Wilmington Morning News - August 20, 1980

Confident Phils rally, whip Padres 7-4


By Kevin Noonan, Staff Correspondent


PHILADELPHIA – It's amazing what confidence will do for a team.


The Phillies rallied from a 3-0 first-inning deficit to beat the San Diego Padres 7-4 last night at Veterans Stadium for their sixth consecutive victory. They did it with timely hitting and pitching, and in the end, they made it look easy.


"This is the type of game we need," said pitcher Tug McGraw, who recorded his 13th save of the year with two scoreless innings in relief of starter Dick Ruthven (11-8). "A team has to have the character to forget what happened earlier, and just go out and play. And when , we play that way, we're as good or better than any team in baseball."


Larry Bowa, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI, drove in the winning run with his fifth-inning double to left, after Manny Trillo tied the game with his third home run in the last five games.


"I'm stronger this year than I have been in the past, said Trillo. "I've always started strong but had trouble in August and September. I can feel the difference. I'm more confident at the plate. I'm confident that I'll get at least one good ball to hit."


Trillo went 2-for-5, but hit the ball hard all four times.


"Manny's as good a hitter now as in April," said Manager Dallas Green of the Phils. "He didn't play winter ball as much as in the pasL He's playing heavier by some 5-7 pounds, and he's been able to maintain that weight."


The Phils had cut away at the Padres' lead, before Trillo's fifth homer of the year tied the game. The Phils added two insurance runs in the seventh on George Vucko-vich's two-run, pinch-hit double to the gap in left-center field, which scored Bowa and catcher Bob Boone.


Pinch-hitting with Vuckovich, who entered the game hitting a less-than-spectacular .205, was a managerial gem for Green... sort of.


“Well, there was some reason for that," said Green, with a cat-that-ate-the-canary smile.


The reason was simple. Bring in Vuckovich, force Padre Manager Jerry Coleman into bringing in a right-handed pitcher, then bring in the Phils' two left-handed pinch-hitting specialists – Greg Gross and Del Unser. But Coleman elected to pitch to the light-hitting Vuckovich.


“Fortunately, my first guy was good enough," said Green.


His first pitcher, Ruthven, was also good enough, but barely. The righthander settled down after the first two innings, before McGraw came in to shut down the Padres – again, barely.


With one out in the eighth, ex-Phil Dave Cash singled to left. Rookie catcher Craig Stimac followed with a double to the corner in left, and when Cash stopped at third, the Padres had McGraw in trouble. But McGraw got pinch-hitter Gene Tenace to ground weakly back to the mound, then struck out Gene Richards looking to end the inning. McGraw one-two-threed San Diego in the ninth, without a ball leaving the infield.


The losing pitcher was Bob Shirley, who gave up 10 hits and five runs in just 4.2 innings.


“We knew we could get to him," said Trillo, who improved his batting average to .325. "Even early in the game, we were hitting the ball hard. We knew it was a matter of time. We have the confidence to go out there and take our swings. A lot of people on this team are starting to get into good grooves at the plate. When we do that, we can make other pitchers pay."


The Padres made life rough on Ruthven in the first, striking for three runs. Gene Richards led off the game with a single to left field, and moved all the way to third when Bob Boone's attempted pickoff throw to first skipped past Pete Rose and bounced into right field. Richards scored on Ozzie Smith's ground out.


Dave Winfield then walked on four consecutive pitches before taking second on Willie Montanez' ground out. Center fielder Jerry Mumphrey lined a 2-2 pitch into left field to score Winfield and make it 2-0.


Mumphrey stole second, his 26th consecutive steal, with third baseman Luis Salazar at the plate. Ruthven's pitch jammed Salazar, but the rookie fought off the pitch and lifted a base hit to right, bringing in Mumphrey.


The Phils got one run back in the second. Bake McBride led off the inning with a double to the left-field corner, but Shirley got Trillo to line out to Montanez at first before striking out Maddox. With two out, Larry Bowa hit Shirley's first pitch for a Texas League single to right, knocking in McBride.


Mike Schmidt and Lonnie Smith helped bring the Phils back within a run, at 3-2, in the third. Smith led off the inning, and beat out a single to deep shortstop. With Pete Rose at the plate, it appeared as if Shirley had Smith picked off, but the fleet left fielder beat Montanez' high throw to second. After Rose grounded out to Ozzie Smith at short, Schmidt lined a 2-2 pitch into center field to drive in the run.


The Padres got another run in the fourth, when Salazar led off with a triple that bounced under McBride's glove in right field. Rookie catcher Craig Stimac brought in the run with a high sacrifice fly to right.


PHIL-UPS – The Phils' next 19 games are all against the three National League California teams. San Francisco and Los Angeles follow San Diego into the Vet, before the Phils take off on a nine-game West Coast trip... Going into last night's game, the Phils had stolen 40 bases in 56 attempts since the All-Star break, while the opposition has stolen 32 and been caught 26 times... After 116 games last year, the Phils were 60-55, in fifth place, six games out of first place.