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Opening Day, Pittsburgh vs Toronto

Pittsburgh PiratesToronto Blue Jays

Fire in the North!

by "Shakey" McGuiness
Legends League correspondent




Randy johnsonTORONTO (ATL) -- Opening Day of Year Two in the ATL. The World Champion Bucs versus the Toronto Blue Jays, who had won the Legends League North Division last season. The two teams had met in the playoffs with the Bucs taking the series three games to one. In fact, the last out of that series had been recorded by today's starter for the Buccos, Randy Johnson. The Big Unit had come in to get the Japanese superstar Sadaharu Oh to ground out to Big Jawn Mize and end a last gasp rally by the Jays. But that was eons ago. There was a new team representing Canada on this day. On the mound opposite RJ was not Curt Schilling, but Mike Mussina, late of the Reds, now known as the Boston Red Sox. Stay with me here, I know your head is spinning. Mine is, anyway. Regardless of what uniforms they wore last year, both Mussina and Johnson won 15 ball games last year, good for second best in the entire league, so this figured to be a good old fashioned pitcher's duel. Except it didn't start out that way.
 
Pop Lloyd After Mussina handled Henry Kimbro easily to start the game and the season off, Big Ed Delahanty drove a liner over Fred McGriff's head, good for two bases. John Henry "Pop" Lloyd followed by singling him to third, bringing up Rajah, Rogers Hornsby. On a one and two knuckle curve that didn't knuckle or curve quite enough Raj laced a single to left, scoring Delahanty while Lloyd raced to third. The Big Cat was up next, and Mize belted a a fly to Tony Gwynn in right. Lloyd challenged his arm and won the battle, scoring the season's second run as Raj smartly took second on the throw. The newest Pirate was up next, Negro League slugger Turkey Stearnes. Turkey didn't waste any time making a favorable impression on the Pittsburgh faithfull as he grounded a basehit betwen Alomar and Crime Dog into right field. With two down Hornsby was going for it, coming in from second hard. But Gwynn had the angle, the momentum, and the arm. He delivered the ball on one hop to Santiago, Benito blocked the plate in text book fashion, and the Pirates second baseman was out on the perfectly executed play to end the frame. But the damage had been done, although it certainly could have been much worse. 2-0, Bucs.
 
Last year Randy Johnson endured a miserable first half, seemingly being battered like a double A pitcher every time he strode to the mound. But at some point it all came together for him, and he finished the season winning 9 of his last 10 decisions, and 3 of 4 in the playoffs under intense pressure. Which Johnson would take the mound on this chilly day in the Northern Lands? Johnson answered that question right off; he struck out Rickey Henderson to start the game and never looked back from there. Through the first three innings he didn't allow a hit while whiffing four Blue Jays. It was still 2-0 when Turkey Stearnes drew a one out base on balls from Mussina in the top of the fourth. Judy Johnson followed by lacing a basehit to left. Stearnes motored to third as Rickey threw to second to keep the double play in order. But Gabby Harnett foiled the strategy by singling up the middle, bringing Turkey home to roost and upping the Pirate lead to three.
 
Roberto Alomar The Jays got their first hit in the bottom of that same frame when Robbie Alomar singled to Stearnes in right, but The Unit responded by sending Gwynn, McGriff and Molitor back to the bench, all out on strikes. In all, Johnson fanned ten Jays on the day. He allowed just three hits in his eight innings, two by Alomar; the second being a long homerun which accounted for Toronto's only score of the game. The Jays did mount a rally in the ninth, when defensive replacement Billy Francis made a throwing error from third base on a Gwynn grounder and McGriff followed that with a 5 pitch walk. That brought Johnson's pitch count to 125 and he was done for the day. Flame throwing reliver Troy Percival was called upon to preserve the Johnson gem and the fragile 3-1 lead, and he did just that. Paul Molitor popped up for the first out, then Kirby Puckett's bat never left his shoulder as he was called out on strikes in four pitches. The game ended with Tony Fernandez swinging over the top of a 1-2 heater, giving Johnson and the Pirates their first win of the year, and Percival his first save. It was a pitcher's duel after all: Mussina and his replacements, Gary Lavelle and ex-Buc Duane Ward all pitched well, but this was The Unit's game all the way. The season has gotten off to a solid start here in chilly Toronto.


