Reading Eagle - April 19, 1980

Carter Enjoys Opener And Shuts Down Phils


MONTREAL (AP) – Gary Carter has a thing about opening days.


In five of the last six seasons the Montreal Expos catcher has cracked a home run in either the home or road opener, including a two-run shot when the club began its 1980 season in Philadelphia on April 11.


The Expos made their first appearance in front of a crowd of 41,222 at Olympic Stadium on Friday and Carter, true to form, smashed a three-run homer that was the key blwo in a 7-5 triumph over the Philadelphia Phillies.


“I don’t know what it is about opening games,” said Carter.  “I only wish there were openers all the time.  I’m just happy to get back home.  I enjoy the reception we’re getting from the fans.  They led the league in standing ovations last year and it’s great to be back home.”


Carter’s fifth-inning blast against starter Dick Ruthven, 1-1, capped a five-run rally that erased a 4-2 deficit which had occurred an inning earlier.  Philadelphia slugger Mike Schmidt had belted a two-run homer and the equally dangerous Greg Luzinski followed with a solo shot.  The victim of the long balls was starter Scott Sanderson, 1-0, who left after five innings, which was enough to gain him the victory.


While the Expos brought joy to their patrons who shivered in 50-degree temperatures, they made things miserable for Phillies catcher Bob Boone, who was victimized for five stolen bases and committed three throwing errors.


“When you have people like Ron LeFlore getting on base it makes things happen,” said manager Dick Williams of the Expos new left fielder who was second in the American League with 78 stolen bases in 1979 before being acquired by Montreal last winter.


LeFlore reached base just once and had one steal in the game but Williams said he set the tone for other players such as Rodney Scott and Andre Dawson, each of whom stole a base.


Williams refused to rap Boone, who is coming off knee surgery, for the rash of stolen bases.


The fifth steal of the game, but pinch-runner Tony Bernazard in the fifth inning, was directly responsible for the Expos’ seventh run as he crossed the plate on a single by Chris Speier.