Philadelphia Inquirer - April 23, 1980

Trailing, 8-3, Phils stun Mets on home runs, 14-8

 

By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer

 

For 7½ innings, Keith Moreland sat out in the bullpen and watched.

 

Watched as Dick Ruthven got hammered again. Watched as Mike Schmidt did another one of his famous Saturn 5 imitations.

 

Watched as Greg Luzinski creamed his most monstrous Vet homer since his shot off the Liberty Bell. Watched the Phillies tie a game they once trailed, 8-3, and once were getting outhit in, 13-5.

 

Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Moreland trotted into the dugout, grabbed a bat and drilled a two-run pinch double that propelled the Phillies toward a 14-8 win over the Mets last night.

 

Moreland's double broke an 8-8 tie. And it would have been enough. But the fourth Mets pitcher, John Pacella, then walked the bases full, and Schmidt crushed his fourth career grand slam into a left-field superbox. And that was that.

 

"A little different from yesterday, eh?" said Dallas Green.

 

On Monday, after a 3-0 loss to Ray Burris, Green had set this game up as a test of his team's character.

 

"We reacted," he said proudly, "pretty good."

 

Green wasn't so cheerful when the Phillies got down, 6-2, after Ruthven was ripped for six runs and six hits in the second inning. ("He just is not throwing the ball," Green said. "Why? I haven't figured that out yet.")

 

And by the middle of the fourth, the Phils were behind, 8-3. That score didn't seem to scare the Pirates much one day last August, and last night the Phillies, too, seemed to have this funny feeling the game wasn't over.

 

"It was the same feeling we used to have," Luzinski said, "the feeling we can come from behind. We felt we could get to the guy. And we did."

 

The guy was Mets starter Tom Hausman. And to be fair, to him, he probably didn't know how to react to the shock of actually being ahead by five runs. That doesn't happen a lot when you're a Met.

 

Hausman never even quite made it to the pitcher-of-record stage. He entered the fifth ahead, 8-4. But George Vukovich bombed his first big-league hit, a triple off Jerry Morales' glove in center. Then Hausman walked Pete Rose, gave up an RBI single by Bake McBride and was gone, leaving his three-run lead behind him.

 

Jeff Reardon protected it for two batters, getting Garry Maddox on a fly to center and Schmidt on a popup. But he threw a 1-1 fastball low and down the middle to Luzinski. And the Bull metrolinered it 450 feet off a lower-deck chair in dead center. Phew. Tie game.

 

"I crushed that ball," said Luzinski, who is off to a .325, four-homer, 10-RBI start. "The ball was carrying pretty decent. But when I hit it, I said, 'Bleep.' There wasn't no doubt in my mind that was gonna land where it landed."

 

"You've got to be a ballplayer to really appreciate what good hitting that was," said Schmidt. "In that kind of situation, two outs, off that kind of pitch, to put it in the lower deck in center, that's something. I got the same pitch and popped it up."

 

After Ruthven, Green went, perhaps significantly, to his bullpen youth corps, Scott Munninghoff, Kevin Saucier and Dickie Noles. Munninghoff wasn't as sharp as he had been, allowing two runs and six hits in 3-1/3 innings. But Saucier arrived with the score at 8-8 and worked three shutout innings.

 

The first of those innings was the hairiest. A single by Lee Mazzilli, a Mazzilli stolen base, a walk of Joel Youngblood and a move-the-runners grounder by Steve Henderson made it second and third, one out. So Saucier walked Jerry Morales on purpose to pitch to Elliott Maddox.

 

Maddox crushed a line drive that might have gotten through the middle had the Phils not been looking double play. But Luis Aguayo had moved a step to his right before the pitch, stabbed it and raced Youngblood to second. He beat him for an inning-ending double play by a margin that would require about eight looks at the photo at Aqueduct.

 

 "I'd say maybe by about eight inches," Aguayo sighed. "It was close."

 

"The big play of the game," Luzinski called it. "You know, you keep coming back the way we did, the type of thing you need is to get out of an inning like that. If that ball goes through, they start breaking it open again."

 

But they didn't. And so the Phillies got to the eighth at 8-8. Larry Bowa, capping what had been a brilliant defensive night, stroked a one-out single. And Aguayo fought off an 0-2 pitch and pulled a single through the left side.

 

On came Moreland for only his second at bat of the year. Mets lefthander Kevin Kobel threw two breaking balls by him and broke ahead, 0-2. ("I was just overswinging. I wasn't watching the ball," Moreland said.) But Moreland watched it on a 1-2 slider, smoked a double off the wall in left-center and the Phils led for the first time since 2-0.

 

Then Pacella came on to walk the bases full. And Schmidt, who had towered a homer into the 500 level in left in the first inning, crashed one even harder. It broke up a superbox cocktail party, got Schmidt to within one homer and one RBI of Dave Kingman and got the Phillies back to .500 (5-5).

 

"The first ball, I got under that ball," Schmidt said. "I hit the second ball much better. But I'll take those fly balls that just go over the fence any day."

 

And Dallas Green will take those five-run comebacks, too.

 

 

NOTES: Schmidt's six-RBI game was his best ever outside of Wrigley Field. He had an eight-RBI day there in his four-homer game in 1976 and had a six-RBI game there in 1977.... Munninghoff tripled in his first major league at-bat.... The Bob Horner incident has not gone unnoticed in the Phils clubhouse. "Uh-oh," said Bowa last night. "I've got an option left." Bowa (who can't be sent down under the terms of the general agreement, by the way) says if he were Horner, he would go to Richmond and collect his $400,000.