Corpus Christi Caller - July 18, 1980

Carlton smokes Astros, 2-1


By The Associated Press


HOUSTON – Philadelphia catcher Bob Boone says "great ability” is the key to Steve Carlton being the hottest pitcher in baseball, and his development of a slider hasn't hurt, either.


Carlton stopped the Houston Astros on seven hits for a 2-1 victory that lifted the Phillies’ left-hander to 15-4 on the year.


"He came in real good shape and has been super since day one of spring training,” Boone said. "He's the most consistent pitcher I've been around. He's changed some since he's come into the league, when he was more of a power pitcher. He's developed a good slider and has used it all year."


Carlton had some control problems, which Boone attributed to the mound, but he still struck out 10 while walking three.


"It (the mound) gave him a lot of problems,” Boone said. “There was a flat spot and it was like pitching uphill Consequently, we had to stay with the fastball a lot more.”


The Phillies' ace did resort to his off-speed pitches when the Astros mounted a ninth-inning threat. Rafael Landestoy's two-out triple scored Luis Pujols, who had singled, and broke Carlton's shutout.


But Carlton got Terry Puhl to ground out to first on a slider to assure the win.


Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green was especially happy with the complete game, which gave the injury-troubled Phillies' bullpen some rest.


"It was a darn good performance when we needed it,” he said.


The loss put the Astros one-half game behind Los Angeles. The Dodgers beat Chicago, 3-1, in an afternoon game.


Bake McBride opened the scoring in the fourth inning when he singled, stole second and came around on two wild pitches by Joe Niekro, 10-8. In the sixth, McBride singled again, stole second, advanced to third on Garry Maddox's hit and scored on Boone's grounder.


Left fielder Jose Cruz, the Astros' leader in runs batted in with 52 and in butting at .308, left the game in the fourth inning after a collision with center fielder Cesar Cedeno. Cruz had a bruised leg and hip.


The extent of the injury was not known.