Wilmington Morning News - July 24, 1980

Phils drop sixth straight as Riverfront woes go on


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent


CINCINNATI – Someday the Phillies will find the key to winning a series from the Reds at Riverfront Stadium. It may not come in this century but it's inevitable.


Isn't it?


Despite Mike Schmidt's record-tying home run, Cincinnati made it a three-game sweep of the Phils last night, winning 7-3 behind rookie Bruce Berenyi and reliever Tom Hume. That ran the Reds' record here against the Phils to 5-1 this season and 31-8 since the middle of the 1974 season.


The Phillies now have lost six straight games and staggered back from a 3-7 road trip. It had been 3-1 before a doubleheader loss in Atlanta started the whirlpool of blow-the-lead losses.


Manager Dallas Green, who reread the riot act to the team after Tuesday night's loss behind Steve Carlton, didn't know what to say after last night's outing.


"You'll have to write what you saw," Green told a troop of writers. "I'm running out of things to say."


Green admitted he didn't know what to do next to turn things around.


"If I knew, I'd have done it," he shrugged. "Sometimes it takes a little patience. I know we're not as bad as we've played the last 10 days."


Green said he had no clue that a six-game losing streak was in the cards after the Phils won two in Houston and beat longtime nemesis Phil Niekro in Atlanta.


"There was no indication that we'd get absolutely nothing the rest of the way," Green said. "After beating those first few guys, you'd have to say that we'd roll over those other guys."


Green hopes today's off-day will cure a few psyches and rest a few bones.


"After a disaster like this, an off day will certainly help," said the manager. "Get things together, relax a little bit. It may be just the ticket."


Or else Green may have to consult Roget's Thesaurus.


The Phillies had Berenyi in trouble in the first inning, loading the bases but managing no runs.


Lonnie Smith, lugging a 1-for-14 collar, opened the game with a single to right and went to second when Pete Rose waited out a walk.


The runners held when Bake McBride flied out to left, which cost the Phils a run when Schmidt flied to the wall in right. Instead of a sacrifice fly, Schmidt was only able to move the fleet Smith to third.


Greg Gross, playing center for the resting Garry Maddox, walked to load the bases but Berenyi caught Manny Trillo, the league's leading hitter, looking at a third strike.


"We had some chances to score," said Green. "But all those things are magnified when you're not hitting."


The Reds went ahead 1-0 in the second. George Foster one-hopped a ground-rule double over the wall in right center and moved to third on Dan Driesen's single to right. Foster scored as Ray Knight grounded into a double play.


But Mike Schmidt put the Phils ahead 2-1 in the third with his shot over the center field wall. In addition to tying Del Ennis for the club's all-time lead with his 259th career homer, it also was his 15th homer at Riverfront Stadium.


Whether it atoned for Schmidt's lackluster play in Tuesday night's game, which included a crucial throwing error and an 0-for-4 that stranded five baserunners, is moot.


"Schmitty gave us an encouraging sign," said Green. "He was swinging the bat pretty good tonight."


Larry Bowa's second single, Espinosa's second sacrifice bunt and Driessen's ensuing throwing error set up the Phils' third run, which scored on Smith's double-play grounder.


Espinosa buried himself in the fourth, walking Foster, Driessen and Knight and watching all three of them score as the Reds regained the lead.


Catcher Joe Nolan, an Atlanta castoff who was 3-for-5 against Espinosa last season, doubled home the tying runs and Junior Kennedy scored Knight with a sacrifice fly.


Warren Brusstar relieved Espinosa in the seventh and ran into immediate trouble. After walking Kennedy, Brusstar watched Berenyi drop a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line.


But Schmidt elected to throw to second base for the force and threw late. Bowa's relay to first also was late, putting two men on base.


The Phils unsuccessfully tried four times to pick off Kennedy at second on the rotation play before Brusstar retired the next two batters on fly balls to left.


But just when there was some light at the end of the tunnel, Ken Griffey hit a gapper to left center that scored both runners and made it 6-3.


Game, set and match to the Reds.