New York Daily News - April 24, 1980

Mets hold off Phils for Bomback’s 1st


By Jack Lang


PHILADELPHIA – Mark Bomback says he waited 10 years for his first major-league win. The last two innings of last night's game seemed like the last nine of them.


Seated in front of a TV in the clubhouse, the rookie watched with all the nervousness of an expectant father as first Neil Allen, then Ed Glynn and finally Jeff Reardon achieved the necessary final six outs that made Bomback a 3-2 winner in a cliffhanger with the Phils.


This was not your ordinary ballgame because Bomback is not your ordinary rookie and the Mets against the Phils are a mismatch almost any day. But Bomback's nine years in the minors, some astute handling of his bullpen by Joe Torre and some mistakes by rookie Philly manager Dallas Green paid off in a tremendous victory for the Mets.


All the drama of a World Series game was wrapped up in the final two innings as the Mets forged ahead, 3-1, saw their lead slip to 3-2 in the eighth when Allen, their bullpen ace, showed the manager he didn't have it, and reached a crescendo in the final inning when the Phils loaded the bases against Ed Glynn and Jeff Reardon only to have Dallas Green find himself out of pinchhitters. So Green had to send pitcher Randy Lerch up and Reardon struck him out to end the game.


Glynn had allowed the first two Phils to reach in the ninth when, with two out, Garry Maddox doubled and Mike Schmidt walked. With Luzinski coming up, Torre lifted southpaw Glynn and called in Reardon – the same rookie righty who was tagged for a tremendous home run the previous night.


Reardon got two strikes on The Bull in a real hurry. Was the temptation there to try and strike him out?


That's what happened last night," he quickly remembered. "Everything I threw him was up because he likes the ball down low."


Reardon eventually walked Luzinski to load the bases and from the Phil dugout emerged Lerch, a pitcher who is 2-for-4 hitting this season. Incredibly, in a nine-inning regulation game with the score only 3-2, Green had exhausted all his pinchhitters. It was Lerch or Steve Carlton, both long ball hitting pitchers. Green chose Lerch and, on a 2-2 count, Reardon struck him out to give the Mets their most exciting victory of the season, plus a two-to-one edge in the series.


Until those pulsating final two innings, Bomback was the story. The 27-year-old from Fall River, Mass., released by the Red Sox with a sore arm and virtually handed to the Mets for Dwight Bernard last October, kept the Phils off balance with sliders and fastballs.


"Plus good location," he reminded. "1 talked to Ray Burris before the game. He told me to approach every batter like he's the first batter in the game. I pitched very carefully. I didn't have a good curve although I am a curveball pitcher. I'm not a fastball pitcher."


The Phils got eight hits off Mark but he stranded eight in seven innings and kept getting the important ground ball when he needed it. Fourteen of the 21 outs he registered were grounders.


The runs were taken care of by Joel Youngblood, who knocked in two, one on an infield out in the first and the winner on a single up the middle off Tug McGraw in the eighth. The other run came in when Luis Aguayo botched a grounder with a man on third and the infield in. Bomback allowed only one run, that on a tripe by Aguayo in the fifth followed by George Vukovich's pinch single.


When Torre thought Bomback had enough, he brought in Allen. But Neil quickly gave up another run on a double by Schmidt and a single by Keith Moreland. When Larry Bowa smashed another hit off Allen's instep, Torre got him out of there.