Chicago Tribune - July 11, 1980

Cubs haven’t given up, Krukow vows after loss


By Dave Nightingale, Chicago Tribune Press Service


PHILADELPHIA – Mike Krukow, the articulate Cub right-hander, says he doesn't care what anyone has seen or thought or heard; what anyone is seeing or thinking or hearing.


"We aren't ready to sell the ranch this season," he declared.


Well, the old homestead still seemed to be intact Thursday night, but the Cubs did give away another 40 acres or so in a 5-3 loss.


They made three errors, two of which lead to three Philadelphia runs.


They left six runners on base – all of them in scoring position.


And they lost their 44th game [out of 77] and Krukow's 10th [out of 16].


ONLY THE LAST-PLACE St. Louis Cardinals' continued futility was able to keep the Cubs from falling into last place in the National League East. Again.


Third baseman Lenny Randle's error set up the three-run Phillie fourth that sent Krukow to an early shower [two of the runs were tainted]. And reliever Dick Tidrow's errant throw led to some eighth-inning padding for what had been a one-run Phils' cushion.


Krukow took issue with those who would question the Cubs' interest and desire this season. "Maybe I'm the only guy who sees it," he said. "But every day I see. guys taking extra ground-ball practice and running extra laps. And they're talking baseball, too. Their minds aren't on other things."


WHEN THE BELL RINGS, however, something happens. Which is why the Cubs are 10 games out of first place.


"We lost a dozen games this way, at least," said Cub Manager Preston Gomez. "Because of our defense."


"We have to come up with something to turn things around," Krukow said. "Tonight could have been the night.


"But I'm not going to lay this one on my defense. All I can say is that we got some bad breaks tonight and I just wasn't able to pick up the slack for my teammates."


GOMEZ WAS LESS charitable. "If Randle makes that play in fie fourth, Krukow is out of the inning," he said. "And Tidrow should have known better than to throw the ball in the eighth on a play where he didn't have a chance to get the runner."


The Cubs broke fast against winner Dick Ruthven, scoring two in the first on Randle's single, a triple by Bill Buckner and a single by Mike Vail. [Buckner also had a hustling "leg" double and a single to raise his average to .309.]


Lonnie Smith's triple and Pete Rose's single in the last of the third made it 2-1, but the Cubs regained their two-run edge, moments later, on hits by rookie Jesus Figueroa subbing for the disabled Dave Kingman, Tim Blackwell, and Mike Tyson.


THEN CAME the fatal Phillie fourth.


Krukow walked leadoff hitter Garry Maddox, all hands were safe when Randle booted Manny Trillo's potential double play grounder, and Larry Bowa walked to load the bases with nobody out.


Krukow was a little fat with an 0-and-2 pitch to Bob Boone, who lashed one that exploded off the artificial turf two feet in front of Randle. All Lenny could do after that was wave goodbye to the ball, which went for a two-run single to tie the score.


If the ball had been hit just slightly harder, Randle might have been able to start a triple play. But staggering teams like the Cubs rarely are heir to such fortunes.


Ruthven flied out, but Krukow hit Smith with an inside pitch and was invited to give way to Bill Caudill. "I was a little hot about coming out; I didn't want to do it," said Krukow. "But I guess my track record against Rose indicated I should leave."


ROSE HIT A CAUDILL fastball up the alley In left-center and Jerry Martin came coasting over for a backhand catch to turn a potential three-run triple into a one-run sacrifice fly.


But, as things turned out, the one run [which put the Phils ahead 4-3] was enough.


Just to make sure, however, the Phillies frosted their cake in the eighth when Boone topped a two-out roller down the third base line [for his third hit]; advanced to second when Tidrow's late, off-balance throw sailed into right field; and scored on a pinch single by Greg Gross.


The Cubs, meanwhile, wasted countless scoring chances. Figueroa hit into a rally-killing double play with runners on first and third and one out in the first. Vail couldn't get Buckner home from second with two out in the third; Ivan DeJesus grounded out with two runners in scoring position in the fourth; and Blackwell's two-out double was wasted in the sixth when Tyson bounced out.


THE LAST CUB threat came in the eighth when Buckner led off with a single. Gomez then decided to play for a tie. He called for a sacrifice bunt from cleanup hitter Vail and got it – even though Mike couldn't believe his eyes. "I don't know if everyone was surprised at having me bunt, but I know I was," Vail said. And the strategy went for naught when Martin [the Cubs' top RBI man] and Figueroa couldn't get Buckner home.


"Yeah, we leave six men in scoring position," Gomez conceded. "But that doesn't upset me as much as other things because with the big guy Kingman out of there, we lose a lot of hitting.


"What does upset me is our defense. We had the same problem going all, the way back to spring training. I thought our defense was getting better, but..."