Reading Eagle - August 21, 1980

Phillies Give It Away, Fail to Gain in East


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – San Diego manager Jerry Coleman tried to be kind to his team, but he’s apparently so used to losing he found it difficult.


Coleman’s words, however, wound up in a morass of clichés. A realist, he simply accepted the fact his team ended an eight-game losing streak by the Philadelphia Phillies losing, rather than his team winning.


Any way you slice it, the Padres rallied from a five-run deficit in the first inning to win 7-5, and spoil the Phillies’ chances of further tightening the National League East Division race.


Coleman’s lines went like this:


“It was like playing tennis. If you keep the ball in play long enough he’ll (the opponent) beat himself.”


He referred to the fact that the Phillies made four errors and contributed four unearned runs to the San Diego cause.


Maybe the negative attitude is engendered by a team that had lost 11 of 12 and 16 of 23. Victory sometimes can be hard to accept.


Then, Coleman referred to the ninth inning, when pinch-hitter Greg Gross opened with a single, and pinch-hitter Del Unser hit one high on the centerfield fence that missed a game-tying homer by inches.


Coleman tried to soften his sort of sarcastic approach by noting that his team had never quit despite its adversity.


“They go out there every day to win. We don’t often do it. I’ll wager we’ve lost more frustrating games than any team in the National League.”


Coleman looked at the host of media types invading his office and commented, “I haven’t had this much attention in more than a week-and-a-half.”


Despite Unser’s close call, the Phillies still had a chance in the ninth. Pete Rose came to bat with two on and failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt. He worked the count to 3-2, fouled off a couple of pitches, and then struck out on what Rose said was a bad pitch in the dirt.


The pitch was delivered by Rollie Fingers, who got his 18th save behind a fifth victory in 13 decisions for John Curtis. On Rose’s strikeout, Gross was thrown out attempting to steal third.


The Padres’ big inning went like this:


Salazar opened with a single and scored on Dave Winfield’s 14th home run to make it 5-3. Willie Montanez singled.


After an out, Craig Stimac sacrificed and was safe on an error by starting pitcher Nino Espinosa, 3-4. The runners advanced on an infield out.


Tim Flannery was walked intentionally loading the bases. When Broderick Perkins was safe on an error by shortstop Larry Bowa, Montanez scored and it was 5-4.


Then, came the consecutive singles off separate relievers, and three more runs crossed to complete the inning.


The Phillies, who lost a six-game winning streak and dropped only their second in 10 games, took a 5-0 lead in the first inning on six hits, then didn’t get another hit until the seventh.


In that first, Lonnie Smith singled and eventually scored on Rose’s base hit. Bake McBride knocked in Rose. Bowa singled home McBride, and after Bob Boone was walked intentionally loading the bases, Espinosa flared a single to right for the last two runs.


Coleman and Manager Dallas Green of the Phillies both agreed the key to the game was Rose’s inability to bunt, an unusual swing at Finger’s 3-2 pitch in the dirt.


“It was a bad pitch and I shouldn’t have swung,” said Rose simply.


“But sometimes you have too much confidence in a pitcher. You don’t expect Fingers to walk you and load the bases with Mike Schmidt and Bake McBride coming up.”


Green said he was second guessing himself in that he should have taken Espinosa out sooner, but he let his heart overrule his mind, because he wanted Espinosa to go five innings and get the victory.


“He (Espinosa) pitches his way out of it if he doesn’t make an error,” Green observed.


Green, however, said it all came down to “one hell of a pitch by Fingers to Rose.”


Streaks which ended included the Phillies’ 10 games with at least one home run. Rose played in his 2,785th game, which ties him with Honus Wagner for 11th place on the all-time list.


Lonnie Smith extended his hitting streak through 10 games, Manny Trillo (7) and Bowa (6).