This is the first of a few entries describing specific games during the ’89 season that I’ll be putting up on this blog. This game was a 4-0 win over the Yankees:
Pitchers Todd Burns, Rick Honeycutt, and Eric Plunk put together a very, very nearly perfect game. Rickey, still with the Yankees, beats out a bounder to Carney Lansford leading off the fourth. Sax erases the blemish on the record by sharply grounding to Gallego, who runs to the bag and then throws to first. That’s all, folks: Burns had struck out Jessie Barfield in the second. Before and after that, grounders, pop-ups, and fly balls suffice to keep the Yankees off the bases in fearsome Yankee Stadium. Doesn’t it seem reasonable to assume that this is the closest anyone’s ever come to perfection against the Yankees? Winfield missed the entire ‘89 season, but Rickey, Mattingly, Barfield, and Sax are all in the lineup, so this isn’t the A’s happening to pick up a cheap one off second-stringers. Your final score is 4-0.
Carney Lansford did everything he could on Henderson’s ground ball, but his desperate throw to first was wide and late and probably beside the point, given Henderson’s speed.
”It was a tough play,” said the Athletics’ catcher, Ron Hassey, who had three hits. ”But it was a good pitch he made. No regrets there.”
Afterward, Tony La Russa said: “Amazing, the kid has really been remarkable,” referring to Burns, who was making his first start of the year. “He hit a lot of great spots. Heck, the only thing that slowed the game up was me going to the bullpen. A no-hitter, and he stays. But he got to the point where the longer he goes, the bigger chance he has to hurt himself.”
David Bush of the S.F. Chronicle added:
“It was no bunch of slouches Burns faced in his first appearance at Yankee
Stadium. The Yankees had collected at least 10 hits in five straight games and improved their team average 11 points.
Burns did not seem to notice. La Russa said that Burns’ fastball, in the 86-
miles-per-hour range, is more rapid than opposing teams believe. And he has a quality slider and a deadly curve, which he uses in situations when most pitchers eschew breaking balls.
“He was just able to hit the mitt wherever I put it,” said catcher Ron Hassey.
“Almost every pitch he threw was consistently good.”
“I didn’t feel that good at the beginning, and I think I might have gotten
away with some pitches early,” said Burns. “As the game went on, I was able to get a rhythm going.”
Only third baseman Carney Lansford, who had to glove a couple of well-hit balls on abrupt hops, had to make any sort of difficult play on Burns’ behalf.
Ironically, the Yankees’ one hit was also handled by Lansford, who charged
Henderson’s slowly hit ball, grabbed it with his bare hand and missed getting Henderson at first by barely a step. Henderson is probably the only player in a New York uniform who could have beaten the throw.”