Wilmington Evening Journal - August 8, 1980

Phils dazzle Cards, fans with fielding


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – The game was filled with the flashing of spikes and the slapping of leather. One sparkling play followed another and the crowd, hoarse from cheering one play, was left open-mouthed at the next, which often topped the last.


Phillies center fielder Garry Maddox chased down two early liners with greyhound speed and grace. Third baseman Mike Schmidt made a barehand pickup and pinpoint throw to end one inning, then snuffed a St. Louis rally with another fielding gem.


First baseman Pete Rose snared a vicious St. Louis liner and dug out a short hop with runners on base.


The Cardinals, too, sparkled in the field, racing in for sinking liners and making crisp throws on high choppers.


"That was a great game for the fans," said Rose after the Phillies had beaten the Cardinals 3-2 for pitcher Steve Carlton's 17th victory before 31,397 fans at Veterans Stadium. "Some offense, a lot of defense – that makes for a good game."


And it fell to Rose, never considered much more than a journeyman fielder who worked hard on his defense, to make the play of the game.


It came in the seventh inning, with the Phillies protecting a 3-1 lead and the Cards' Ken Reitz on second base. Pinch-hitter Keith Smith broke his bat lifting a weak foul near the Phillies' dugout. Rose apparently had no chance to make the catch but went after the popup anyway. He finally dove and snared the ball with the tip of his mitt just before it hit the ground.


The crowd, which figured it had seen everything, gave Charlie Hustle an ovation and Rose reappeared from the dugout to acknowledge the applause.


"I didn't think I could get to it because it wasn't hit high enough," Rose said later, "but with a guy on second, you gotta go for it. But I didn't do anything I don't always do."


Which is exactly what Phils Manager Dallas Green thought.


"How about Pete?" Green said, shaking his head. "That's what makes Pete Rose Pete Rose. An all-out effort on every play, regardless of the injury possibilities. He wanted the out."


And Rose got it, along with some scrapes and bruises on his elbows and knee.


"I don't rate my plays," said Rose when asked to. "A scoop play, with the bases loaded, is better, I think. But a play like that (the diving catch) is exciting for the fans.


"It comes down to if you have the gumption to dive for it. A lot of guys don't like to dive. But I dive on the bases, so it's nothing new for me."


Something else that wasn't new last night was Carlton beating his ex-teammates. He is now 4-0 against the Cardinals this season, with a 1.32 earned run average, and is 27-8 lifetime against them.


But Carlton might not have notched his league-high 17th victory last night if it wasn't for Tug McGraw's one-pitch relief in the top of the ninth.


Carlton, who had allowed the Cards' first run – which was unearned – in the fifth, watched Mike Ramsey drive home his second run of the night with a two-out single to right in the ninth. The hit scored George Hendrick, who had opened the inning with a double.


Carlton got an 0-2 count on pinch-hitter Steve Swisher, then walked him. Green had seen enough and, though the fans booed him, brought in McGraw to face Tom Herr.


McGraw, who has four saves in eight appearances since coming off the disabled list July 17, got Herr to hit his first pitch to short for the game-ending force play.


"I thought Lefty had had enough," Green said of the move. "He lost a little stuff in the eighth and when he started struggling with his control, it was time to make a move.


"Tug's done the job for me every time I've brought him in."


For awhile, it didn't look as if anybody would score last night, what with the dearth of offense and the ample defensive prowess on both sides.


In fact, neither team managed a hit until the fifth. With the Phils' defense erasing one batter after another, the Cards had only one baserunner to that point – Keith Hernandez, who walked in the first inning.


But that was one more baserunner than the Phillies had. Cardinal starter John Fulgham had mowed down the first 12 men he faced.


"Fulgham pitched well," said Rose. "He just ran into the best pitcher in the league." The Cards broke the scoreless deadlock in the fifth. Schmidt, who had made a super play on Ted Simmons' chopper, was handcuffed by Terry Landrum's easy chopper with one cut and booted it for a two-base error.


Landrum moved to third on Ken Reitz's chopper and scored on Ramsey's broken-bat chopper to short that Larry Bowa barehanded but threw late to first.


It was, incredibly, the first hit of the game. And it looked like it might be the last.


Hitless in his last 14 at-bats, Schmidt ended Fulgham's perfect-game bid by walking on four pitches to open the Phils' half of the fifth, but Garry Maddox wiped him out on a force play.


Manny Trillo picked up the Phils' first hit when he doubled down the left-field line, sending Maddox to third.


Bowa then hit a soft liner over third and both Maddox and Trillo scored, in relay fashion, one behind the other, as Landrum's throw to the plate was late and wide.


“Manny had a better angle on the ball," said Green. "He saw it was a hit. But those runners were pretty close to each other, weren't they?"


Carlton followed with a single that scored Bowa for the eventual winning run.


Though the Cards came close in the ninth, the team that scored 14 runs Wednesday night could manage only two last night and the Phils closed their homestand 8-4.


Now the Phillies go to Pittsburgh 'o clay four games against the team that is two games ahead of them.


"We're due to play good against Pittsburgh," said Rose, who played very well indeed against St. Louis last night.


EXTRA INNINGS - Phils snapped a 18-inning scoreless streak with their three-spot in the fifth... Phils picked up a half-game on Montreal and Pittsburgh on the 8-4 homestand... Rose's next run scored will tie him with Eddie Collins for 10th place on the all-time list... Greg Luzinski will accompany the Phils on their 12-game, three-city road trip that begins tonight in Pittsburgh with Dick Ruthven facing the Pirates' Rick Rhoden... All 12 games will be telecast on Channel 17, with the three games in Chicago next Monday through Wednesday being telecast live in the afternoon and then replayed on tape at 8 each night.