Philadelphia Inquirer - August 20, 1980
Phillies go for No. 7
The Phillies, who won their sixth in a row last night, go for a season-high seventh tonight when they take on noted broadcaster Jerry Coleman and the San Diego Padres in the second game of their three-game series at Veterans Stadium, starting at 7:35.
Nino Espinosa (3-3), whose slow stuff baffled the Mets in a five-hitter Thursday and started the Phils on their five-game sweep at Shea Stadium, is scheduled to face Juan Tyrone Eichelberger (3-0), a careful sort who generally takes about 12 minutes between pitches.
PHILLIES vs. San Diego at Veterans Stadium (Radlo-KYW-1060, 7:35 p.m.)
Phillies Clinic, Barry Playground, 18th and Bigler Streets, 1 p.m.
Reading Phillies vs. Buffalo Bisons at Reading Municipal Stadium, Route 61 and Center Avenue, Reading, 7:30 p.m.
Phillies pound out 6th straight
Padres bow, 7-4, to 15 hits
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
And on the sixth day, George Vuko-vich got a big hit.
The line drives continued to fall in as the Phillies returned to Veterans Stadium last night. They rolled past the San Diego Padres, 7-4, collecting 15 hits along the way. They had a collection of stars.
There was Larry ("I got nothing to say") Bowa. There was Manny (Home Run) Trillo. There was George (Which One?) Vukovich.
In the end, the Phillies had their sixth victory in a row (matching their season high), climbed 10 games above the .500 level for the first time in 1980, and tightened another screw in the National League East race.
The win moved the Phils within half a game of second-place Montreal and 2Vi games of first-place Pittsburgh, both of whom lost last night.
Meantime, the Padres (16-23 since the All-Star break) kept slip-sliding away in their race with the Cubs for the bottom of the National League.
The Phillies did nothing to turn off the stream of hits that grew with the five-game sweep of the Mets; they have 86 in the six-game streak. And they have homered in 10 straight games, three shy of a team record.
Trillo, still stinging the ball after all these weeks, supplied last night's home run, a drive that tied the game, 4-4, in the fifth inning. He also had a double in his five trips to the plate. He is batting .325 and has hit three home runs in the last five games.
"It's kind of a funny feeling," he said later. "I come up to the plate and I have confidence in myself. All I want to do is hit a ball good. If I don't get a hit, that's fine with me, because I know, sooner or later, the ball will fall in."
Evidently the feeling is catching. Bowa came up with three hits and two RBIs – including the one that eventually won the game last night. Bob Boone ripped a pair of doubles. Vukovich – George the rookie, not John the veteran – forgot his .205 average and contributed a pinch-hit, two-run double that added some padding.
The recipient of this hunk of hitting was Dick Ruthven, who pitched six-hit, six-walk baseball for seven innings and got his 11th win. He also got a lot of help from Tug McGraw, who threw his way out of a tight spot in the eighth inning en route to his 13th save, his sixth since coming off the disabled list July 17.
This game did not, however, begin like a Phillies landslide.
Gene Richards, the Padres' leadoff man, stung Ruthven's second pitch for a line single to left, and then Boone's bad pickoff peg to first let him hustle around to third. That sequence set the tone for a first inning in which the Padres dug up three runs off three hits.
So the Phillies found themselves in a quick, 3-0 hole. But, then, they were facing the Padres, not the Pirates.
They got one run back in the second, Bake McBride opening the inning with a double and scoring on Bowa's two-out single. They got another in the third – Lonnie Smith getting to third on a single, a steal (No. 28) and a groundout and scoring on Mike Schmidt's single.
The Padres tacked on a fourth run in the fourth, when third baseman Luis Salazar (playing in only his fourth game) tripled past the charging McBride and scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Craig Stimac (also playing in only his fourth game). But, again, the Phillies answered with a single run, Smith's sacrifice fly scoring Boone, who had opened the inning with his second double.
Finally, in the fifth, the Phils got more than one run off Bob Shirley, the Padres' starter, and the lead as well.
With two out, Trillo put his first pitch against the likeness of City Hall above the bullpen in left. The ball was probably still bouncing around out there when Garry Maddox followed with a double. He scored the go-ahead run moments later when Bowa lashed his double. It was 5-4 then, and time for Shirley to leave.
Ruthven, on the other hand, had settled down and was hanging tough, slipping a disputed called third strike past Jerry Mumphrey with two on and two out in the seventh.
But when the Phillies had San Diego reliever Mike Armstrong on the same ropes in the bottom of the inning, Dallas Green made an interesting move – to Vukovich. With Bowa (single, stolen base) on second and Boone (intentional walk) on first with two out, Green went for this unlikely left-handed pinch-hitter, the 24-year-old rookie who was at Reading a year ago, to face the right-handed Armstrong.
"I suspect," Green said, "if I'd hit (Greg) Gross or (Del) Unser, they (the Padres) would have made a (pitching) change."
As it turned out, the Padres stuck with Armstrong, and Vukovich – who heard mostly groans as he walked to the plate – knocked his second pitch to the base of the wall in leftenter, cleaning the bases. True, he was thrown out at third. But he had done more than his job.
"It felt excellent," said Vukovich, a .219 pinch hitter this season. "It was a long time coming.
"Yeah, I heard everybody (disappointed fans when he came up). But you expect it when you take out a pitcher who's doing well and put in a guy who's hitting .200. I heard all that, and I'm glad I came through."
McGraw then climbed out of a one-out, second-and-third situation in the eighth – fanning Richards for the third out – and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
NOTES: The! Phillies' ' next 18 games, home and away, are against the three West Coast teams – the Padres, Giants and Dodgers.... The Padres pranced into town after losing every game of a seven-game homestand, including a 20-inning marathon with the Houston Astros.... One year ago, the Phillies were 60-55, in fifth place, six games out.... Only one rightfielder, the Giants' Jack Clark, has more RBIs than the Phillies' McBride.