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Steve Wulf
October 19, 1987
The Giants homered and fielded their way to a 3-2 lead over the Cardinals in the NLCS
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October 19, 1987

Humm-dinger Of A Playoff

The Giants homered and fielded their way to a 3-2 lead over the Cardinals in the NLCS

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Craig and Herzog had another face-to-face the afternoon before Game 1, but this time it was Whitey entering the visitors' clubhouse to inform Roger that righthander Cox, who was scheduled to start, had a stiff neck and that lefthander Greg Mathews would pitch in his stead. The move would have a profound effect on both teams. For one thing, the night—to borrow a phrase from another Anheuser-Busch product—would belong to Mathews. For another, the switch caused Craig to pencil in righty-swinging Leonard as his leftfielder. Hac-Man, or Correctional Facility Face, as he is variously called, would not have started against Cox.

The game was played under a harvest moon so bright and full it seemed like a stage prop. The red sea of 55,331 in Busch Stadium first surged when Cardinal owner Augie Busch rode across the diamond behind the famous Clydesdales and again when Smith turned his first ceremonial backflip since 1985 before taking his position.

The Giants got an unearned run in the top of the first, but the Cardinals tied it in the third when catcher Tony Pena singled off Reuschel, moved to second on Mathews's sacrifice bunt and scored on Vince Coleman's single. In the fourth Leonard drilled a solo homer to dead center, but the Cards came right back in the bottom of the inning with a triple by Smith and a single by Willie McGee.

As Krukow puts it: "The Cardinals have a way of manufacturing runs without insulting you with their bats." This is what happened to Reuschel in the bottom of the sixth. Dan Driessen, subbing for Jack Clark, who was still hobbled by a sprained ankle, doubled into the gap in left center. After an error and two singles St. Louis led 3-2. Then with two out and the bases loaded, Mathews slapped Reuschel's two-strike slider over second for a two-run single.

Mathews, the hero of the 5-3 victory, said he would not have played "18 rounds of golf on Monday had he known he would start Tuesday. He probably meant 18 holes, but with Mathews you never know. "He and the other lefty [Magrane] are from Planet 7," said Herzog. Asked if he knew where Planet 7 was, Herzog said, "I don't know. I'll have to ask them when they get back from there."

The Cardinals love to tell stories about Mathews, who pulls his cap far down on his head the way another left-handed flake, Bill Lee, used to. There was the time in Chicago when Mathews took his clothes to the cleaners on Friday, not realizing they wouldn't be ready before the team left town on Sunday; he even forgot the name of the cleaner. "Those stories get exaggerated," said Mathews. "Wait a minute. Did anybody tell you about the time I gave Magrane perfect directions to a bar we were going to meet at, and then I got lost myself?"

The Humm Babies took over the next day, winning Game 2 rather easily, 5-0, thanks mainly to Hymn Baby Dave Dravecky, who pitched the fourth two-hitter in league championship history; to Ham Baby Leonard, who hit another homer, into the centerfield seats; and to Just Plain Baby—he's only 23—Will Clark, whose two-run homer in the second put the Giants on the scoreboard.

Dravecky, a devout Christian, came over from San Diego on the Fourth of July, along with Mitchell and lefty reliever Craig Lefferts, for Brown and pitchers Mark Davis, Mark Grant and Keith Comstock, and went 6-2 with three shutouts in his first 13 Giants starts. In fact, he's the reason why Padre president Chub Feeney threw a piece of bread at a bartender at San Francisco's Washington Square Bar & Grill the other day. It seems the bartender told Feeney, who had been the Giants' vice-president from 1948 to '69, "Thanks, Chub. You finally made a trade that helped the Giants."

Where Leonard was coming from, nobody knew. Contrary to the protocol of postseason diplomacy, he popped off after Game 1, saying the Cardinals weren't all that good. Consequently the fans in left heaped him with abuse—and he loved it. "I liked it when they told me my IQ was the same as my uniform number," he said. His number is 00.

When he homered in the fourth inning of Game 2, he trotted around the bases with his left arm pinned against his side—"left flap down," as he put it. He slowed to a walk between third and home and soaked in the colorful invective of victimized Cardinal pitcher John Tudor. He was also secure in the knowledge that he has a clause in his contract calling for a $50,000 bonus if he is named the playoff MVP.

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