Reading Eagle - August 4, 1980
Smith’s Legs Carrying Phils
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia Phillies aren’t waiting for their home run hitters to get back in the groove.
Not with a guy like Lonnie Smith in the lineup.
The speedy 23-year-old rookie, playing for the injured Greg Luzinski, stole three bases Sunday and scored three times as the Phillies ran and walked past the Cincinnati Reds 8-4.
Reds starter Bruce Berenyi, 2-2, exited with no outs in the fifth after two straight walks filled the bases and one run already in. The Phillies exploded for five more, climaxed by Bob Boone’s three-run double.
“I don’t care if we don’t hit another home run,” said Phillies manager Dallas Green. “We don’t have any home-run hitters other than one guy, and he’s not hitting them now. We can’t sit back and wait.”
Mike Schmidt hit his National League-leading 27th home run Tuesday, and the Phillies haven’t had one in 34 innings since.
Smith and veteran Pete Rose at the top of the batting order have given the Phillies a speedy one-two punch. Twice Sunday, Rose singled up the middle to drive in Smith after he had stolen second.
Smith now has a club-leading 20 steals and 10 in a row without being caught. Since June 22, he has pilfered 16 bases, going on to score 13 times.
“I don’t have power, so I have to make up for it this way (stealing). I’ve been lucky so far,” said Smith, last caught by the Pirates’ Steve Nicosia July 12.
Rose More Aware
“The only thing different (hitting second instead of lead off) is now I’m more aware of the situation, patient – giving him (Smith) more time to make something happen,” said Rose, 3-for-4 with a stolen base himself Sunday.
“I’ve never been a first-ball hitter anyway,” Rose added.
Smith bunted safely to open the Phillies’ fifth and stole second for the third straight time. Rose singled up the middle to score Smith, a carbon copy of the Phillies’ run in the third.
After Rose stole second, Berenyi walked Greg Gross and Schmidt to load the bases. Garry Maddox’s RBI sacrifice fly greeted reliever Mario Soto, who then intentionally walked Manny Trillo and unintentionally walked Ramon Aviles to force in Gross.
Boone then lined down the left field line to clear the bases.
“You can’t walk five men in four-plus innings and win in this league,” said Reds manager John McNamara. “You’ve got to give your fielders a chance to help you.”
Nino Espinosa, 2-2, got the win with the help of four double plays. Ron Reed pitched the last three innings to gain his seventh save.
Singles by Ray Knight, Ken Griffey and Dan Driessen gave the Reds a run in the seventh. In the eighth, Dave Collins and George Foster singled and scored on Driessen’s double to right. Joe Nolan had an RBI single in the second inning for the Reds’ first run.
“When you walk nine men and five score, you can’t fault the hitting,” said McNamara. The Reds came into Sunday’s game having scored only five runs in their last four games, leaving 40 men on base.
With Frank Pastore on the disabled list with a sprained finger and Bill Bonham hampered by lingering shoulder problems, the Reds are counting on the return of Tom Seaver to boost their pitching.
The 238-game winner who fueled the Reds’ pennant drive last year has been out with an inflamed shoulder since July 1. “He’s ready to go. He’s been pitching very well on the sidelines,” McNamara said of Seaver, who will start the first game of a double-header against San Diego tonight.
The Phillies won two of the three games over the weekend, but the Reds took the season series 7-5.
In the Phils’ first, Smith walked, stole second and scored on Gross’ double.
Smith scored again in the third after singling to right and stealing second. Nolan, the Reds’ catcher, threw out Smith, but the rookie knocked the ball out of Dave Concepcion’s glove, and Rose then singled Smith home.
“I tried to steal on the pitch before, but I took a step and slipped,” Smith said of the third inning. “I wasn’t going to go and sorta hesitated, then took off. I slid right into his (Concepcion’s) glove and hit the ball.
“They had him (Smith) on the pitchout and he slid so hard he knocked the ball out of the glove,” said Rose. “He comes in as hard as anyone in the league.
“With Luzinski out of the lineup, we have to create a different situation,” said Rose, pointing out the six-run inning on three hits.
“Pete’s been telling me whenever I want to go, he’ll take the pitch,” said Smith. “I’m not afraid to steal when he’s (Rose) at the plate. If I get a bad jump, he can foul it off or make contact.”
Smith said playing every day has taken some pressure off him. “You have more than one shot. Yesterday (Saturday) I didn’t do so hot, but today I made up for it.”