Reading Eagle - April 21, 1980
Montreal’s Old Tricks No Treat for Phils
MONTREAL (AP) – After stumbling early in the National League baseball season, the Montreal Expos are beginning to discover some of their old tricks.
“A ninth-inning rally – it’s starting to look like last year all over again,” grinned Ellis Valentine after Gary Carter lofted a one-out sacrifice fly Sunday to produce the winning run in a 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
On Saturday, the Expos hardly resembled the team that won 95 games and battled to the last day of the season for the East Division title in 1979 as they were pounded 13-4 by the same Phillies.
But the late-inning magic that carried them to numerous dramatic victories last year returned Sunday as the club staged three separate comebacks.
“We needed that,” said starter Bill Lee, who worked into the seventh inning. “We needed to come back, especially going into the game against Pittsburgh tomorrow.”
The left-hander, who is winless in two decisions, wasn’t as pleased with his personal performance since he allowed left-handed hitting Bake McBride to tie the game 3-3 with a two-run triple in the fifth inning.
McBride’s triple erased the margin Montreal had acquired in the first inning as Valentine and Andre Dawson belted back-to-back solo home runs and Carter stroked an RBI single.
Dawson was again instrumental in the ninth-inning uprising as he drew a leadoff walk against reliever Tug McGraw, 0-1, and raced to third when center fielder Garry Maddox had difficulty fielding a bloop single by Larry Parrish.
“I hesitated at first because I was thinking about Maddox in center,” said Dawson. “He’s the best defensive center fielder in baseball.”
For Carter, there was more surprise than hesitation as he hit his sacrificy fly to left fielder Greg Luzinski.
“I thought they might possibly walk me to get to (Warren) Cromartie,” he said. “My speed isn’t that great and I thought they might be thinking I was a good double-play man.”
“You can’t walk anybody, not in game-winning situations. Tug knows that,” said Phillies’ Manager Dallas Green. “You’ve just got to pitch better. In fairness to Tug, he hadn’t been out there in eight or nine days.
“You’ve got to look at the bottom line,” Green said of the bullpen performance of Lerrin LaGrow and McGraw. “And the bottom line is, they didn’t come out too well.”
LaGrow powered a slider which Valentine dumped into left as an end-of-the-bat RBI single to erase a Phillie lead.