Wilmington News Journal - August 30, 1980

Phils nip San Diego behind Christenson


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – Larry Christenson sat in a St. Louis coffee shop about two months ago and talked about the Phillies' homestretch.


"Nobody really is counting on me, but I have a feeling I am really going to be able to help the team the last six weeks," the right-hander said. "After all, I will be rested and fully recovered by then."


At the time, it seemed like idle chatter. Christenson had been on the disabled list since May 25, having undergone surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.


Christenson gave his teammates a strong arm for nearly seven innings last night and Tug McGraw gained his 15th save as the Phils edged San Diego 3-2.


"I guess I got a little tired in the seventh, but it's great when you have a guy like Tug to come in," said Christenson, who has won two of this three decisions since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 11.


The victory was the Phils' second in a row and got this 11-day road trip off on a successful start.


“Christenson did a good job for us," said Manager Dallas Green. "I think he got a little tired in the seventh, but you can't ask for a better job than the one Tug gave us."


McGraw put out the first when the Padres scored two runs in the seventh and then pitched out of a tense jam in the eighth. He put the Padres down in order in the ninth.


The Phils jumped in front in the second inning against loser Steve Mura and appeared to be breezing until the seventh.


"I thought L.C. was losing it some in the seventh," said catcher Keith Moreland, who had a double and drove in a run with a single. "He was missing with some of his pitches and was getting his fastball up. You can't ask for a better effort, though. His fastball was outstanding."


“I am feeling strong each time out," said Christenson, whose record is 5-1. "I would have liked to go the distance, but I can't complain about the outing."


The Phils vaulted' in front 2-0 in the second, then tacked on another run in the third.


With one down, Moreland doubled to left, went to third on Garry Mad-dox' single to right and scored on Manny Trillo's infield out. Maddox, who had stolen second and gone to third on Trillo's out, scored when Larry Bowa singled to deep shortstop. Christenson kept the rally alive with a single to left and Pete Rose followed with a single to left, but Gene Richards threw Bowa out . at the plate. It was the 16th time this year Richards has had an assist from the outfield.


Bake McBride opened the third with a walk. With Mike Schmidt batting, McBride was caught trying to steal second, but was safe when Tim Flannery dropped the ball for an error. After Greg Luzinski fanned, Moreland singled to right and it was 3-0.


The Padres mounted several threats in the first six innings, but poor base running and other fundamental breakdowns cost them.


In the second, with runners on first and second and one out, Luis Salazar was picked off second base by Christenson. In the sixth, Richards raced to second with nobody out on Rose's error, but when Ozzie Smith hit a chopper back to the mound, Christenson quickly turned and Richards was trapped between second and third – an easy out.


The Phils loaded the bases iri the seventh with two out and chased Mura in favor of Mike Armstrong, but the right-handed reliever got Moreland to fly to right to end the threat. With one down, Rose bunted for a single. McBride flied out, but Mura walked Schmidt and Luzinski.


Padres pulled to within a run in the seventh and it took solid relief by Tug McGraw to choke off the rally.


Salazar ripped a single to left to open the inning and Gene Tenace walked. Flannery flied to left, but Christenson was finished when pinch-hitter Broderick Perkins lined a double down the left-field line to score Salazar and send Tenace to third.


McGraw was immediately summoned. Tenace scored when Richards grounded out and the threat ended with Smith also grounding out.


McGraw was brilliant in the eighth.


EXTRA POINTS – The Padres have a 30-29 record here, but are 23-46 on the road... Randy Jones, originally scheduled to start last night's game for the Padres, proba bly won't pitch again this year. The former Cy Young Award winner is suffering from severe tendonitis in his shoulder... Umpire Lee Weyer, out most of the season because of illness, was back in action last night, handling third base.