Pirates batter way to Game 7 8-run second leads to 13-4 win over faltering Braves

October 14, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

ATLANTA -- Say one thing for the Atlanta Braves: When they let a team back into a postseason series, they do it in style.

The Braves, who threatened to oust the Pittsburgh Pirates from the National League Championship Series last week, are in jeopardy of losing a series they completely controlled after last .. night's 13-4 Pittsburgh pasting in Game 6.

The Pirates, who trailed 3-1 in this series, can become the first team in NLCS history to advance after being in such a hole.

Pittsburgh's Doug Drabek, who lost Games 1 and 4, will face John Smoltz, who won those games, in tonight's series finale.

Pittsburgh erupted for eight runs in the second inning -- tying an NLCS record -- and never looked back.

Barry Bonds, who had been in the throes of a three-year postseason slump, had two hits -- a homer and a single -- each in the second, to lead the Pirates' attack.

Bonds had help from right fielder Lloyd McClendon, who singled twice, walked and homered to score three runs and from Jay Bell, whose three-run homer in the second inning put the game out of reach and sent the sellout Atlanta crowd scurrying for the exits by the fifth inning.

Rookie knuckleballer Tim Wakefield continued his sensational three-month ride through the National League, holding the Braves to four runs on nine hits, including two home runs by David Justice.

When the Braves and the Pirates left Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium last Wednesday for Game 3 in Pittsburgh, there were serious doubts that the series would return here, as Atlanta won Games 1 and 2 convincingly and appeared on track to win its second straight pennant.

However, in the last two games Atlanta has more closely resembled the team that finished last in 1990 than the team that won 192 games in the past two seasons.

The most immediate and obvious culprit is the Braves' vaunted pitching staff, and lately it has been their top two pitchers -- Tom Glavine and Steve Avery -- who have been pounded.

Glavine, who also dropped Game 3 to Wakefield, was blasted last night, giving up all eight runs in the second -- with no outs -- to run his career NLCS record to 0-4.

Glavine and Avery, who went just one-third of an inning in Sunday's 7-1 drubbing, have a combined ERA in those two games of 74.25.

Glavine, who had beaten the Pirates four times in the regular season, said before the game he wouldn't approach Bonds any differently because he had broken out of his slump in Game 5.

"I don't think that's going to change our approach toward him," Glavine said. "We've pitched him in this series as if he's had the hot hand. We've stuck with our game plan and just tried to pitch him the way we would normally pitch him regardless of how he's swinging the bat or how he's struggling."

But whatever Glavine did in the second inning to Bonds, it clearly didn't work, as Bonds jacked a 1-2 pitch into the stands in right-center field to lead off the inning.

After the eight-run nightmare, Glavine was done for the night, and Charlie Leibrandt, the Braves' fourth starter this year, was summoned. He struck out Andy Van Slyke for the first out, then Bonds singled to center.

King flew out to left, and McClendon singled to right. Bonds easily took third, but McClendon wandered too far off first on the throw to third, beginning a rundown that would end the inning.

When the dust had settled on the second, the Pirates had set or tied four NLCS records, and had helped Glavine set two more.

ANone of it was especially pretty, but it gave the Pirates exactly what they needed: a chance to win the series.

Pirates-Braves scoring Pirates second: Bonds homered to right. King singled to center. McClendon singled to right, King to third. Slaught doubled to right, King and McClendon scored. Lind grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, on Blauser's throwing error to third, Slaught scored, Lind safe at second. Wakefield sacrificed to pitcher Glavine, Lind safe at third and Wakefield safe at first on fielder's choice. Redus doubled to right, Lind scored, Wakefield to third. Bell homered to left, Wakefield, Redus and Bell scored. Leibrandt relieved Glavine. Van Slyke struck out. Bonds singled to center. King flied to left fielder Gant. McClendon singled to right, Bonds out at home, right fielder Justice to third baseman Pendleton to first baseman Bream to shortstop Blauser to catcher Berryhill to third baseman Pendleton to first baseman Bream. 8 runs, 8 hits, 1 errors, 1 left on. Pirates 8, Braves 0.

Braves fourth: Bream singled to center. Bream to second on Slaught's passed ball. Gant walked. Berryhill flied to right field. Lemke struck out. L.Smith, pinch-hitting for Leibrandt, singled to right, Bream scored, Gant to second. Nixon walked, Gant to third, L.Smith to second. Blauser popped to shortstop Bell. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left on. Pirates 8, Braves 1.

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