It is a memory that Royals’ fans have been clinging to for the last 25 years and it’s a World Series that Cardinals fans are still blaming Don Denkinger for…The I-70 Series. Royals against the Cardinals. On October 20, 1985, Game two took place at Royals Stadium. Below is a recap of that second game. Each day, we’ll recap the seven game series to help replay any memories you may have left over in your mind.
A great quote from George Brett. “If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out.”
Game two was crucial for the Royals to head to St. Louis with a split in their home park and they gave the ball to lefty Charlie Liebrandt who was always a reliable pitcher through his 14 years, but 1985 was by far his career year. He went 17-9 with a 2.69 ERA during the regular season and for eight innings against the Cardinals, he was nearly unhittable.
Liebrandt ran into a little bit of trouble in the fourth inning when he gave up a two out walk to Jack Clark, who went to third when Tito Landrum singled. Liebrandt got out of that threat when he got Cesar Cedeno to pop up to short to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Royals finally got to Cardinal starter Danny Cox thanks to back to back RBI doubles from George Brett and Frank White. After surrending a lead off single to Willie Wilson, Cox settled down after the first three batters reached base to limit the damage to two runs.
Liebrandt, in the first eight innings, allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out six. However, in the eighth inning, manager Dick Howser decided to stay with his starter to go for the complete game shutout. What any fan 20 or younger won’t realize is that back in the day, pitchers finished what they started. Had this game been played in this era, Liebrandt would have been pulled after seven, for an 8th inning specialist, before giving the ball to the closer in the 9th. In 1985, not the case and the Cardinals finally got to Liebrandt.
It all happened after two outs. Liebrandt gave up a lead off double to Willie McGee who was stuck at second on a ground out by Ozzie Smith. Tommy Herr then flew out. Down to their last out, Clark singled home McGee to cut the lead to 2-1. Then Tito Landrum doubled, but with the slow moving Clark on first, he had to stop at third.
Still two outs, and one of the games top closers sat in the bullpen. Dan Quisenberry had racked up 161 saves in the last four seasons, including 37 in ’85, but still Howser stayed with his starter.
Cesar Cedeno was intentionally walked to allow a force out at any base and on a 2-1 pitch, Terry Pendleton pulled one down the third base line scoring three runs giving the Cardinals a 4-2 lead. Quisenberry was then called on to get the final out of the inning, but it was too late after the damage was done.
The Royals went quietly in the ninth and found themselves in a hole with a day off coming and the Cardinals heading back to Busch.
My take on the game. I am all in favor of letting a starter finish his work, especially back in 1985. However, come on!!! Let’s get serious. Howser had plenty of time to go bring in Quisenberry after Liebrandt gave up the first run. There were two outs and the tying run was on first. Even after Landrum’s double, it provided another opportunity to bring in Quisenberry, but Howser stuck with Liebrandt. The move was fatal and Brett was getting ready to pucker up to his toothless Gamma.
Cardinals lead the series two games to none