Philadelphia Inquirer - August 21, 1980
Phillies’ victory streak snapped at 6
Padres rally for 7-5 win
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
It started in the style that the Phillies had come to know and love and the San Diego Padres had just come to know.
The Phillies broke loose for six hits and five runs in the first inning. The Padres were facing another long evening behind a pitcher named Juan Tyrone Eichelberger. The battle lines, such as they usually are when the Phillies and Padres play, had been drawn.
But the Phillies let that five-run lead slip away. The Padres began running the bases in ordinary fashion. And, suddenly, in the ninth, there was Rollie Fingers winning a vintage duel with Pete Rose to preserve a 7-5 Padres victory.
Thus, the natural order of things was overturned last night at the Vet. The Phillies' hit parade of a winning streak was stopped at six games. The Padres' latest losing streak was cut off at eight. But the National League East race stayed the same.
The Padres won because they got some excellent hitting from Dave Winfield (single, two-run homer) and Luis Salazar (3-for-S, all singles), a rookie siphoned out of the Pirates' organization.
The Phillies lost because Nino Espinosa (4 innings, 9 hits, 7 runs, 3 earned runs) couldn't hold the fort with a 5-0 lead, and those Phillies bats were, for the most part, shut down by Eichelberger, John Curtis and Fingers after the first.
"If we played like we played the last six games, we would have won. It's that simple," said Dallas Green. "But we didn't. It's that simple."
"We played poorly tonight," Rose said, "and we still had a chance to win in the ninth inning. You just hate to lose a game that you've got a 5-0 lead in."
Indeed, the Phillies had a fine opportunity to change the outcome in the ninth against Fingers.
Green sent Greg Gross up to hit for Warren Brusstar, who pitched three innings of scoreless relief, and Gross opened the inning by poking a single to center. Next, Del Unser, hitting for Lonnie Smith, rocketed a ball off the top of the fence in left-center. The game was only a matter of inches from being even.
"Unser's ball missed (going over) by – what – four inches?" San Diego manager Jerry Coleman said later.
Nonetheless, Jerry Mumphrey played it smartly on the carom, Gross stumbled as he rounded second and Unser simply had a long single. The Phils had runners on first and second, nobody out, Rose up.
Rose tried to bunt the runners over, but couldn't. The count went to 3-2, and Rose fouled off a couple of breaking balls. Then, with the runners moving, he struck out, swinging, on a low pitch that knifed into the dirt.
"After failing to bunt, you really want to get a base hit," said Rose, who had two of them in the game. "You're kind of revved up, I guess. I just didn't think he (Fingers) would throw a ball in the dirt."
He shrugged. "I don't know how many times a year I'll strike out with guys running. It just goes to show you that you can't hit a ball in the dirt – unless you've got a golf club."
In this instance, San Diego catcher Craig Stimac made a shaky throw to third, but Salazar speared it and tagged Gross to get the second out. With the tension considerably less, Mike Schmidt grounded out to hand Fingers his 16th save.
"So we got out of it in the ninth," Coleman said. "Pete missed a bad pitch. Salazar made a great play to pick up that throw and make the tag at the same time. Not bad for an outfielder."
And not a bad way for a team that started down, 5-0, to end a game.
The Phillies required only three pitches from Eichelberger – a single by Smith, a wild pitch and a single by Rose – to get off to a 1-0 start. Bake McBride and Larry Bowa also provided RBI singles to make it 3-0.
With two out, the Phillies had the bases loaded for Espinosa, who dumped a single into shallow right field to score two more runs and fill out his 5-0 cushion.
The Phillies would finish with 10 hits, but only four of them coming after that first outburst. They would also finish with four errors.
The Padres, meantime, were just being themselves. Eichelberger, who had struck out in all 14 of his previous turns at bat, avoided setting a major league record with No. 15 and actually hit a long fly to right. Winfield, of all people, was thrown out at second when somehow he thought – perhaps due to Manny Trillo's head fake that a ground single was a fly to McBride in right.
The merriment ended with a six-run fifth for the Padres, however.
Winfield uncorked his 14th home run with Salazar aboard. The Padres then loaded the bases with two out on a hit, an error by Espinosa and a walk. Pinch-hitter Broderick Perkins slithered a broken-bat grounder up the middle that Bowa misplayed to score one run.
Green brought in Kevin Saucier, who gave up a two-run single to Gene Richards before Dickie Noles was rushed into the game. And then Salazar cranked out his second hit of the inning to give the Padres a two-run edge that not even Pete Rose could change.
Greg Luzinski has been cleared to play by Dr. Phillip Marone, the Phillies team physician, but the leftfielder remains on the disabled list. In short, Luzinski's right knee is fine, repaired by surgery, but the hot Phils must tinker with their roster to find a spot for him by Sept. 1. "The problem is," Marone said last night, "the Bull is ready right now. He can run, hit – everything. He has not had a problem, swelling, in 10 days. He's now to the point where he can do everything." Marone said he passed this information on to Green yesterday. "The pain is nothing," Marone said. "He (Luzinski) says he feels a tight sensation when he flexes the knee all the way back. But that's nothing; that's because he has a previous scar. I said, 'Bull, it's your decision. Tell the powers that be. I'm going to tell them you're ready. It's not my decision anymore.'"