Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 1982: Bob Forsch and Company Take game One of The NLCS

On October 7, 1982, the Cardinals won the first game of the NLCS by the score of 7-0 over the Braves at Busch. Bob Forsch started and finished the game for the Birds.He didn't allow a walk, and the Braves were able to scratch out only 3 hits against the Cardinals hurler. The Braves sent Pascual Perez to the mound and their starter gave up 7 of the 13 hits the Cardinals picked up on the day. The Birds scored their first run in the third. Willie McGee led the inning off with a scorcher down the first base line that the speedy McGee turned into a triple. One newspaper described it like this; It was an ordinary double for ordinary mortals, a triple for the supersonic McGee. But then the baseball hit the fence in foul territory and rebounded smartly past the startled rightfielder Claudell Washington. The outfielder gave chase, but the ball rolled almost to dead right center. McGee might have been able to score an inside-the-park home run if he realized what was going on with the fielder behind him. The Cardinals third base coach, Chuck Hiller was waving his arms frantically and tried screaming over the 53,008 fans in an effort to let McGee know he could turn the corner and head home. It would have been an uncontested inside-the-parker. While McGee missed out on his chance to score with the inside-the-park blast, he came into scored one batter later when Ozzie Smith sacrificed him in with a flyball to center. The score was 1-0 after one inning, it would stay the same until a Cardinal singles parade in the sixth. Lonnie Smith began the inning with a check swing single, the Braves first baseman had to come off the bag to retrieve the ball, then Perez had to run to the bag to get the force. In his haste, Perez dropped the ball, it was a gift single for Smith. Keith Hernandez and George Hendrick followed Smith with back-to-back singles that brought Smith into score. Hendrick was the last batter that Perez would face, the Braves manager Joe Torre called on Steve Bedrosian to take over on the hill and the Cardinals bats were ready and waiting. Bedrosian walked the bases full with a  free pass to Darrell Porter, then McGee drove in Hernandez with a broken bat flare to center. Ozzie Smith kept the line moving with a single that brought Hendrick into score. Then Forsch added another run to the total with a sacrifice that scored Porter. The Cardinals capped off the 5 run frame with what should have been an easy out of Ken Obkerfell at first, Bedrosian was slow to react to what was a routine grounder to the Braves first baseman, so Chambliss had to try and get the out himself at the bag, he slipped and fell and Obkerfell made it to the bag safely while McGee came across the dish. Bedrosian was replaced by Donnie Miller following the debacle at first, he was the third Braves pitcher in the inning. Miller was able to put the fire out but the Birds had a decisive 6-0 lead after the blowup inning. They added their seventh run of the ballgame in the eighth on a sac fly by Lonnie Smith that scored Forsch. The Cardinals starter absolutely dominated the game, while the offense came up big all he needed was that first inning run. Forsch struck out 6, he never found himself in a jam, his three hits, all singles, came in the third, fifth, and sixth innings. When asked about Forsch after the game Joe Torre said "He's a gutty pitcher. He doesn't have the fastball he once had but he moves the ball around real well and keeps hitters off balance." It's safe to say those Braves batters were off balance on that day in '82.

Here's the box score:

Sidenote: Just one day earlier the game was postponed after 4 1/2 innings because of rain, Atlanta was leading that contest 1-0 before it was called. The Cardinals won this series with a three game sweep. It's hard to say, but the postponed game might have been a blessing in disguise as the Cardinals were on the way to their first title since 1967.

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