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Ah, but then came the ninth. McGee led it off with a hard shot to leftfield past Brett's glove for a double. No problem. Leibrandt, unruffled, retired Ozzie Smith on a groundout and Tommy Herr on a fly ball. Then came the menacing Clark, the very same man who had done in the Dodgers. Howser was grimly aware of the abuse heaped on L.A. manager Tommy Lasorda for pitching to the Cardinal slugger with first base open. At the same time, it is not Howser's policy to put a batter who represents the tying run on base, no matter who he happens to be. Leibrandt pitched to Clark. Sort of. He threw him three changeups outside, all balls. But, Clark boasted later, "they don't pay me to walk."
So, with the count 3 and 0, he reached out for the next changeup and hit it to the left of Brett, who was guarding the line, for a soft, run-scoring single. There was a problem now, for sure. But there were still two outs, and there was Dan Quisenberry, ace reliever, heating up his submarine ball in the bullpen. Landrum, a righty hitter, was up next.
Time for Quiz? No. Howser stayed with the man who got him this far. Landrum worked the count to 2 and 2, then, "just trying to make contact out there," slapped a changeup for a blooper into right. Another double. Clark held up at third.
Time now for Quiz? No. Howser elected to walk Cedeno, another righthanded hitter, and fill the bases for Terry Pendleton, a switch hitter. Cedeno had been hell on lefties, and if Howser brought in Quiz to face him, Howser reasoned, Whitey would counter with a lefthanded hitter, and Quiz had been having trouble with lefties lately. So Leibrandt stayed on.
Pendleton was "pumped up" for the challenge. "An intentional walk means they'd rather pitch to you than someone else," he said, reasoning faultlessly. "To some players that's an insult." Namely, to him. With the count 2 and 1, Pendleton barely made contact with still another changeup. The ball described a tiny arc to leftfield, and like its unreachable and equally undistinguished predecessors, it fell for a double. This one cleared the bases, and the Cardinals had a historic 4-2 win. The Cards became the first Series team since the New York Yankees in 1939 to enter the ninth two runs behind and go on to win.
Oh, Quiz did finally come in to get the last out. Too late.
Did Howser goof? Not according to Howser. "Charlie was in complete command," he said. "I was not close to taking him out. Charlie's stuff was good. He wasn't losing it at all. It's no reflection on Quiz. It was the way Charlie was pitching." But Quisenberry had been ineffective in Game 1 (three hits and a run in 1⅔ innings) and he had seemed tired after a busy season.
Was the Quiz miffed by the oversight? Leibrandt, he said, was the best of all Royal starters at pitching out of a jam. Besides, he said, "I'm not a good manager. I'm just a tool of the manager. I really work at never trying to manage."
So the Cards and Royals headed from the "easternmost western city" in the U.S. to the "westernmost eastern city." How bleak were the prospects for the Royals? Well, no team has ever lost a World Series after winning the first two games on the road.