The Pirates' first-inning goats, Bruce Kison and Phil Garner, blamed the weather for their misplays' that helped Baltimore build a 5-0 lead en route to tis 5-4 victory in Game 1 tonight.
Undefeated this September and 4-0 in postseason play for his career, Kison was totally ineffective on the mound for the Pirates tonight. The thin righthander got only one man out before Doug DeCines' two-run homer made it 5-0.
"I take the total blame," Kison said. "It was a miseerable night to be playing."
The game-time temperature of 41 degrees left Kison chilled.
"I lost sensitivity," he said. "The ball was slick. I could't get the feel of the ball. My wrist was stiffening, too, for some reason, and so, because I couldn't throw it where I wanted to, I just had to challenge the hitters."
That challenge was lost to DeCinces, who rifled a Kison fast ball halfway up the left-field seats.
Except for second baseman Garner's throwing error, though, the Pirates might have been out of the inning without a run scoring. With the bases loaded and one out, Garner momentarily bobbled a John Lowenstein ground ball and then threw wildly, far over shortstop Tim Foli's head, in an attempt at an inning-ending double play.
Two runs scored and, after a Kison wild pitch enabled a third run to come in, DeCincees hit his home run.
"The ball was soaking wet," Garner said, explaining his error. "I had no seams. And my hands were totally numb. When I threw the ball, it was like throwing a bar of soap. I had not control of it, it just slipped out."
From 5-0 down, the Piratees moved into contention slowly, thanks mainly to the record-tying four hits of Dave Parker.
Finally it was 5-4 in the ninth when Parker made a play that brought the Pirates within a single of pulling even.
As Oriolee left-hander Mike Flanagan lifted his foot to pitch, Parker, on first with one out, took off for second base -- "a straight steal," Parker said when someone suggested he had been picked off.
At second, Parker kickeed the ball out of shortstop Mark Belanger's glove to make it safely.
"I stuck my foot in his glove," Parkeer said.
Bill Robinson's ground out moved Parker to third and with two out, bringing to the plate Willie Stargell, who had the previous at-bat had put a Flanagan slow curve into the right-field seats for a home run that made it 5-4.
"I was going out too quick after that damned good slow curve of Flanagan's" Stagel said. "I finally got one."
That was for the home run. With the game in the balance in the ninth, Flangan started Stargel with a fast ball up and in, followed by two curve balls low and outside.
Would the crafty left-hander -- "He puts you in mind of Steve Carlton," Stargel said -- come now with his "good velocity fast ball" or with "that sidearm curve"?
"I got under it," Stargel said, and the result was a game-ending popup to Belanger in short left.
"Coming in, I said the team that made the less mistakes would win, and we'd made three errors to their two." Parker said.
Parker said he complained to the umpires about the muddy outfield in the second inning because he had slipped on a wet spot in the first.
"I was soaking in water," he said.
Bill Madlock, the Pirate third base-man, said, "They outplayed us one inning, we outplayed them eight. Our pitcher just made the one mistake that beat him."
The Pirates were impressed by 23-game winner Flanagan.
"He was exceptionally tough in tight situations," said Garner, who had three hits. "He showed me a lot of courage. We had him in tough situation, but he pulled out of them."
"He wasn't out there throwing soft-balls." Stargell said.