Sunday night, Boston’s David Ortiz hit a grand slam to tie an ALCS game against the Detroit Tigers. The Red Sox would go on to win that game. As I looked at the box score the next morning, I noticed that four pitchers were credited with giving up earned runs on that one play. Joaquin Benoit gave up the homer to Big Papi, but Jose Veras was responsible for the runner on third, Drew Smyly for the runner on second, and Al Albuquerque for the runner on first.
I thought that must be a rare occurrence, and it turns out it is. This was the first time it had happened in the postseason, and only the sixth time in the RetroSheet era (but probably overall). This got me to wondering whether possibly one of those six games involved the Giants, and one did. Of course, the Giants were not on the happy end.
On Sunday, September 20, 1987, the Giants took on the Reds at Candlestick Park. In the top of the ninth inning, with the Giants ahead, 6-4, Don Robinson was in relief of Giants’ starter Mike Krukow. Reds shortstop Barry Larkin led off the inning with a groundball single back through the box and into center field. Pinch hitter Paul O’Neill then flew out to left field. Left fielder Kal Daniels singled to right field, and Larkin advanced to third. Jeff Treadway singled on a grounder over second, scoring Larkin, and moving Tracy Jones, now pinch running for Daniels, over to second. Kurt Stillwell came in to run for Treadway. The Giants’ lead had been cut to 6-5.
Giant manager Roger Craig came out and got Robinson, replacing him with Kelly Downs, who walked Eric Davis, loading the bases. Craig made another move, substituting Craig Lefferts for Downs. Dave Parker hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Jones. Stillwell tagged up and moved to third. The game was tied, 6-6. Lefferts walked third baseman Buddy Bell to load the bases again.
So again Craig replaced a pitcher, calling for Jon Perlman to take over for Lefferts. Perlman the count to 1-2 on Nick Esasky, but then Esasky launched a home run to deep left field, scoring Stillwell (charged to Robinson), Davis (charged to Downs), and Bell (charged to Lefferts). The Giants lost, 10-6.