Montreal Gazette - July 2, 1980
Phils just one back of Expos after extra innings triumph
By Ian MacDonald of The Gazette
They're still leading the National League East, but the collar is tightening.
Whether it is more difficult to be the chaser or the chasee is a moot point, but the Expos appear to play better when they are in the former role.
Though they were fortunate to be in the ballgame through the first five innings, the Expos had numerous opportunities later and eventually saw last night's game go down the drain because of a misplay.
What it all amounts to is that the Phillies have cut the Expos' lead to one game after winning 5-4 in 11 innings last night for their second straight win here.
Not a memorable one
This second outing for Larry Parrish since he was disabled June 2, is not a game that the third baseman will cherish among his fondest souvenirs. In fact, LP probably wishes he could forget about the whole thing – pretend it was a nightmare.
Unfortunately, there were 33,761 witnesses who will testify that in real, live action Parrish missed a thrown ball from Gary Carter and Bob Boone had time to scramble to his feet and run home which what was eventually the winning run.
Randy Lerch, who became the first lefthander to beat the Expos since April 27 – 14 decisions – was out of the game by the time Pete Rose hit what proved to be the big hit of the game.
There had been plenty of hits because Rose's bouncer between third and short in the 11th was the 17th for the Phillies and the fourth for Rose.
Keith Moreland, substitute catcher playing something of a killer role in this series, singled to open the 11th against Woodie Fryman. Pinch runner Lonnie Smith was forced by Greg Gross.
With two out, Bob Boone, who is being replaced behind the plate by Moreland for a few days because he was in such a terrible batting slump, pinch-hit a single. Now the Phillies had runners at first and second with two away.
That's when Rose came through – again. Ron LeFlore charged the ball but Gross didn't hesitate an instant and that proved good thinking when LeFlore's throw took Carter to the first base side of the plate.
Boone kept going for third on the throw with Rose hustling into second. Carter threw to third and while the runner was safe, Parrish let the ball get away and Boone scored.
Warren Cromartie's leadoff homer in the Expos' 11th made the score close but they couldn't come up with anything more.
"I messed up," Parrish said, more or less. LP was zero for four at the plate and the one time he reached on a walk with the score tied in the seventh, he was promptly picked off.
"When I saw Gary was going to make a throw, I looked towards second. I didn't think there was a play at third. The ball hit my glove and got away."
Actually, the Expos were fortunate to be close and manager Dick Williams was the first to admit that.
"Lerch pitched an excellent game," Williams said. "We were lucky we had the tie after five. Then we had the chances but didn't capitalize."
Scott Sanderson nipped Lerch 1-0 in a dandy pitching duel at Philadelphia last Thursday. Scott used 80 per cent fastballs to win that two-hitter.
"He was throwing mostly fastballs tonight," Williams said, ' and they were hitting the first pitch. We tried to change it later but they were hitting everything."
The Phillies had two runners in each of the first four innings and they hadn't scored. They had four straight hits to open the fifth and the only reason that didn't launch a huge inning was that Rose ran through a stop sign at third and LeFlore's throw and Carter's tag nailed him.
"Rose ran through the stop and that helped us," Williams said. "Sanderson just had an off night. He was coming out after that inning anyway, even if we were still ahead 2-1."
Another reason that the Phillies didn't have an inning comparable to the seven-run burst they used to take the first game of the series in the fourth inning Monday, was that Andre Dawson made an absolutely superlative running catch to rob Greg Luzinski of extra bases and multiple runs batted in.
Luzinski must have wondered because in the first extra inning LeFlore leaped high against the fence to rob him again.
LeFlore had his defensive moments but the aggressive leadoff man was the last out in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings with runners in scoring position.
Asked if this was vindication for the heart breaker he lost Thursday, Lerch said, "if I'd lost this one... " his voice trailed off.
"I just felt like I deserved it tonight. Sanderson pitched well last time "
Lerch is only 3-10 even after this one and he talked of a message given him by pitching coach Herb Starrette recently.
"He just told not to worry about my record," Lerch revealed. "He said, 'somewhere along the line, you're going to win a big one for us.'
"I think this was a big one. We're only one out and we have 'ace' – Steve Carlton – going tomorrow (tonight)."
EXPOSES – Warren Cromartie rode his .353 average to the Expos' player of the month award for June. Also gaining votes were Steve Rogers (4-1); Ron LeFlore (.315, 23 steals, 24 runs); Andre Dawson (.313, 11 steals, 21 RBIs, including six game-winners)...