Wilmington Morning News - April 23, 1980

Bull-blast sets stage for Phils in 14-8 victory


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – Mike Schmidt blasted two homers and drove in six runs last night, but to him, it was Greg Luzinski who made the cold night successful for the Phillies.


Luzinski's awesome three-run homer to dead center in the fifth inning wiped out an 8-5 Mets' lead and paved the way for a 14-8 triumph for the Phillies.


"You have to be an experienced hitter to realize what a great piece of hitting Greg Luzinski showed us there," said Schmidt after the long night at Veterans Stadium. "That home run set the stage for everything else."


The Phils, who had fallen behind 8-3 after 4½ innings, scored once in the bottom of the fourth and started their eventual tying rally in the fifth when rookie pinch-hitter George Vuckovich opened with his first major-league hit, a triple to center.


Pete Rose walked and Bake McBride followed with an RBI single to right that finished off starter Tom Hausman in favor of Jeff Reardon. The reliever got Garry Maddox to fly out and Schmidt popped out.


Up came the Bull and the count went 1-1. The next pitch was a fastball low and over the plate. It bounced off a chair in the 300 level and to the delight of the 21,341 fans, the Phils had completed what many figured was an impossible comeback when New York clobbered starter Dick Ruthven for six runs on eight hits in the second inning.


In the eighth, with one down, Larry Bowa and Luis Aguayo singled. Rookie Keith Moreland was sent up to bat for eventual winning pitcher Kevin Saucier. The red head jumped on a 1-2 Kevin Kobel delivery for a double to left-center and the Phils were on top 10-8.


With John Pacella pitching, Rose walked, McBride fanned and Maddox walked to load the bases. Schmidt, who blasted a two-run homer in the first, sent a 2-1 fastball high to left field and it was 14-8.


The grand slam was the fourth of Schmidt's career, the last one coming last September against Pittsburgh. His first two were eight days apart in June of 1973. This was the 21st time he has hit two homers in a game.


"I'm getting better pitches to hit this year because I am hitting ahead of Greg," said Schmidt, who is batting .310 with four homers and 12 RBI. "Last year he was scuffling and the pitchers could be more selective in what they gave me. He is on his way to a great year, I think he is going to be the key to this team this year.


"That pitcher (Reardon) was tough and with two out was in the driver's seat. The Bull waited on him and went to center field. That was a fine piece of hitting."


"It was a good pitch," said Luzinski, who is hitting .325 with four homers and 10 RBI. "The ball was carrying well tonight, but I crushed it. I knew it was gone the minute I hit it. It's good to be able to put runs on the board when we're so far behind. I think the mood on the bench, though, was that we were going to come back."


After Ray Burris and Neil Allen shut out the Phils 3-0 on Monday night, Green said the Tuesday game would be interesting.


"I was anxious to see what kind of an approach we would take after that,” he said. "I was a little worried when it was 8-3, but these guys kept battling. When you look back, we have only been out of one game and that was Monday night."


Ruthven did not get out of the second inning and rookie Scott Munninghoff gave up two runs in the fourth. After that, however, the Phils choked off any would-be Met rallies.


"I'm a little concerned about Ruthven," said Green. "He is having no physical problems with his arm, but just can’t get going. I thought I went with him as long as I could tonight."


"After Monday night it looked like we were digging a hole for ourselves," added Schmidt. "If we had lost tonight, we would have had to regroup. Now, we can feel pretty good. Let me tell you one thing – even though we beat the New York Mets, we had to get those hits and runs against major-league players."


Green seemed most proud that the five rookies he brought here from spring training played major roles.


Aguayo, filling in for injured second baseman Manny Trillo, turned a sizzling Elliott Maddox line drive into an inning-ending doubleplay in the sixth with the bases loaded. Vuckovich, of course, got his big hit as did Moreland, who was replaced on the base paths by the speedy Lonnie Smith.


"And even though he gave up two runs, I thought Munninghoff pitched well," added Green. He has not been out there for a week or so and was a little rusty, but overall he did the job. And the fact Saucier completely shut them down made everything possible."


EXTRA POINTS - Infielder Buddy Harrelson, cut the final week of spring training, has been working out with the Phillies... Even if Trillo's sprained ankle does not come around as quickly as expected, the Phils still cannot resign Harrelson for at least 60 days because of a baseball rule.