Wilmington Evening Journal - August 18, 1980
Aching McBride hurts N.Y.
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
NEW YORK - He straps make-shift braces around his creaky knees and then forces his aching feet into a pair of specially made shoes.
After that, he grunts and groans and hobbles onto the field. But once there, Bake McBride becomes the Phillies' bionic man.
His knees are killing him and his feet are a wreck, but McBride is one of the big reasons the Phillies have picked themselves up and started all over again.
Shake 'n' Bake had a homer, dou ble and single and drove in three runs as the Phils crushed the New York Mets 9-4 in the first game of yesterday's double-header at Shea Stadium. He returned in the nightcap with a double and a single and the Phils won 4-1.
When the Phils started their five-game series here, media antagonists were saying the magical Mets might pass Philadelphia in the National League East standings.
When the dust settled last night, the Mets had little to do but look ahead to 1981 and the Phils were just iVt games behind first-place Pittsburgh, riding the crest of a five-game winning streak.
A week ago the Phils were gasping for life. They had just lost four straight to the Pirates in the graveyard that is Three Rivers Stadium and were six games out of first place with 55 to play. Since then, they have won seven of their last eight to complete what started out as a disastrous road trip with a 7-5 record.
The Phils, now 62-53, are only two games behind Pittsburgh (67-51) in the loss column and even with second-place Montreal (65-53) in that all-important category. The Phils have 47 games to play, including four with the Pirates and six with the Expos.
Steve Carlton, who became the majors' second 19-game winner along with Baltimore’s Steve Stone, turned in a routinely professional effort in the opener. He struck out Hand scattered 10 hits.
The Phils, who scored 40 runs on 71 hits in the series, staked Carlton to an early 8-1 lead after which he coasted.
Randy Lerch, whose 3-13 record had caused Manager Dallas Green many sleepless nights, gave the Phils a solid 6⅔ innings and with relief help from Ron Reed gained his first victory since July 1.
Garry Maddox blasted a two-run homer in each game and flashy Lonnie Smith continued his outstanding rookie year with two singles and a double in the two games. The rookie is hitting .349 in 73 games.
But just when it appeared McBride's bat was beginning to go quiet, Bake turned it around. He had just one hit in the first three games of the series, and that came on Thursday.
"Funny thing," said McBride, who is batting .311. "Every time they put me in the fourth spot in the batting order, I think I have to hit home runs. I always regard a cleanup hitter as a long-ball hitter. When Dallas put me there, I started swinging for the fences. I do it every time."
So yesterday, McBride had a meeting with himself. He decided to forget about home runs and go back to his normal, successful style.
"So what do I do the first time up?" McBride asked. "Hit a two-run homer. It happens all the time."
McBride has had fluid drained from his knees a couple of times this year and his feet are so sore from foul tips he sometimes feels like he can't walk on them.
Trainer Don Seger designed a pair of braces for the knees and with McBride's help, a shoe company made some special shoes that resemble running shoes, only with heavy leather tops.
After the Phils built up a 9-1 lead in the opener, Green suggested to Carlton the left-hander might want to skip the last few innings.
"He shook his head," said the manager. "He wanted the complete game; he wanted to stay out there. The Mets have tacked a couple of Ls (losses) on his record this year, so this game was important for him."
Only Cincinnati has been tougher for Carlton during his career. Before yesterday he had lost two of three decisions to the Mets this year and was 24-27 overall.
"Lefty has had better stuff than he had today," added Green, "but he got the outs when he had to. At times his fastball didn't look like it was popping, but he had an outstanding curve and his slider was consistent."
McBride's seventh homer of the year gave the Phils a 2-0 lead in the first inning and after the Mets scored in the second on Doug Flynn's triple to left, Maddox blasted his eighth homer with McBride on base and it was 4-1.
The Phils vaulted in front 8-1 with four runs in the fifth and after Larry Bowa singled home two runs with a shot to right, Burris, now 6-7, was finished.
"To me, Bowa's hit was the big one," said Green. "We had runners on second and third with two out. Just when it looked like Burris was going to get out of further trouble, Bowa came through."
Burris, who combined with Neil Allen for a 3-0 victory ovef the Phils on April 21, has always been tough on them. That triumph gave him a 9-4 lifetime record against the Phils.
Carlton's toughest inning was the seventh when the Mets scored twice on Lee Mazzilli's double to left field, but errors by Ramon Aviles and Mike Schmidt made the runs unearned.
After that, he allowed only an eighth-inning single to Alex Trevino, while putting the Mets down in order in the ninth.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the nightcap off Lerch on singles by Jerry Morales and Trevino and Doug Flynn's sacrifice fly.
That lead lasted only until Maddox crashed his two-run homer with Trilio on first in the fourth.
Loose defense, which plagued the Mets throughout the series, helped the Phils build their lead to 4-1 in the fifth.
With one down, Smith singled to left. Pete Rose then ripped a single to left. The lightning-fast Smith raced to third. The first error came when Steve Henderson throw wildly, allowing Rose to take second, and seconds later Smith scored when third baseman Elliott Maddox made a wild throw to home plate. Rose scored on Schmidt's sacrifice fly to left.
Lerch, who had not lasted until the seventh inning since July 21, got in trouble with two out in the seventh when he walked pinch-hitter Dan Norman tq put runners on first and second.
Reed was summoned, choking off the would-be rally by getting Henderson to ground out to second base.
"This was an important game for me," said Lerch. "After we won the first one, the pressure was on to sweep them. This victory was a long time coming. I had a good fastball and an excellent change. I just can't tell you how I feel right now."
EXTRA POINTS - Carlton's league-leading strikeout total is at 211... Burris had allowed just two runs in 17 innings after coming off the disabled list on Aug. 6... David Raymond, the Phillie Phanatic, finally made it to Broadway. He entertained during during the long afternoon at Shea... Carlton is expected to go after his 20th victory against San Francisco on Friday night at Veterans Stadium... Trilio has batted safely in 11 of the last 13 games... Today is an open date for the Phils, who will open a nine-game home stand beginning with San Diego tomorrow night Dick Ruthven (10-8) goes against Bob Shirley (9-8) in the opener, followed by Nino Espinosa (3-3) vs Juan Eichelberger (3-0) and Larry Christenson (4-0) vs. Rick Wise (4-5)... After 114 games last season, the Phils were 59-55, in fourth place six games out.