July 6, 1979: Reds Edge Pirates in Ninth, 2-1

The Pirates dropped a walkoff game to Cincinnati, 2-1.  With the loss, they fell into a four-way tie for second with the Phillies, Cubs and Cards, six and a half games behind Montreal.

Bruce Kison had an outstanding start for the Bucs, allowing just four hits and a run over seven innings, while fanning seven.  He didn’t allow a baserunner until Ken Griffey led off the fourth with an infield single.  Griffey also had the Reds’ second hit, a two-out double in the sixth.  The only damage against Kison came in the seventh, when Joe Morgan led off with a home run.

The Morgan homer was the game’s only run up to that point, as the Pirates hadn’t scored off Mike LaCoss.  They didn’t get their first hit until Omar Moreno led off the fourth with a single.  Moreno went to second on a balk and third on a bunt, but got caught off third on a grounder back to the box by Dave Parker.  Moreno reached third again with one out in the sixth, when he led off with a double and moved up on a grounder, but Parker again couldn’t get him in.

The Pirates managed to tie the game in the eighth, when a grounder by Tim Foli scored Phil Garner from third.  They missed a two-out chance in the ninth when Garner flied out after two walks.

Grant Jackson had thrown a scoreless eighth for the Pirates, but he walked Morgan to start the ninth.  Chuck Tanner went to Kent Tekulve to face Johnny Bench, who bunted Morgan to second.  The Bucs walked Dan Driessen and Teke got Ray Knight on a grounder, but George Foster, batting for Paul Blair, singled to end the game.  Jackson took the loss, dropping to 4-2.

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.

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