Camden Courier-Post - August 20, 1980
Phillies romp to 6th straight
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies haven't had a lot to smile about this season, but that seems to be changing.
They hammered out 15 hits and grinned their way to a 7-4 victory over the San Diego Padres last night at Veterans Stadium, thus hiking their winning streak to six in a row to tie a season high set in June.
"It's a lot of fun when this club is scoring runs, because guys like myself get a chance to play," said outfielder George Vukovich. whose two-run pinchhit double helped send the visitors to their seventh consecutive defeat.
ALL YEAR, the players have wondered what would happen if they all got hot at the plate at the same time. Now, as they improved their record to 10 games over the .500 mark for the first time in 1980, they know. Brother, do they know!
Even the silent Larry Bowa broke his vow of mute hostility long enough to explain, "I'm not worrying about anything anymore." Not a bad attitude when you realize that he'd just driven in two crucial runs with a performance that included a pair of singles, a double and a stolen base.
Righthander Dick Ruthven apparently didn't worry about his lack of everything early in the game. He finessed the Padres before settling down to the job of pushing his record to 11-8. Reliever Tug McGraw made sure the door remained closed during the final two innings.
MANNY TRILLO contributed a game-tying homer in the fifth inning. It was his third in the past five games. After that, the Phils, who have homered in 10 consecutive games, never looked back.
"I was concerned in the first inning," admitted Manager Dallas Green. "I didn't know whether Rufus was going to get his act together. He had all kinds of trouble. But, he kept us tight when it counted."
Seeking comfort away from San Diego after dropping every bit of a seven-game homestand, the Padres made Ruthven pay for his early struggle to find himself by jumping out to a 3-0 lead.
GENE RICHARDS opened with a single to left field for the visitors, whose reputation as the second best base-stealing club in the league was not lost on Phillies' catcher Bob Boone.
Boone, who would later delight the crowd of 30,588 with a pair of clutch doubles, was hoping to keep the speedy Richards (46 stolen bases) honest when he threw a pick-off attempt past Pete Rose at first - base and into right field for a two-base error. Richards then scored easily on an infield out.
The dangerous Dave Winfield walked, moved to second on an infield out and scored as Jerry Mumphrey singled to left field. Mumphrey 's ensuing theft of second (162 for the Padres this year) enabled him to make it 3-0 when Luis Salazar singled to right.
BUT, THE Phils have regained their confidence since the disaster in Pittsburgh. A double by the sizzling Bake McBride ignited a second-inning threat. He scored handily when Bowa blooped a single into short right-center field.
Bowa would have also scored moments later, if Boone's blast into the right field corner hadn't bounced over the fence for the first of three Philly ground-rule doubles on the night.
As it turned out, both Boone and Bowa were stranded as Ruthven popped out to end the inning.
Unlike the Padres, however, the Phils have both the speed and bats to make their offense potent. Lefthander Bob Shirley discovered that in the third inning.
THAT'S WHEN Lonnie Smith beat out an infield single and then turned what looked like a perfect pickoff play into a steal of second, Smith outrunning a high, wide throw to second base by first-sacker Willie Montanez.
Smith, who extended his hitting streak to nine games, scored on Mike Schmidt's screaming liner into center field to make it 3-2. Trillo followed with a sizzling hit over the bag at third, an obvious double that might have scored Schmitty with the tying run.
A slick-fielding youngster along the left field foul line made a dandy if not misguided stop of the ball, however, and the runners were not allowed to advance. Shirley promptly walked Garry Maddox to fill the bases and got Bowa to ground out to end the rally.
WHEN McBRIDE tried for a shoetop catch in the fourth inning and failed, Salazar gained a triple on the play and scored on Craig Stimac's sacrifice fly.
Looking to continue his hot streak at the plate, Boone cracked a second double during the Phils' half of the fourth frame. Bob moved to third on Ruthven's sacrifice bunt and scored on Smith's fly ball to right.
Still down by a run, the Phils looked to perhaps their most consistent performer this season to ride to the rescue. Trillo, who owns the second best batting average in the league, responded with a game-tying homer into the left field bullpen in the fifth.
THE FIREWORKS continued as Maddox cuffed a ground-rule double down the first base line and scored on Bowa's ringing two-bagger into the left field corner to put the Phils on top 5-4.
