Corpus Christi Times - July 18, 1980

Funny mound no joke to Astros


By Bruce Lowitt, Associated Press Sports Writer


It was all uphill for Steve Carlton Thursday night.


“They have a funny kind of a mound here. It sort of moves around on you," Philadelphia's ace pitcher said after beating Houston 2-1 In the Astrodome to raise his season record to 15-4, the winningest mark in the major leagues.


“When you throw," Carlton went on, "it feels as if your front foot is higher than your back foot. I was constantly adjusting… trying to throw strikes." He threw enough of them to garnish his seven-hitter with 10 strikeouts.


Elsewhere in the National League, Los Angeles beat Chicago 3-1, St Louis battered San Diego 1S-3, Montreal defeated Cincinnati 6-1, Pittsburgh edged San Francisco 3-2 and New York blanked Atlanta 6-0.


Carlton had a five-hit shutout going into the ninth, then gave up a leadoff single to Luis Pujols and a two-out triple to Rafael Landestoy.


“The pitch was a slider,” he said of Landestoy’s blast to left-center field.  “That was the one pitch I didn’t want to throw.  It was the worst pitch I could have possibly thrown.”


The pitch was, of course, called by Bob Boone, the Phillies’ catcher.  “He’s doing a great job.  He’s come a long way,” Carlton said – then added with a laugh, “… except for that one pitch.”


"He's the most consistent pitcher I’ve been around," Boone said. “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.”


Bake McBride singled in the fourth and sixth innings and scored both Philadelphia runs. He came around the first time on a stolen base and two wild pitches by Joe Niekro, then scored the winning run on Boone's grounder.


The loss dropped the Astros one-half game behind Los Angeles in the duel for first place In the West Division.


“I love shutouts. I love those sons of guns," Don Sutton of Los Angeles said after coming within one out of getting the 53rd of his major league career. But he was delighted to settle for a three-hit victory.


He had a one-hitter going into the ninth in Chicago's cozy Wrigley Field, but after Mike Tyson singled and raced to second as Sutton threw out Ivan DeJesus, Lenny Randle singled for the Cubs’ run.


Sutton said he thought about trying for a force at second “If I had a good grip on the ball I would have thrown — but I'm not about to make some wild-haired throw and risk runners on second and third in this ball park," he said.

“I’ll tell you this, I'm not half as disappointed about the shutout as if I'd tried to do something stupid."


“We’ve gotten an awful lot of runs in some games and not enough in others," said St. Louis Manager Whiley Herzog. Against San Diego, the Cards got an awful lot of runs — 10 of them to be exact.


“How many times a year are you going to see it where they give you runs like that?" St Louis’ Keith Hernandez wondered. "We got a lot of free runs. That can be the only time it happens like that all year."


Hernandez had four runs batted in, George Hendrick three and Garry Templeton two with and the latter two contributed a home run to the 17-hit assault.


Ron LeFlore drilled three hits and swiped three buses while Scott Sanderson scattered four Cincinnati hits to keep the Expos on top in the East, one-half game ahead of Pittsburgh.


Jim Bibby took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning then Larry Herndon singled and Darrell Evans homered. Before the inning ended, Bibby was out of the game.


“You go out to win every game you pitch. Anytime you don't win a ball game you can't get any satisfaction,” Bibby, a loser only once this year, said after failing to pick up his 12th victory.


Elliot Maddox had a run-scoring single in the New York’s foud-run first inning and added a two-run double in the third in the win over the Braves.