A beautiful pitched game in which a pitcher dominates the other team is a thing of beauty, even if it comes from the opposition.
Previously I mentioned Nolan Ryan’s 1-hitter in the Kingdome and Billy Swift’s win over the Yankees when the Mariner infield set a major league record for assists.
The third game of pitching mastery that I witnessed was June 24, 1984, Cleveland‘s Bert Blyleven against Seattle.
Blyleven shut out Seattle on two hits, but it was how he did it that was remarkable.
Of the twenty-seven outs the Mariners made, twelve were fly outs; seven to center, four to right, and one to left. Blyleven struck out five. That leaves ten outs.
Those ten were ground ball outs. One was from pitcher to first, three were unassisted by first baseman Pat Tabler.
The last six outs set a major league record. Those were the good old 3-1, first to pitcher covering first. Blyleven set a major league record for putouts by a pitcher with six.
No balls were hit to third, nor to second. One ball went to short, but Julio Franco (see my Ryan’s 1-hitter blog) made an error.
In order for 10 outs to be made between first and pitcher, Bert was breaking off his famous curve down and in to left handed batters all night long. Only two right handed batters made two of those ten outs. Dave Henderson went 1-3, pitcher to first and Spike Owen went 3-1.
Cleveland won 5-0, Blyleven winning his sixth game against three losses.
It was also the major league debut of Jim Presley who would anchor third base for a few years in Seattle. He flew to right, then doubled to left, then flew to center.
The other Mariner hit that night came from Jack Perconte in the eighth inning.
Watching Blyleven that night is watching a great artist working his magic. Thanks Bert. We lost the game but you gave the fans a game to remember.
And why is it I go to games where arcane fielding records are set?