Reading Eagle - April 26, 1980

Cards Throw Phils Curve


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – St. Louis pitcher Pete Vukovich said he got a little tired of throwing curve balls to the Philadelphia Phillies.


And Phillies’ manager Dallas Green said he was more than a little tired of his team losing to Vukovich, who recorded his seventh straight over Philadelphia Friday night with a 3-1 Cardinal victory powered by George Hendrick’s two home runs against loser Randy Lerch, 0-2.


“Sure I got tired,” said Vukovich, who was relieved in the bottom of the ninth when pinch hitters Bake McBride and Del Unser led off with consecutive singles.


“I threw 150 pitches, and they were spinning baseballs,” said Vukovich, who raised his record to 3-1 as Bob Sykes and Mark Litell kept the Phillies from scoring to end the game.


Litell got the save after facing only one Philadelphia batter, Mike Schmidt, who hit a dribbler in front of the plate for the final force out.  The Phillies had loaded the bases against Sykes on Pete Rose’s sacrifice bunt and Garry Maddox’s walk.  Sykes knocked down Greg Gross’ shot back to the box and got the force on McBride at home for the second out.


“Pete (Vukovich) told me at the beginning of the eighth to get someone ready,” said St. Louis manager Ken Boyer.  “He had thrown about 130 pitches at that point, and we knew that was a lot, especially as many breaking pitches as he threw.


“But even though he was tired, he kept the ball down and kept it in play,” Boyer added.


“I’m tired of excuses; I’m tired of reasons why,” said Green.  “Let’s do something about him (Vukovich).  We may face him 10 times this year and I’d hate to sit through 10 of these.”


Vukovich’s string against the Phillies dates back to Aug. 8, 1978.  The 27-year-old right-hander beat Lerch in St. Louis on April 15 and was the only pitcher to post a 4-0 record against Philadelphia in 1978.


“To me, it doesn’t matter,” Vukovich said when asked about the streak.  “I just try to ignore that extra weight.”


Hendrick just ignores reporters.  “I prefer to let you guys write your stories on what you see,” the 30-year-old centerfielder said, declining further comment.


Hendrick sent Lerch’s first pitch to him in the fourth inning over the 371-foot sign in left center, then again in the sixth connected on Lerch’s first pitch to him for his third home run of the year and the final margin.


Lerch pitched “very well,” Green said.  “He gave up two home runs but that was about it.  What else can you ask of him?”


The Phillies’ manager was less than pleased with the rest of the team, now 5-7 overall.