27 Years Ago Today
Ed Sprague, batting in the 9th inning with the Blue Jays down 4-3, hit a pinch-hit home run to help us win game two of the 1992 World Series.
We had lost game one of the series 3-1. Jack Morris gave up 3 runs in the 6th inning and we only managed 1 run off Braves starter Tom Glavine, who threw a complete game 4 hitter. Our lone run was a Joe Carter homer.
In game two we started trade pickup David Cone. We got him in trade from the Mets on August 27th, sending Jeff Kent to New York. Cone has a very good autobiography, he doesn’t go into much detail about his time with the Jays, but it is a good read. Cone didn’t have a great day, giving up 4 runs, 3 earned in 4.1 innings.
The Braves scored one in the 2nd inning. David Justice led off with a walk, stole second, went to third on a Manuel (Manny) Lee error (Lee tried to get him out on a grounder to short, but his throw was off-line) and scored on a wild pitch.
They got one more in the 4th: Sid Bream walked to start the inning, Jeff Blauser single and, an out later, Mark Lemke singled home Bream.
We tied things at two in the 5th. Pat Borders took a two-out walk, Lee singled and singles from Cone (the game was in Atlanta) and Devon White scored them. We should, one day, try to find the biggest hit by a Blue Jays pitcher in team history, but I’d imagine this one would be a candidate.
The Braves went up by two in the bottom of the inning. Two sport star Deion Sanders hit a 1-out single, stole second. Terry Pendleton walked. Justice singled home Sanders and that was it for Cone. David Wells came in and gave up a sac fly to Brian Hunter.
We made it a 1-run game in the 8th. Roberto Alomar hit a 1-out double, Carter singled and Dave Winfield singled home Alomar. That would be the end of the game for John Smoltz. He went 7.1, allowed 8 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned, 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. Lefty reliever Mike Stanton came in with runners on the corners and got John Olerud to pop out. Jeff Reardon replaced Stanton and got Kelly Gruber to strikeout.
In the 9th, Reardon got Borders to line out. Derek Bell pinch hit for Lee and took a walk. Then Sprague pinch hit for Duane Ward. Sprague would knock the first pitch over the wall in left to give us our first lead in the game. On the list of important Blue Jays home runs, that one is easily in the top 10. We should have a poll one day to figure where they all sit.
Tom Henke came in for the save and it wasn’t the nice neat save we would have liked. With 1- out, Henke hit pitch-hitter Lonnie Smith with a pitch. Ron Gant pinch ran for Smith. Otis Nixon hit a fairly deep fly out the center. With Sanders up, Gant stole second, then Sanders walked on a full count pitch. But Henke got Pendleton to pop out to end the game.
We tied the series at one, going back to Toronto and would win the series in six games.
Our bullpen did a great job, 4.2 hitless innings from Wells (1.2 innings), Todd Stottlemyre (1), Ward (1, getting the win) and Henke (1, with the save). The Braves only had 5 hits, but 7 walks to go with them.
On offense, we had 9 hits and 4 walks. Cone had 2 of the hits (and the one RBI). No other Jay had more than one.
Jays of the Day would have been Sprague (.669 WPA), Cone for his batting (.154) and Henke (.187).
Suckage: Cone for his pitching (-.273), Olerud (-.273, 0 for 4, 1 strikeout) and Gruber (-.181, 0 for 4, 3 strikeouts).
Here is the home run: