.
Bruce Kison meanwhile got off to a great start, striking out the first five batters he faced. After that, though, he started scuffling. A pair of singles followed the last of the strikeouts and an unearned run scored on an error by Lacy in left. Kison gave up a second run on a home run by Jerry White in the fourth.
The Pirates’ runs in the fourth made the score 6-2 and Kison held it there in the fifth. In the sixth, though, he gave up a three-run dinger to Tom Hutton. That brought on Enrique Romo to finish the inning. Kison was charged with five runs, four earned, over five and a third innings. He fanned seven but gave up ten hits, leaving with the score 6-5.
Romo stayed on for the first two batters in the seventh, but after a Tony Perez infield hit, Chuck Tanner brought in Kent Tekulve. Teke quickly ended the inning by getting Gary Carter to ground into a double play.
The Pirates weren’t able to score again, but neither was Montreal. Teke had a perfect eighth, then gave up a leadoff single to ex-Buc Dave Cash in the ninth. The threat got neutralized, though, when Warren Cromartie hit into a 3-6-3 double play. Teke then fanned Tony Solaito to end it.
Tekulve’s two and two-thirds scoreless innings of relief earned him his tenth save. Kison’s record improved to 4-4. Moreno, Foli, Parker and Steve Nicosia each had two hits.
In off-field news, right-hander Rick Rhoden had shoulder surgery yesterday and is out for the season. The Pirates acquired Rhoden for lefty Jerry Reuss at the start of the season. He’s pitched in only one game this year.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.