4/5/2005, PPL06-BJL06, Exhibition Stadium (1977-88)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP
2006 Pirates 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 2 4 1
2006 Blue Jays 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 0 6 1

Pirates AB R H BI AVG Blue Jays AB R H BI AVG
Kimbro cf 4 0 0 0 .000 Henderson lf 3 0 0 0 .000
Delahanty,E lf 3 1 1 0 .333 Alomar 2b 4 1 2 1 .500
Lloyd ss 4 1 2 0 .500 Gwynn rf 4 0 0 0 .000
Hornsby 2b 4 0 1 1 .250 McGriff 1b 3 0 0 0 .000
McDougald 2b 0 0 0 0 .000 Molitor 3b 4 0 0 0 .000
Mize 1b 3 0 0 1 .000 Puckett cf 4 0 1 0 .250
O'Neill,B 1b 0 0 0 0 .000 Fernandez,T ss 3 0 0 0 .000
Stearnes rf 3 1 1 0 .333 Santiago c 1 0 0 0 .000
Johnson,J 3b 4 0 1 0 .250 Olerud ph 1 0 0 0 .000
Francis 3b 0 0 0 0 .000 Whitt c 1 0 0 0 .000
Hartnett c 3 0 1 1 .333 Mussina p 1 0 0 0 .000
Johnson,R p 3 0 0 0 .000 Kent ph 1 0 0 0 .000
Percival p 0 0 0 0 .000 Lavelle p 0 0 0 0 .000
31 3 7 3 Bell,Ge ph 1 0 0 0 .000
Ward,D p 0 0 0 0 .000
31 1 3 1

Pirates INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA
Johnson,R W 1-0 8.0 3 1 1 3 10 123 72 1.13
Percival S 1 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 14 9 0.00
9.0 3 1 1 3 12 137 81

Blue Jays INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA
Mussina L 0-1 5.0 6 3 3 1 6 80 50 5.40
Lavelle 3.0 1 0 0 1 1 34 19 0.00
Ward,D 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 14 8 0.00
9.0 7 3 3 2 8 128 77

PPL: McDougald inserted at 2b in the 9th
O'Neill,B inserted at 1b in the 9th
Francis inserted at 3b in the 9th
BJL: Olerud batted for Santiago in the 5th
Kent batted for Mussina in the 5th
Whitt inserted at c in the 6th
Bell,Ge batted for Lavelle in the 8th

E-Johnson,R, Francis. 2B-Delahanty,E. HR-Alomar(1). K-Kimbro, Delahanty,E 2,
Lloyd, Mize, Stearnes, Johnson,R 2, Henderson, Gwynn, McGriff 2, Molitor,
Puckett 2, Fernandez,T 3, Santiago, Mussina. BB-Delahanty,E, Stearnes,
Henderson, McGriff, Fernandez,T. SF-Mize. WP-Johnson,R.
GWRBI: Hornsby
Temperature: 36, Sky: clear, Wind: in from center at 6 MPH.


Score O Rnr BS Event
----- - --- -- -----

************** Top of the 1st inning, Pirates batting
0-0 0 --- 10 Kimbro grounded out to third (BX)
0-0 1 --- 22 Delahanty,E lined a double down the right field line
(CCBBX)
0-0 1 -2- 12 Lloyd lined a single between first and second,
Delahanty,E to third (CBCX)
0-0 1 1-3 12 Hornsby lined a single to left, Delahanty,E scored, Lloyd
to third (BCCX)
1-0 1 1-3 11 Mize hit a sacrifice fly to right, Lloyd scored, Hornsby
to second (BFX)
2-0 2 -2- 10 Stearnes grounded a single between first and second,
Hornsby out at home (BX)

************** Bottom of the 1st inning, Blue Jays batting
2-0 0 --- 12 Henderson struck out (CBCS)
2-0 1 --- 22 Alomar flied out to center (BBCCX)
2-0 2 --- 32 Gwynn grounded out to short (BBSBCX)

************** Top of the 2nd inning, Pirates batting
2-0 0 --- 00 Johnson,J grounded out to short (X)
2-0 1 --- 11 Hartnett lined out to short (CBX)
2-0 2 --- 02 Johnson,R struck out (CCC)

************** Bottom of the 2nd inning, Blue Jays batting
2-0 0 --- 20 McGriff grounded out to short (BBX)
2-0 1 --- 32 Molitor grounded out to third (BCBCBX)
2-0 2 --- 00 Puckett to second on an error by the pitcher Johnson,R (X)
2-0 2 -2- 22 Fernandez,T struck out (CBSBS)

************** Top of the 3rd inning, Pirates batting
2-0 0 --- 32 Kimbro struck out (CCBBFBS)
2-0 1 --- 22 Delahanty,E struck out (SBFBS)
2-0 2 --- 32 Lloyd struck out (CBBBFFS)

************** Bottom of the 3rd inning, Blue Jays batting
2-0 0 --- 22 Santiago struck out (CCBBS)
2-0 1 --- 12 Mussina struck out (BSSS)
2-0 2 --- 10 Henderson flied out to center (BX)

