Wilmington Morning News - August 15, 1980

Phils get in swing and make Mets pay


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


NEW YORK – During the lost weekend in Pittsburgh, Mike Schmidt and Bob Boone couldn't buy a hit as the Phillies lost four straight games to the Pirates.


After one of those excruciating losses, Schmidt, who was 1-for-22 at the time, remarked to a friend: "Somebody's going to pay sooner or later."


The Chicago Cubs paid some when the Phils won two of three games, but Schmidt and Boone had their act in high gear here last night as they led Philadelphia to an easy 8-1 victory behind Nino Espinosa over the Mets at Shea Stadium.


Schmidt drove in four runs with two singles, a double and his 31st home run, while Boone contributed a homer and two singles in the 14-hit attack.


"I began to get the swing back in Pittsburgh," said Schmidt. "I didn't have any hits on Sunday, but I walked three times in the first game. In the nightcap, I hit the ball hard and could have had a couple of hits with better luck. I felt the swing coming back."


When asked the difference between his present stroke and the one that had him going 1-for-22, the third baseman said: "If I knew the answer to that, I would be a genius. No, seriously, it's a matter of being able to relax and be confident. I'm always confident, but when you're scuffling, everything is magnified.


"You began to think about fundamentals. It's a vicious cycle. Mechanically, when you're in a slump like I was, the problem is usually the fact the front shoulder is flying out. That's the way it was with me."


Boone, who was hitting in the low .200s a week ago, says he has stopped lunging for the ball.


"Zachry struck me out in the first inning on off-speed pitches," said the catcher. "When I came up the next time (in the fourth), I decided to gear up more. The pitch I hit out was a slider and I'm not even sure it was a strike. It was the pitch I can hit for a home run, but lately I have been staying away from it."


As for Espinosa, who gave up five hits including Claudell Washing ton's seventh-inning homer, the outing was his best of the year. And not just because he was pitching against the Mets, the team that traded him to the Phillies for Richie Hebner just before last season.


"I don't have any hard feelings against the Mets," Espinosa said after the game. "When they traded me, they got a good player back. They're super guys and I got along real good with (manager) Joe Torre. No, there's no hard feelings."


Boone liked what he saw of Nino's assortment.


"I think Nino had better stuff tonight than he has had before," said Boone. "The only really bad pitch he made was to Washington. It was a fastball out over the plate."


Espinosa credited his Met days, especially when Tom Seaver was still in town, for making him the complete pitcher he is.


"I watched Tom Seaver a lot," Espinosa said. "Even though he was a power pitcher, he didn't try to blow people away. He tried to pitch his game, in and out, and I learned a lot from him.


"You have to know how to pitch. You don't just throw strikes down the middle. You have to make your pitch."


And while he's been recovering from a sore shoulder, Espinosa's been finessing his way past NL hitters in a manner that would make Tom Seaver, who's had a few arm problems of his own lately, proud.


The Phils took a 2-0 lead in the third. With one down, Espinosa beat out a bunt single and went to third when Lonnie Smith walked. Pete Rose was awarded first on catcher's interference and Schmidt, who had singled in the first, drilled a single to left to score two runs.


With two out in the fourth, Boone blasted Pat Zachry's first pitch over the left-field wall for his ninth homer of the year and a 3-0 lead. In the fifth, Rose singled to center, advanced to second on Schmidt's infield out and scored on Bake McBride's single to center.


The Phils added two more runs in the seventh at the expense of reliever Dyar Miller. Smith singled to center, stole second and third and scored on Schmidt's double to left. Garry Maddox's single to left brought Schmidt home.


In the eighth, Boone hammered out his third hit of the night with a single to left, was sacrificed to second and scored on Greg Gross' single to center.


The Mets, whose early offense was snuffed by two Philadelphia double plays, avoided a shutout when Washington blasted his ninth homer of the year over the right-field fence.


Schmidt made it 8-1 in the ninth when he jumped on reliever Ed Glynn's 2-0 pitch for an opposite-field homer, just inside the foul pole in right field. The blast was Schmidt's first of the season in Shea.


EXTRA POINTS - Greg Luzinski, who had knee surgery on July 28, took batting practice before last night's game. Although his mobility is still limited, the Bull appeared to be swinging the bat well... Zachry is 2-5 lifetime against the Phils... Larry Christenson, who came off the disabled list on Monday, will make his first start since May 21 tonight when he faces the Mets' Mark Bomback (9-3)... Tomorrow afternoon Bob Walk (8-2) goes against Craig Swan (5-8)... In Sunday's doubleheader, the Phils will start Steve Carlton (18-6) and Randy Lerch (3-13), while the Mets go with Ray Burris (6-6) and Roy Lee Jackson (1-3).