July 5, 1979: Pirates Blanked in St. Louis Finale

The Pirates couldn’t get on the board against St. Louis, losing 2-0.  The loss cost them a chance for a four-game sweep on the road.

Starter Jim Rooker pitched well, but the Cards got to him for a pair in the first.  Keith Hernandez had an RBI double and George Hendrick brought him in with a single.  Rooker was very tough after that, allowing just one hit and two walks over the next five innings.  Two of those runners were wiped out by a double play and a caught stealing.  After Rooker left for a pinch hitter, Enrique Romo was just as effective, retiring six straight in the seventh and eighth.

The Pirates didn’t lack for opportunities against Cards’ starter John Fulgham.  They had nine hits, three by Bill Madlock and two by Ed Ott.  They got two on with nobody out in the second, but a line drive double play foiled that chance.  In the fifth, Phil Garner led off with a single and stole second.  Rooker, however, was thrown out at first on a bunt and Garner was then caught trying to go to third.  Sadly, Omar Moreno followed the double play with a triple, but he was stranded.

The Bucs’ best chance came in the ninth.  With one out, Madlock singled and Ott doubled him to third.  Garner, though, struck out and pinch hitter John Milner lined out to end it.

The loss dropped Rooker to 2-3.  It dropped the Bucs into a second-place tie with the Cubs, who beat Montreal.  Both trail the Expos by five and a half.  The Pirates now move on to Cincinnati for three games.

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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