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Ron Fimrite
August 19, 1974
Which is what happens when Sparky Anderson's firebrands are in town. Walter Alston's artful front-runners professed nonchalance as Cincinnati took the series, but behaved otherwise on the field
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August 19, 1974

Seeing Red In Dodger Stadium

Which is what happens when Sparky Anderson's firebrands are in town. Walter Alston's artful front-runners professed nonchalance as Cincinnati took the series, but behaved otherwise on the field

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Entering the seventh, there were 10 strikeouts, three hits, three errors and only two runs scored, both by the Dodgers in the first inning when Jim Wynn homered into the left-field pavilion with Bill Russell on base. Wynn, a burgeoning folk hero in Southern California, delighted a crowd of 45,577 paid by clapping his hands as he bounced around the bases. He was rewarded with a standing ovation by his pavilion idolaters when he returned to the field.

The Reds waited until the sun had set to tie the score, George Foster stroking a two-run homer off Dodger starter Doug Rau in the seventh. But this was to be a Dodger feast, and in the home half of the seventh the Dodgers loaded the bases on an infield single by Ron Cey, a walk to Joe Ferguson and an exquisite bunt single by Tom Paciorek. This brought to bat Steve Yeager, a catcher constructed in the classic mold: square and solid. Yeager propelled a low Gullett fastball into the bullpen for a grand-slam home run, the first of his three-year big-league career. The crowd celebrated this crowning achievement for a full three minutes, an experience, said the exuberant Yeager, that gave him "goose bumps like golf balls."

The inevitable Mike Marshall finished the game for Rau, although in this, his 74th appearance of the season, he did surrender a harmless run in the eighth. The anticlimactic ninth inning was enlivened by the antics of a spotted dog that caught Frisbees in left field with much greater dexterity than major league infielders were catching baseballs in the early sun-dazzled innings. The dog was reported lost after the game. He may turn up on a Dodger farm club.

The 6-3 victory was, in a sense, Pyrrhic since Cey, in legging out his seventh-inning hit, pulled a hamstring muscle. He was not to play again in the series.

Anderson was not exactly chipper the next day, but neither was he completely dispirited. "If you lose tonight," he said, meaning we, or maybe I, "you are facing a nightmare tomorrow."

The mood in the clubhouse was hardly despairing. Pete Rose blamed fatigue for the Reds' faulty performance. "We played 23 innings in a doubleheader at San Diego the day before. We're not the kind of team to get down on ourselves."

His chum, Joe Morgan, expressed a sense of urgency about the games ahead. "We can't keep saying we'll do it tomorrow," he said. "We're gonna run out of days pretty soon."

"The Dodgers don't scare you the way some teams do," said Outfielder Merv Rettenmund, who played with the Baltimore Orioles when they were champions of the American League. "They're not like the Pirates, with all those big hoppers. You lose to the Dodgers and it seems somehow comfortable, not as if you'd really been beaten. But it's still a loss."

In his first turn at bat in the second game Rose was booed angrily by Dodger fans who, for reasons known only to them, have not yet forgiven him for tussling with little Bud Harrelson of the Mets in last year's National League playoffs. Dodger management apparently considered such abuse demeaning, for when Rose took the field for the Dodger half of the inning there appeared on the Stadium message board this stirring encomium: "The Los Angeles Dodgers recognize Pete Rose for what he is: a great competitor, a great All-Star ballplayer and a great guy. Let's give him a Dodger hand." And, by heaven, he got one from at least some of the 53,472 assembled.

There was no setting sun to bedevil the hitters in this second game. The Reds scored twice in the sixth on Tony Perez' two-run homer and the Dodgers got runs in the fifth and sixth, the latter on Wynn's second home run in two days, a curving liner into the lower left-field grandstand. Both teams scored in the eighth.

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