************** Top of the 4th inning, Pirates batting
2-0 0 --- 20 Hornsby grounded out to second (BBX)
2-0 1 --- 01 Mize grounded out to second (CX)
2-0 2 --- 31 Stearnes walked (BBBCB)
2-0 2 1-- 12 Johnson,J lined a single down the left field line,
Stearnes to third (BFCFX)
2-0 2 1-3 31 Hartnett grounded a single up the middle, Stearnes
scored, Johnson,J to third (CBBBX)
3-0 2 1-3 02 Johnson,R struck out (SSC)

************** Bottom of the 4th inning, Blue Jays batting
3-0 0 --- 10 Alomar grounded a single to right (BX)
3-0 0 1-- 12 Gwynn struck out (1SBCC)
3-0 1 1-- 22 McGriff struck out (BCBFC)
3-0 2 1-- 12 Molitor struck out (BFFFS)

************** Top of the 5th inning, Pirates batting
3-0 0 --- 12 Kimbro flied out to center (FbBCX)
3-0 1 --- 12 Delahanty,E struck out (CBSS)
3-0 2 --- 20 Lloyd grounded out to short (BBX)

************** Bottom of the 5th inning, Blue Jays batting
3-0 0 --- 02 Puckett lined a single down the right field line (SSX)
3-0 0 1-- 32 Fernandez,T walked, Puckett to second (BBCFFBB)
Olerud pinch hitting for Santiago
3-0 0 12- 31 Olerud flied out to center, Puckett to third (BBBCX)
Kent pinch hitting for Mussina
3-0 1 1-3 10 Johnson,R threw a wild pitch, Fernandez,T to second (BB)
3-0 1 -23 31 Kent lined into a double play, Johnson,J unassisted,
Puckett out at third (BB.BCX)

************** Top of the 6th inning, Pirates batting
Whitt now playing catcher
Lavelle now pitching
3-0 0 --- 20 Hornsby grounded out to short (BBX)
3-0 1 --- 12 Mize struck out (SFBS)
3-0 2 --- 11 Stearnes flied out to left (CBX)

************** Bottom of the 6th inning, Blue Jays batting
3-0 0 --- 00 Henderson popped out on a bunt to first (Xb)
3-0 1 --- 10 Alomar homered deep to left (BX)
3-1 1 --- 32 Gwynn flied out to right (CBBFBFX)
3-1 2 --- 22 McGriff struck out (CFBBFC)

************** Top of the 7th inning, Pirates batting
3-1 0 --- 00 Johnson,J flied out to center (X)
3-1 1 --- 22 Hartnett lined out to center (BBFFX)
3-1 2 --- 12 Johnson,R grounded out to second (BFFX)

************** Bottom of the 7th inning, Blue Jays batting
3-1 0 --- 11 Molitor grounded out to the mound (BSX)
3-1 1 --- 32 Puckett struck out (CBBBSC)
3-1 2 --- 02 Fernandez,T struck out (CFC)

************** Top of the 8th inning, Pirates batting
3-1 0 --- 10 Kimbro bunted into an out to the mound (BbXb)
3-1 1 --- 31 Delahanty,E walked (CBBBB)
3-1 1 1-- 00 Lloyd lined a single to shallow left, Delahanty,E to
second (X)
3-1 1 12- 32 Hornsby grounded into a double play, Molitor to Alomar
(BCBFBX)

************** Bottom of the 8th inning, Blue Jays batting
3-1 0 --- 00 Whitt popped out to third (X)
Bell,Ge pinch hitting for Lavelle
3-1 1 --- 00 Bell,Ge grounded out to third (X)
3-1 2 --- 31 Henderson walked (BBFBB)
3-1 2 1-- 01 Alomar lined out to third (CX)

************** Top of the 9th inning, Pirates batting
Ward,D now pitching
3-1 0 --- 32 Mize flied out to left (SBBBSX)
3-1 1 --- 12 Stearnes struck out (BFCS)
3-1 2 --- 21 Johnson,J grounded out to short (BSBX)

************** Bottom of the 9th inning, Blue Jays batting
McDougald now playing second base
O'Neill,B now playing first base
Francis now playing third base
3-1 0 --- 12 Gwynn to first on an error by the third baseman Francis
(CSBX)
3-1 0 1-- 31 McGriff walked, Gwynn to second (BCBBB)
Percival now pitching
3-1 0 12- 32 Molitor popped out to right (FBBCBX)
3-1 1 12- 12 Puckett struck out (CBCC)
3-1 2 12- 12 Fernandez,T struck out (BFFS)



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