Friday, October 16, 2015

Paul bracket: Pilots (69) defeat Astros (69) in seven games

Game One: 69 Astros 9. 69 Pilots 2
WP: Billingham (1-0)
LP: Bouton (2-1)
HR: J Morgan (2)

Game Two: 69 Pilots 5, 60 Astros 2
WP: Brunet (1-1)
LP: D Wilson (1-1)
Save: Segui (1)

Game Three: 69 Astros 8, 69 Pilots 4
WP: Dierker (6-0)
LP: Brabender (2-2)
HR: Oyler (2), Edwards (1), J Morgan (3)

Game Four: 69 Pilots 5, 69 Astros 4
WP: Gelnar (3-0)
LP: LeMaster (0-2)
Save: O'Donoghue (1)
HR: Menke (1), Wynn (5)

Game Five: 69 Pilots 6, 69 Astros 5 (10 innings)
WP: O'Donoghue (3-0)
LP: Ray  (1-2)
HR: Hegan (4), Wynn (6), Oyler (3)

Game Six: 69 Astros 7, 69 Pilots 3
WP: Bouton (1-0)
LP: Barber (0-1)
HR: Pagliaroni (1)

Game Seven: 69 Pilots 13, 69 Astros 6
WP: Brunet (2-1)
LP: D Wilson (1-2)
HR: Mincher (3), Hegan (5), J Morgan (4)

The unlikely saga of the 1969 Seattle Pilots continues with a third straight Game Seven victory. Indeed, the Pilots are 7-0 in elimination games in this tournament.

Game One, in the Astrodome, was the much-anticipated Bouton vs. Bouton matchup. Houston's Jim Bouton left after five innings, trailing 2-1 on a pair on RBI hits by Don Mincher. But after Seattle's version of Jim Bouton struck out Jimmy Wynn to open the bottom of the sixth, the Astors racked up three straight hits, followed by a Ray Oyler two-base error to take a 4-2 lead. Marty Pattin then relieved and gave up a walk, a single and a three-run homer to Joe Morgan to blow the game open.

The Pilots evened the series in Game Two, with George Brunet allowing just one unearned run in six innings and Diego Segui another unearned run in three innings of relief. The Pilots trail 1-0 after six but knocked Don Wilson out of the box with a three-run seventh and added two more off Dooley Womack in the eighth.

The series shifted from the cavernous Dome to cramped Sick's Stadium, and the Astros feasted early in Game Three off Gene Brabender. A sixth-run first inning began with a Joe Morgan homer and was capped by Johnny Edwards' grand slam. Mike Marshall threw seven shutout innings in relief of Brabender, but the Pilots couldn't catch up against Larry Dierker.

The Pilots bounced back in Game Four. John Gelnar threw seven innings of two-run ball, and Greg Goosen scored three runs on three hits, two of them doubles. Wynn and Denis Menke each had a two-run homer for the Astros.

The Astros led Game Five 5-0 half way through after Wynn's homer in the top of the fifth. But Pattin, Brabender and John O'Donoghue combined for five scoreless frames as the Pilots chipped away with one in the fifth, one in the sixth, one in the seventh and two in the eighth. In the bottom of the 10th, Steve Hovley had a one-out single. Tommy Harper and Mike Hegan walked to load the bases, and Fred Gladding relieved to get pinch-hitter Goosen to ground into a force play at the plate. But Mincher followed with a long single to score Harper with the winning run.

The series returned to Houston for Game Six, and Dierker turned a 3-1 lead over to Bouton in the eighth inning. With two outs, John Kennedy singled and Jim Pagliaroni hit a fly to left-center that fell between Tommy Davis and Wynn. The two outfielders collided, and the plodding Pagliaroni got an inside-the-park homer to even the score. The Astros immediately rallied for four runs off Bob Locker, however, so the only effect of the bizarre play was to deprive Dierker of his seventh "W".

Game Seven rematched Brunet and Wilson, and the Astros starter had nothing. Mincher hit a two-run homer in the first. Errors by Menke and Doug Rader helped the Pilots score three more in the second, and Oyler and Harper drove in runs in the third for a 7-0 lead. Brunet gave up three runs in the fifth, his final frame, but the Pilots added six more runs in the final three innings, including a three run homer from Hegan. Bouton and Marshall threw two innings apiece to mop up. Mincher scored three runs, and Harper was 5-for-6.

Player of the series: Tommy Harper went 16-for-32 with four doubles and four walks. He stole five bases, scored seven runs and drove in three while playing five different positions in the seven games (second base, third base and all three outfield spots.

Player availability: Brunet and Steve Barber cannot pitch until Game Three. All other pitchers are eligible to pitch, although Marshall can't start the opener. Bouton should not start again in the tournament. No injuries are carrying over.

Projected rotation: What rotation? The Pilots used six starters against the Astros and have deployed seven different starters in the tournament. A rough draft: Brabender-Segui-Brunet-Pattin-(Gelnar)-(Brabender)-(Segui).

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