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Tournament of Champions: Round 1, day 5

abbreviated slate today --- work travel and indolence have caused me to fall behind on my writeups; we'll get back on track tomorrow. but zubin's games are ready to go, so here they are: boxes only here, summaries after the jump.

Game 3, 1887 v 1996
Game 4, 1888 v 1987

Game 4
(1887 leads, 2 games to 1)

summary by Zubin

So far the series has been a pretty even matchup. The Browns pulled off a close but convincing win in Game 1; Game 2 went to the Cardinals relatively easily; and Game 3 was up for grabs. In that last sim, 1987 uncharacteristically made a couple of pivotal miscues: In the second Pendleton botched a grounder that allowed Silver King to score, and in the fifth a wild pitch by Tim Conroy allowed another run to score. Those plays, combined with their failure to score with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, cost 1987 the game. They lost behind John Tudor; not a good omen.

Sim Whitey has made a couple changes to his lineup today: Curt Ford will make the start in right instead of Oquendo, and Tony Pena will be behind the plate. After Elton Chamberlain's bad start in Game 2, Nat Hudson will take the ball for 1888, hoping to set Silver King up for a Game 5 clincher; grizzled Bob Forsch will try to even things up for 1987.

1888 1987
Arlie Latham, 3b Vince Coleman, lf
Yank Robinson, 2b Ozzie Smith, ss
Tip O'Neill, lf Tom Herr, 2b
Charlie Comiskey, 1b Jack Clark, 1b
Tommy McCarthy, rf Willie McGee, cf
Harry Lyons, cf Terry Pendleton, 3b
Jocko Milligan, c Curt Ford, rf
Bill White, ss Tony Pena, c
Nat Hudson, p Bob Forsch, p

Looks like a pitching duel at the outset: Both Hudson and Forsch breeze through the first two innings. The Browns threaten in the third inning, loading the bases with two outs on a single, stolen base, walk, and infield single. Comiskey, the Browns' cleanup hitter, digs in; Forsch retains his composure and gets Commey on a called third strike.

The Cardinal bats awaken in the fouth. Singles by Herr, Clark, and McGee score a run, bring Pendleton up with a chance to do more damage. He hits a line drive to left; Sim Hal Lanier waves him around, but a perfect throw by Tip O'Neill nails him at the plate. Curt Ford then singles to make it 2-0, Cardinals, but O'Neill's defense keeps the damage from being much worse.

The Browns scratch out a run in the top of the fifth. Forsch opens the bottom of the inning with a single, and one out later Ozzie singles him to second. Herr's fielder's choice leaves runners at the corners with 2 out for Clark. "The Ripper" comes through with a double the opposite way; in come Forsch and Herr. McGee then hits one back up the middle to plate Clark, and 1987 is firmly in charge at 5-1.

And they're not through. Ford reaches on an error by centerfielder Lyons leading off the sixth, and Forsch hits another single up the middle. After Coleman flies to right for the second out, Ozzie singles to score Ford. Tommy Herr then lofts one into deep center, and Lyons can't handle this one either; he drops it for his second error of the inning, allowing Forsch to score. Cards up 7-1; it's a laugher.

They eventually stretch the lead to 11-1, then allow three meaningless runs in the 9th. The final score is 11-4. Forsch goes 6 strong innings, allowing only one run; McGee collects four hits, scores two, knocks in two, and is named the player of the game. The series is even at two games each.


* * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * *

(series tied, 1-1)

summary by Zubin

So much for the theory that old-time pitchers will outhit their modern counterparts. In Game 2, Todd Stottlemyre didn't pitch well, but what his arm lacked his bat made up for. He went two for three with three RBIs. Overall 1996 had a great performance, banging out 14 hits. They only managed one extra-base hit, a double by Ozzie Smith, but 1996 still managed to chase starter Nat Hudson in the third and force Game 1 starter Silver King to pitch in relief.

The same Silver King, rested after the off day, gets the start today for 1888; his batterymate from game 1, Doc Bushong, returns as well. Alan Benes takes the mound for 1996, and Royce Clayton replaces Ozzie Smith in the lineup:

1996 1887
Royce Clayton, ss Arlie Latham, 3b
Ray Lankford, cf Bill Gleason, ss
Ron Gant, lf Tip O'Neill, lf
Brian Jordan, rf Charlie Comiskey, 1b
Gary Gaetti, 3b Bob Caruthers, rf
John Mabry, 1b Curt Welsh, cf
Tom Pagnozzi, c Yank Robinson, 2b
Luis Alicea, 2b Doc Bushong, c
Alan Benes, p Silver King, p

The Browns open the scoring in the first when O'Neill, Comiskey and Caruthers string three consecutive two-out ground ball singles together. Browns lead 1-0. They add two more in the second when Benes issues consecutive free passes to King, Arlie Latham, and Bill Gleason. O'Neill then hits a flyball to left center for a single that scores King and Latham, putting the Browns up 3-0. The Cards get one back in the bottom of the same inning: Gaetti singles, Mabry reaches on an error, and one out later Luis Alicea reaches base via the walk. After Benes whiffs for the second out, Clayton hits one to Gleason at short. Bill fields the ball, but the throw pulls Commey off the bag and everyone is safe. The Cardinals inch closer; 3-1, Browns.

The Cardinals score again the in the fourth inning, but the Browns answer immediately in the top of the fifth when O'Neill comes to the plate and mashes the first pitch for a home run, the first of the series. That makes it 4-2, Browns. Another run in the 6th restores the lead to 3 runs, at 5-2, but pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney doubles home a pair in the bottom half to cut the margin back down to 1. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Jordan singles with one out and steals second. He moves up to 3d on a flyout by Gaetti, and then with two out Mabry drives in the run with a single to left. We're tied.

Robinson singles leading off the eighth for the Browns, but Pagnozzi nails him trying to steal second. Both teams go scoreless, but Latham leads off the top of the ninth with a double to center. Gleason hits behind him, grounding to second as Latham takes third, That brings up O'Neill in an obvious IBB situation . . . . but Sim Tony elects to pitch to him, and he hits a liner the opposite way. Latham scores, and that's the ballgame; the Browns win it 6-5. The series now stands 2-1 Browns.