- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Unfortunately for the fit Rijo, the lesson of the night was, No gut, no glory. The Pirates won 4-3, even though Walk gave up three runs to the first five batters he faced. "I saw the bullpen go into action," he said, "and that's not really a good sign in the first inning." However, he allowed only one more base runner through the sixth inning, his last.
The Pirates had, meanwhile, scored three times, two of the runs coming on first baseman Sid Bream's fourth-inning dinger. In the top of the seventh, Pittsburgh put runners on first and second, and centerfielder Andy Van Slyke drove a fly ball deep to left.
Etymologists have Davis to blame for making nonchalant a verb. He was still coolly backpedaling when Van Slyke's ball sailed over his head, then bounced behind him and over the fence for a ground-rule double and the game-winning RBI. Perhaps Davis and Bonds aren't the same man after all. "I don't think I've ever done that before," Bonds was quick to note afterward. ("Eric makes that play 99 times out of a hundred," Piniella said of the three-time Gold Glover. "A hundred out of a hundred," Davis corrected incorrectly.)
Half an hour after the game, Walk was being escorted from the interview room by a Pirate public relations exec and two reporters. His only other experience with such attention had been when, as a rookie with the Philadelphia Phillies, he gave up six runs in Game 1 of the 1980 World Series but lived to get the win. A decade later, wearing Levi's and a white Oxford shirt whose purchase date could be determined only by carbon dating, Walk neared a security woman on his way to the Pittsburgh clubhouse. She asked to see his pass. "I don't have a pass," Walk said apologetically.
"He's the star pitcher," said the Pirates' publicist. Walk smiled weakly. The woman wasn't buying this. "He just won the game," she was told. Walk nodded in confirmation. Still skeptical, she finally waved Walk on. "Just doing her job," said Walk, who would be schmoozing with Bryant and Deborah in a matter of hours.
In fact, the Reds and Pirates would be playing again in a matter of hours. Neither team had a day off after the regular season—end-of-season makeup games that were necessitated by the spring training lockout had forced alterations in the playoff schedule, and this is what baseball and television had come up with. And because CBS didn't want to disrupt its blockbuster new Friday night schedule—It's Burt Reynolds in Evening Shade!—Game 2 would start at 3:20 and would be played on a field divided: One part of it in blinding sun, the other in deep, encroaching shadows.
"I don't know why they would start a game at this time [of day] at this time of year," said Larkin, who has obviously never seen Evening Shade. Said the Pirates' Gary Redus, "You should never play a game at this time of day."
In spite of the conditions—and as often because of them—the game sizzled in Cincinnati's Indian summer. The Reds put their first three hitters on against Cy Young shoo-in Doug Drabek, and the one run Cincinnati wrung from the inning held up until the Pirates' fifth, when Jose Lind hit the sixth home run of his four-year career, off Tom Browning, to tie the game. With a runner on second and one out in the Reds' fifth, platoon rightfielder Paul O'Neill popped a fly to left.
At the start of the game, Davis had announced in the dugout that because of the sun, anything hit to leftfield would be trouble. "As soon as it went up, I lost it," said Bonds. "I knew it was hit well; I just didn't know where."