It has not been a good spring for the Chicago Cubs. Their best pitcher, Rick Sutcliffe, is already 0-3 and the team is last in the East.
Things got so bad last week that Manager Jim Frey lambasted his players and chastised the media for writing bad things about his team. It also was so bad that an 8-8 tie Sunday against Pittsburgh, called after 13 innings because of darkness, was almost as good as a victory.
After Ryne Sandberg, their best player, hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Tuesday at Chicago to beat St. Louis, 3-2, things are looking considerably better. For one thing, it was their first victory at Wrigley Field and gave them a 3-7 record.
“Hopefully, this is what we need to get started,” Frey said. “We could have gone into a shell when the Cardinals tied it in the ninth. Instead, we came back and won the game.”
In the eighth inning, Sandberg tripled to ignite a two-run rally that prevented St. Louis’ John Tudor from winning his 15th regular-season game in a row. The streak didn’t end because the Cardinals’ pinch-hitter Clint Hurdle hit a two-run double with two out in the ninth to tie it.
Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog brought Pat Perry in to pitch the ninth primarily because he doesn’t walk batters. But Perry walked light-hitting Bob Dernier, who went to second on a passed ball. Todd Worrell replaced Perry, and Manny Trillo bunted. Catcher Mike Heath fielded the bunt, but his throw to third was late. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Davey Lopes grounded to short and Dernier was forced at the plate, leaving the game tied with the bases loaded.
“Worrell is a power pitcher and I was just trying to get the ball in the air and get the run in,” said Sandberg, who flied to center, allowing Trillo to score.
It was the 10th game of the young season for the Cardinals and it was Tudor’s fourth start. In none of them has he given up more than two runs. The way he is pitching, Herzog is going to pitch him every fifth day and not worry about a regular rotation.
Montreal 8, Philadelphia 2--Andre Dawson is playing out his option with the Expos. After learning that the Expos tried to trade him during the off-season, Dawson is talking about ending his 11-year career with the team.
Despite problems with his knees the last few years, Dawson is still the team’s big star. The Expos may regret it if they let him get away.
Dawson hit his fourth home run in the last four games in this game at Montreal and also had a single to pace the Expo attack.
It was the fifth loss in a row for the Phillies, who jumpedto a 2-0 lead.
Andy McGaffigan settled down after the second inning and earned his first victory. Tim Burke gave up one hit in 3 innings of relief to get the save.
Houston 3, Atlanta 2--Alan Ashby popped up with the bases loaded in the seventh inning at Atlanta, but he made up for it in the ninth by hitting a game-winning home run.
Ashby’s third home run of the season made a winner out of rookie Charles Kerfeld. The 6-foot 6-inch right-hander pitched three perfect innings to improve his record to 2-0.
In six appearances, Kerfeld has pitched 15 innings and given up just six hits and two runs, both unearned. He has walked 5 and struck out 14. In addition to his two victories, he has two saves.
Ashby hit a 2-and-2 pitch off reliever Duane Ward over the fence in right-center field. It was the third time his home run won a game for the Astros (9-4).
New York 7, Pittsburgh 1--It was rainy and cold in New York, but left-hander Bob Ojeda gave up only four hits in seven innings and the Mets completed a 5-1 home-stand.
Ray Knight hit his second home run in two games for the Mets. Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter each drove in two runs to help Ojeda.
It was the first start for Ojeda after two relief appearances. Johnny Ray had one of the hits off Ojeda to extend his streak to 10 games in a row.