Wilmington Evening Journal - July 22, 1980
Home-plate umpire takes the bloom off Phils’ Rose
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
CINCINNATI – It was the perfect spot for Pete Rose. The Phillies, given up for dead when the ninth inning began, had scored once and the tying run was on second base.
Rose, a lifetime Red who came over to the Phils when his hometown team didn't think he was worth his asking price two years ago, dug in against Cincinnati reliever Tom Hume.
The 27,177 Riverfront Stadium fans, used to cheering Rose in these situations so many times before, were almost afraid to boo. They, too, knew what he could do.
But, according to Phillies Manager Dallas Green, umpire Dave Pallone took the bat out of Rose's hands and eventually the game out of the Phils' grasp. Pallone called a second strike on Rose on a pitch almost everybody, including Rose and Green, felt was a ball.
"When he called that pitch a strike, Pete had to swing defensively," Green said after the Reds' 5-4 victory. "If Pete can trust the umpire, he'll win out in those situations. But he couldn't trust him tonight."
And so Hume won out, getting Rose on a soft fly to left before Greg Gross hammered a liner to second baseman Ron Oester to end the game.
"That was the key to the game," agreed Reds Manager John McNa-mara, who wasn't as anxious to blame the umpire for any shortsightedness. "Rose is a good contact man and Hume hung with him. Sure, I had some anxious moments in the ninth."
Larry Bowa had started them with a one-out triple down the right-field line. When pinch-hitter Bake McBride doubled to left-center to bring the Phils within a run, the drama reached its climax.
Then Pallone's call made everything else anticlimactic.
The Reds broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh, sandwiching a pair of runs around two rain delays, which lasted 56 minutes.
Johnny Bench, who had singled home an earlier run, doubled home Ken Griffey for a 4-3 lead before the rains came for the second time.
When the tarps were hauled off, Dan Driessen punched an inside 6 itch from reliever Kevin Saucier left to score Bench.
“Little did you figure that Driessen's little bloop single would be the game winner," said Green. "That's why you can't ever give up extra runs.”
Green was unhappy with loser Randy Lerch's inability to get Bench for the final out in the seventh. Lerch is now 3-12.
"I told him to pitch to Bench," said Green. "Randy's got to make the one pitch in the critical situation and he didn't do it. He had pitched out of two jams – he had pitched super – but there you've got the game on the line with a guy you can get out."
But Lerch didn't get him out that time. And Saucier, who is murder on left-handers, couldn't get Driessen, either.
"Danny was lucky on that ball," said McNamara. "He fought it off his hands and just dumped it out there."
And helped dump the Phils three games out of first, behind both Montreal and Pittsburgh.
Lerch again had early problems. In 19 starts, Lerch has allowed 23 runs (19 earned) in the first inning alone for a 9.00 ERA. Opposing batters have rapped Lerch for 32 first-inning hits, including five homers. Thirteen others have walked.
So when Lerch emerged from the first inning behind only 1-0 on Dave Conception's double, a wild pitch and George Foster's sacrifice fly to right, the Phillies drew a thankful breath.
Cincinnati made it 2-0 in the third. Dave Collins led off with a walk, Conception singled to right and Ken Griffey bunted down the third-base line.
The ball was headed foul, but Mike Schmidt played it anyway and appeared to throw out the fleet Griffey at first – at least the instant replay looked that way.
But first-base umpire Satch Davidson called Griffey safe, loading the bases with nobody out and Foster heading toward the plate.
In normal times, that was tantamount to disaster. But Lerch bore down and got Foster, who is having an off-year, on a shallow fly to right for the first out.
Bench rapped a single to left, scoring Collins, but Schmidt took left fielder Gross' throw and nailed Concepcion at the plate for the second out. Ray Knight's fly to left ended the inning with minimal damage.
The Phils tied it 2-2 in the fourth when Mike LaCoss walked Schmidt and Keith Moreland drilled a fastball over the wall in left-center for his fourth homer.
Then the Phils took the lead in the sixth with a two-out rally. Garry Maddox singled to right and went to second when LaCoss tried a pickoff and threw the ball into the stands instead.
After Manny Trillo walked, Bowa punched the ball over Concepcion's glove into shallow left and Maddox beat Foster's throw to the plate. Lerch ended the inning with a 370-foot drive to the wall in right-center.
But the lead didn't last long. Knight singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth and Driessen walked. Junior Kennedy, hitting .320 in limited appearances, drilled a double to left, scoring Knight with the tying run.
As Hector Cruz came up to bat for LaCoss, the rains suddenly appeared – and disappeared almost as quickly. After a 14-minute rain relay, Cruz struck out and Dave Collins popped out to end the inning.
But the Reds' two-run seventh proved too much to surmount.
"Randy's got no physical problems," said Green, repeating a .familiar theme. "He's got a lot of talent. The thing is to get him channeled right. Either he loses it too fast in the bullpen or finds it after the horse has been stolen."
The barn door was ajar once again last night.
EXTRA INNINGS – Rose has one hit, a first-inning single last night, in his last 15 at-bats... Trillo's hit in eight straight games