Wilmington News Journal - April 20, 1980

McBride shakes ‘n’ bakes Expos


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


MONTREAL – A slight change in his batting stance and a major vote of confidence from the manager has given Bake McBride new-found peace of mind.


And with that, the Phillies' right fielder looks like the Shake Bake of old. Remember when he came to the Phils on June 15, 1977 from St. Louis and powered his new teammates to their second National League East title?


Those were happy times for the Phils and McBride. The last two summers have been just the opposite.


Yesterday, the 31-year-old McBride had two singles, a triple and drove in four runs as the Phils crushed Montreal 13-4 on a sunny afternoon at drab Olympic Stadium.


McBride's heroics led a firestorm of 18 hits that buried four Montreal pitchers, including old nemesis Steve Rogers, the loser.


Larry Christenson, who worked five mediocre innings, gained his first victory although the pitching sensation was young reliever Dickie Noles.


Noles was superb. He struck out six batters and allowed just two hits over the last four innings.


Manager Dallas Green has been insisting since last December that the 23-year-older's future is in the bullpen and after three appearances in that role, nobody is arguing. In 6 innings, Noles has now allowed a run and only four hits.


"Dickie Noles comes in and goes right at the batters; he challenges them," said Green. "Today's outing will do an awful lot for his confidence."


After two innings the Phils were looking up at a 3-0 Montreal lead and considering the way Christenson was pitching, the crowd of 23,088 could sense an easy Expos' victory.


McBride, however, singled in two runs in the third and put the Phils on top 4-3 in the fifth with another two-run single.


The Expos pulled even briefly in the fifth when Andre Dawson tripled and continued on home when center fielder Garry Maddox' throw bounced over Mike Schmidt's head and Christenson failed to back up on the play.


Bob Boone, who had two key runs batted in, singled Greg Luzinski home from third in the sixth, a hit that finished off Rogers and gave the Phils a 5-4 lead. From there, they steadily added to the margin. They scored twice in the eighth off reliever Dale Murray and sent 10 batters to the plate in the ninth, with Schmidt's two-run homer sparking a six-run outburst.


Not since last June 9 against Atlanta have the Phils collected 18 hits. Their 1979 season high was 24 in that memorable 10-inning, 23-22 squeaker at Chicago on May 17.


"I have to be pleased with our offense," said Green. "It has been about as good as could be expected. A lot of guys are swinging the bats very well and that includes Bake McBride."


McBride, mentioned in trade talks during the off-season, is happy nothing happened in that area. And he's even more pleased that Green has shown enough confidence in him to let him bat against both righthanders and left-handers. Last year, Manager Danny Ozark seldom let McBride face left-handers although he had a .343 average against them.


His ninth-inning triple yesterday came against lefty Fred Norman.


"I've moved back in the batter's box some and am not bent over as much as I was the last two years," said McBride, explaining his new stance. "I'm looking for the curve and slider because that's what they try to get me out with. In addition, I'm not trying to hit it out of the ballpark like I did the past two years.


"I've had some talks with Dallas Green and he intends to play me against both left-handers and righthanders. Knowing you're going to be in there every day has a lot to do with how you perform."


Batters frequently complain about the shadows in Olympic Stadium. Yesterday, for example the sun field was right. A right-handed batter must look into the sun and it appears the ball is coming out of the shadows.


The Phillies insisted this made no difference in the way Noles pitched.


"He was awesome," said Pete Rose, who had a double and a single and scored a run. "There was no problem by the time Dickie got in there."


"You do out there like the first batter you face is the last batter in the game," said Noles. "I had an excellent slider today and my fastball was popping. When you get two pitches like that going for you, it's easier."


The first time Noles ever faced Montreal was last Sept. 22 at Veterans Stadium. The Expos hammered him for three home runs and won 8-2.


"But when we came here the last weekend of the year, I allowed only two runs over nine innings and didn't get the decision (the Phils won 3-2 in 11)," said Noles. "I am well aware of the mashers on this team. You have to go right at them."


EXTRA POINTS – Second baseman Manny Trillo suffered a sprained ankle rounding third base in the third inning... He was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital where precautionary X rays proved negative... His replacement, Luis Aguayo, executed a squeeze bunt in the eighth, allowing Boone to score from third... The ball was not fielded and Aguayo got both his first major-league hit and RBI... Chris-tenson has an 11-5 lifetime record vs. Montreal... When Rose scored in the fifth, he tied Jimmie Foxx (1,751) for 13th place on the all-time runs-scored list...Luzinski made a fine catch against the wall on Gary Carter's liner leading off the sixth... Christenson was charged with two balks and his throwing error allowed Ron LeFlore to score the Expos' third run in the second inning... After failing to hit in the opener, Schmidt has now hit safely in six straight... Randy Lerch goes against Bill Lee today... Steve Carlton, Dick Ruthven and Christenson will oppose the Mets at Veterans Stadium beginning tomorrow night.