Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8, 1998: Lankford's Bad Day Turns Around In Extra Innings

On August 8, 1998, Ray Lanford struck out in his first five plate appearances before launching a two run home run to tie the game in the bottom of the eleventh at Busch. Lankford came up big again in the thirteenth with an rbi single that beat the Cubs 9-8. Lankford's 5 K's set a franchise record for strikeouts in one game but that wouldn't be how it was remembered, as he became the player of the game with his extra inning heroics. Lankford's performance overshadowed Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa who both hit home runs, Big Mac hit his 46th of the year with a solo shot in the fourth and Sosa knocked his 44th of the year as he crushed a Rich Croushore pitch to tie it up at 5 in the ninth inning. The Cubs took a 7-5 lead in the top of the eleventh on a pinch hit two run home run by Tyler Houston, then Lankford got off the hook in a big way with his big blast that tied the ballgame in the bottom of the inning. Chicago jumped back on top with an rbi single by Sosa in the top of the twelfth to give them a one run lead, then Eli Marrero got that run right back in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot that kept the seesaw battle alive. The Cubs skipper Jim Riggleman sent Dave Stevens to pitch the bottom of the thirteenth and Stevens walked second baseman Pat Kelly to lead off the inning, Kelly stole second then moved over to third after Brian Jordan singled. Stevens then walked Big Mac to get to Lankford who made him pay with a single up the middle to win it. It had to be one helluva of a rollercoaster ride for Lankford and everyone involved. Both managers expressed exasperation after the game. The Cards skipper Tony LaRussa said "I've never seen anything like it.",while Jim Rigglemen would say "It's one of the greatest games I've ever been associated with, they thought they had it and we came back. We thought we had it and they came back."

Here's the box score:

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