Now, it was Manager Green's turn to have some fun. In the seventh inning, with two away, Bowa singled and stole second off reliever Mike Armstrong.
San Diego, playing the percentages, walked Boone intentionally to bring Ruthven to the plate. Green was ready, At least, he thought he was.
"If figured that if I sent George Vukovich out to the on-deck circle, the Padres might bring in a left-handed pitcher. Then, I'd counter with Keith Moreland," explained the manager with a grin. "I guess they figured that out, too."
THE PADRES decision to pitch to Vukovich added fuel to the fire. "It got me all keyed up," said the pinchhitter, who ripped a two-run double into the gap in left-center field.
McGraw, who has posted a dazzling 0.95 earned run average since coming off the disabled list in mid-July, nailed down the victory with two fine innings of relief.
The Phils try to make it seven in a row tonight as rookie Bob Walk goes up against former Philly righthander Rick Wise.
Dog days of summer fail to show up for Trillo
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – All week long, Manny Trillo kept telling people that the last thing he wanted to think about was winning the batting title.
"Forget it! Talk to me about it in another month," he said with a smile at one point, dismissing the inquiries of yet another group of writers.
Then, the Phillies' second baseman took a peek at the updated statistics for the night and turned in surprise to his friend and teammate, Nino Espinosa, saying, "Two hits tonight and I only gained two points on my average!"
Both men looked at each other and broke into laughter. For Trillo, 1980 is the summer of contentment, a delightful phenomenon that can neither be ignored nor postponed.
For the truth is that, since 1975, when be began playing for the Chicago Cubs, Manny has traditionally roared through the early months of the baseball season like a guy jogging downhill.
Unfortunately, there was always that lefthand turn somewhere around, August that led him through Death Valley, over the Sahara Desert and into an area where the buzzards nested on his bat and waited for him to faint.
The Wrigley Field Swoon of the Cubs is an annual affair, something on the order of the swallows, flying back to Capistrano. Only, in this case, everyone including Manny dragged himself home each night knowing that the pennant race was just a mirage.
"You know me... the early bird," Trillo said with a laugh. "No problem early, then ... I don't know daytime baseball takes too much out of you. Because there were no lights at Wrigley Field, the players always had the feeling that sooner or later the sun would get to them. And, it did."
Anyone suspecting that such talk has the ring of an excuse better think again. For, in his first healthy season at the oasis called Veterans Stadium, Manny has posted a .325 batting average that is second only to Garry Templeton's .333 out in St. Louis.
"Both offensively and defensively, Trillo has done everything we've asked of him," said Manager Dallas Green last evening after watching Manny double and homer in the Phils' 7-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.
"He has been consistent, spectacular and steady," Green added. "He's as good a hitter now as he was in April." Trillo admits that a number of factors have contributed to his success this season, including the fact that he didn't run himself ragged playing three months of winter ball in his native Venezuela.
"I only played a month and a half this past winter. And, I feel stronger because of it," he said.
He feels stronger because he is stronger. A weight program last year helped. So have hamburgers, hot dogs and other assorted foodstuffs that the slick-fielding infielder now forces himself to eat after each game.
"I used to wait until I got home after a game to eat," he said, waving a thick burger in the air. "Now, I make sure I have something at the ballpark before I go home to eat."
When you're 164 pounds and shrinking, every calorie counts. And, nothing helps a guy's appetite more than actually being in a pennant race.
"I almost forgot what it was like in Chicago until I talked to Ivan DeJesus the other day," said Manny with a grin. "He told me he wants to get out like I did."
Manny's August batting stroke may instigate a riot in the Cub lockerroom if he keeps it up until September. Already people are talking to him about the hitting streak of Kansas City's George Brett.
Last night, someone recalled Brett saying that he was ia such a great hitting groove that be was actually able to see the stitches on the baseball as it was coming toward the plate. Was this also the case with Manny?
"If I was hitting .400. 1 might also see the spin of the ball." Trillo answered with a grin. "But, the only time I see stitches on a baseball is when I field it before throwing it to first base.
"Right now, I don't care who is pitching. I know I'm going to get at least one hit on the night. It's a different feeling. All I want to do is hit the ball hard. If I do that three or four times in a game and all of them are caught, that's fine with me. Just as long as I keep swinging good."
The other day. Trillo walked off the field after playing a doubleheader and glanced at a calendar that told him the dog days of summer were upon him. Funny, all he felt was great.