Camden Courier-Post - July 26, 1980
Phils snap streak; split doubleheader
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – It was in a climate less than ideal that the Phillies last night opened a 13-game homestand – their longest of the season – with a twi-night doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves.
What with one injured player likening Manager Dallas Green to one of Hitler's contemporaries, an offense that had gone into lengthy recession, and a losing streak that had reached a worrisome six games, the doubleheader played under siege conditions.
Indeed, the current homestand is being considered by many as the Phils' last stand, a final opportunity to count themselves among the contenders in the National League's East Division.
But, then, few times have been perfect for the Phillies this season.
"Reading the papers, it seemed like this was the last two weeks of the season," said Mike Schmidt after his bat – and eye – carried the Phils to a 12-inning 5-4 decision in the first game. "We have to motivate ourselves individually. We have to dig down and get going. For me, that means getting my mind off the game."
Schmidt's thoughts must have been elsewhere, then, because he crashed a pair of home runs, a double, a single, was hit by a pitch and walked with the bases loaded to force in the deciding run in the opener.
That, coupled with a heartening performance by righthander Dick Ruthven, who went all 12 innings, was enough to bring the Phils' longest losing streak of the season to its long-awaited conclusion.
The second game, however, was an entirely different story. Tommy Boggs applied for admission into the Phillie Killer Club by pitching a seven-hit shutout in a 3-0 Atlanta victory.
Boggs, a righthander, went into the game with a 7-25 career record. Of course, two of his wins were against the Phils. Now, he is 8-25, 3-0 against the Phillies and 5-5 this season. The Braves got Boggs the only runs he would need in his first shutout and second complete game in 13 starts this year when catcher Bruce Benedict singled home Chris Chambliss and Horner in the fourth against Don Larson.
That's the way it stayed until the ninth, when Garry Matthews singled home an insurance run off reliever Dickie Noles.
Ruthven survived early difficulty, not to mention the latest product of Bob Horner's home run machine, to produce the longest outing by a National League starter this season and snap a personal two-game losing string, raising his record to 9-7.
"I was beginning to think it was bad business, arm-wise," Ruthven said of going 12 innings. It was the first time in his career he had pitched through the 10th.
"But I was fine at the end," Ruthven continued, "because I was pitching better. I felt like a monkey out there the first four, five innings."
Ruthven began going ape in the second, when he permitted Luis Gomez an RBI double that shaved a Phils' lead to 2-1. Schmidt had provided both runs in the first with his 260th career homer, establishing an all-time club record.
The Braves made it 4-2 in the third on an RBI single by Garry Matthews and Horner's 21st homer of the year, a two-run shot that gave him 14 for the month and nine in 10 games.
Perhaps inspired by Horner's long-ball feats, the Phils tied it in their half of the third against lefthander Larry McWilliams on homers by Lonnie Smith and – again – Schmidt. Smith's homer was the first of his major-league career.
The score remained tied, with Ruthven benefitting from three double plays (the Phils turned four in all) and some fine running catches by outfielders Garry Maddox and Bake McBride, until the 12th.
Catcher Bob Boone opened the inning with a single to center off Rick Camp, the fourth of five Atlanta pitchers.
Green immediately put pitcher Randy Lerch to some use, having him pinch run for Boone. A sacrifice and a Smith single later, the Phils had Lerch on third, Smith on second and Pete Rose, who was rested in the nightcap, at the plate.
The Braves intentionally walked Rose, loading the bases and setting up the force, and brought lefthander Larry Bradford in to pitch to McBride. It was a good move, Bradford fanning McBride with a 3-2 pitch.
But Schmidt, after taking a strike, watched four straight balls pass him to force Lerch in and end the game.
PHIL UPS – The first game was the 24th time Schmidt has hit two home runs in one game, second time this season... Horner's homer in the first game was his 14th of the month, one shy of the major league record... Horner tied an Atlanta club record in the first game by driving in a run for the eighth straight game... Six-game losing streak matched longest of a year ago... Walter J. Combs of Woodbury was one of two winners of a trip to Hawaii during a promotion between games... Bob Walk opposes Phil Niekro tonight.
Schmidt takes lead in Phils’ record book
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – The fly ball continued to carry toward the center field fence. Bake McBride, who had singled with two out in the first, watched it drift casually closer to the black backdrop that surrounds the outer reaches of Veterans Stadium.
It came to rest, finally, beyond the wall, transforming itself into a two-run home run. And with it Mike Schmidt became the Phillies' all-time leader in clearing fences. The homer, Schmidt's 260th, came on a 1-1 pitch off lefthander Larry McWilliams, who started the first game of last night's doubleheader for the Atlanta Braves.
Schmidt would hit No. 261, again off McWilliams, in the third. That gave him two more than Del Ennis, who hit 259 homers in an 11-year career with the Phils that ended in 1956.
And everyone thought Pete Rose had the milestone market cornered.
The homers, not to mention a bases-loaded walk with two out in the bottom of the 12th inning, helped the Phils beat the Braves, 5-4, and bring a six-game losing streak to its conclusion.
Schmidt tied Ennis' mark with a homer his 24th of the season in a 7-3 loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday. Schmidt had gone into that game fighting a 2-for-22 slump.
"I thought," Manager Dallas Green said between games, "it was a good omen when he hit that home run and got a bunt single (at Cincinnati). He looked more comfortable at the plate."
Schmidt's struggle spawned several theories, including one that attributed the problem to Schmidt standing too far from the plate.
"Schmitty can stand in the dugout and hit it when he's hot," smiled Green. "It was just a case of him not swinging the bat like he's capable."
Last night a more relaxed Schmidt swung with renewed authority, adding a double in the fifth that missed being his third home run by a couple of feet, and a single in the eighth. He was hit by a pitch in the 11th and forced home the winning run with his 12th-inning walk to finish the first game 4-for-4.
Schmidt himself was unavailable between games, so whatever thoughts he might have had as he acknowledged a standing ovation from the Vet fans after his record-setting homer will have to be shared another day.
He did, however, talk to PRISM announcer Tim McCarver, principally about such favorite Phillie topics as Green's public criticism of his players, the club's recent 3-7 road trip and, naturally, the media.
"What we have to do is get the people behind us. That's the solution to our problems... If anyone's to blame over the last 10 days, it's the offense. But that time's over with..."
"Dallas Green tried to change the personality of this ballclub. At times, he's gone overboard. Dallas believes it's okay to deal with games in the press. Around here, that's just fuel for the media. That makes good reading, but it didn't do much for the unity of the ballclub. But we'll overcome it."