1969: Padres Hold On to Squeak Past Montreal

August 19, 1969, Montreal: Padres 5, Expos 4 (box score)

Way back before MLB systematically destroyed its Montreal franchise, when the commissioner wasn’t ownership’s puppet, there was an impressive demand for the sport in Quebec. How else would you explain 14,250 fans attending a contest between two teams that together had won barely 30% of their games with just over a month remaining in the season?

The Padres struck early against right-hander Steve Renko in this one. Ivan Murrell was hit by a pitch to start the second inning. After advancing to second on a Chris Cannizzaro groundout, Murrell moved to third on a Tommy Dean single. One out later, Jose Arcia singled home Murrell to put the visitors up, 1-0.

In the bottom of the second, Al Santorini ran into trouble. With the the bases loaded and one out, though, he fanned Bobby Wine and Renko to preserve the lead.

The Padres padded their lead in the fourth inning. With one out, Arcia walked and Van Kelly singled. Another single, by Ollie Brown, plated Arcia and made the score 2-0. Al Ferrara then rapped into a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.

San Diego exploded for three more in the seventh. Santorini led off with a homer to left (the first and only extra-base hit of his career). With one out, Kelly singled to right but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Brown walked and was promptly picked off first, but Renko’s throw sailed past first baseman Ron Fairly, allowing Brown to take second and extending the inning for Ferrara, who proceeded to knock a two-run homer. The Padres now led, 5-0.

As it happened, San Diego would need all of those runs. The Expos chipped away with a run in the seventh on two singles and a groundout. The next inning, they added two more on the strength of two singles, two walks, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kevin Collins.

In the ninth, with Gary Ross pitching for the Padres, Rusty Staub knocked a two-out homer to make the score 5-4. Rookie Dave Roberts came in from the bullpen and walked Fairly, who in turn was pulled for pinch runner Adolfo Phillips. With Coco Laboy due up, Padres skipper Preston Gomez summoned Jack Baldschun to seal the deal. Baldschun proceeded to uncork a wild pitch, moving Phillips to second, but then got Laboy to ground out to his counterpart at third and end the game. The Padres had survived to win their 36th game of the season.

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3 Responses »

  1. I really enjoy these recaps from the inaugural season. Perhaps next year you could a rundown of the Padres first playoff season (1984). Thanks for your work.

  2. Thanks, JP, glad you’re liking ‘em. Not sure I’ll do another one of these next year, but if I do, 1984 is at the top of my list. 8)

  3. I’m really impressed that you have kept up with this project on a consistent basis –recapping 162 games from 38 years ago is not an easy chore with all the other projects you have. It would be easy to let this sort of project sort of die as the year wears on but it’s admirable that you haven’t –and dudes like me (much to the chagrin of my Ethiopian-American girlfriend who can be very annoyed during the baseball season) still enjoy reading these excerpts about players that my generation (born in 65) knew as coaches (Bobby Wine, Walt Hriniak, etc) –