Sports Illustrated - August 18, 1980
Baseball- N.L. East
By Anthony Cotton
When Montreal (6-4) beat New York 11-5 for Dick Williams’ 1000th career victory as a manager, he said modestly, “I’ve either been around a long time or I’ve had good teams.” When lefthanded Pitcher Bill Lee said he felt well enough to play despite hip, back and knee miseries and objected to being placed on the disabled list, Williams grumbled. “Everything’s wrong with him,” he said. “He got hit by a cab jogging last year, fell on an iron rail when he was jogging at 6 a.m. this year and then wrenched his knee when his spikes got caught in his shoelaces. He’s just not right.” Lee responded that Williams was looking for an excuse to replace him with a righthanded pitcher, Hal Dues. “They better have a lot of bats when I pitch batting practice,” said Lee, “because I’m going to break a lot of them.” When Umpire Bruce Froemming said the Cub’s Scot Thompson caught a fly ball that had plainly dropped in, Williams was furious. Understandably so, because the call deprived the Expos of a run that would have beaten Chicago. Instead, the Cubs won 8-4 on Cliff Johnson’s 14th-inning grand slam.
For the week, Johnson had four homers and 10 runs batted in, all in home games at Wrigley Field. “I think I could have a serious love affair with this ball park,” said Johnson, who was acquired by Chicago from Cleveland on June 23. Steve Carlton won his 17th game for Philadelphia (2-3), beating the Cardinals 3-2 and singling what turned out to be the winning run. First Baseman Pete Rose made a diving catch of a foul pop, spiked the ball and got a standing ovation. During a delay in a Phillie game against St. Louis that was ultimately rained out, Cardinal pitchers Pete Vukovich and bob Sykes began making head-first slides on the field and were joined by several hundred fans.
St. Louis (3-2), Pittsburgh (5-3) and New York (3-5) all had typical weeks. The Cardinals either feasted (14-0 over Philadelphia, 9-6 over New York) or endured famines (3-2 losses to Philadelphia and New York). Only Silvio Martinez’ 4-1 complete-game victory over Los Angeles failed to fit the pattern. The Cardinals were especially pleased by Sykes’ three-hit shutout of the Phillies, even if they did score too many runs.
The streaky Pirates ended a six-game losing streak and ran off five straight wins, homering in each. Getting two wins and a save from Kent Tekulve and two saves from Enrique Romo, they beat Chicago 9-2, 2-0 and 11-3 and Philadelphia 6-5 and 4-1. Dave Parker had nine hits and Tim Foli two three-hit games as the Pirates stayed within a half a game of first-place Montreal.
The Mets’ Neil (Hurricane) Allen had two saves and Ray Burris stopped Montreal 7-1 on six hits for his first nine-inning victory since April 12, 1978. In the Expo win, Elliott Maddox broke an 0-for-21 streak by going 3 for 4. Afterward Manager Joe Torre reiterated his favorite Panglossian rallying cry: “We’re still in contention.”
MONT 62-48; PITT 61-48; PHIL 55-50; NY 53-56; ST. L 48-59; CHI 45-63