Wilmington Morning News - July 28, 1980
Phils offense burns Atlanta
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent
PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies made Veterans Stadium history yesterday. No, no sports writers were roasted, managers blasted or fans toasted.
The Phillies scored 17 runs on 21 hits, both highwater marks in the Vet's 10-year history, in ripping the Atlanta Braves 17-4 behind Steve Carlton and two relievers.
"This one's a history-maker," said Manager Dallas Green, who's been fielding flak from all sides of late and was happy to have something to smile about. "And you were there to see it. Aren't you impressed?"
Frankly, yes. The question is: will it continue? It must if the Phils are to be a contender in the NL East, now that Greg Luzinski will miss anything from one to six weeks with a gimpy knee that goes under the knife today.
"You see something like this," Green said, "and you wonder why it can't happen all the time. But we've been swinging the bats better and seen some encouraging signs."
Among the most encouraging were Garry Maddox's five runs batted in, Pete Rose's three hits to cure a mini-slump and Lonnie Smith's three hits, including his second home run in three days.
"This is a good time for a series like this, not just a game," said Rose. "It's a good time to win three of four from a team that beat us three of four down there a week ago. And this is good because it got guys who aren't playing every day some game situations."
Maddox, who's experimented with a new batting stance virtually every time up, raised his batting average to .269 with two hits and a sacrifice fly. The five RBI were his best as a Phillie.
"This has been my best stretch," he said. "I've been more consistent but it's still not satisfactory."
Maddox also feels yesterday's rout should help the Luzinski-less Phils.
"Everybody wants to get their hits and a lot of guys (17) got to play," he said. "That puts you in a good frame of mind. That's when the game's fun. This has to help, it has to be positive."
Maddox calls the loss of Luzinski "an emotional situation for the team," but he thinks the club can pull together to be a realistic contender.
"Teams can get by with good pitching and good defense," he said. Teams have done it. You can survive. The Bull means a lot offensively, but you can win without him if we get the pitching."
While Carlton won his 16th game and struck out eight, Green said it "wasn't one of Lefty's better games, but he won."
It wasn't one of Rick Matula's better games – and he lost. The Braves' right-hander has lasted a total of 3⅔ innings in his last three starts, allowing 23 hits and 18 earned runs, good for a 42.75 earned run average.
Even Randy Lerch's first-inning stats aren't that bad.
The Phils scored eight runs off Matula in 1⅓ innings, a tidy 54.00 ERA for the afternoon.
Smith started the game with his second homer, a shot to the Braves' bullpen in left, and the Phils had three runs before the inning was out.
"Lonnie hit a slider, I hit a slider and Bake hit a slider," said Rose. "He's a sinker-ball pitcher and he was getting beat with sliders, not his best pitch."
The Braves matched the three spot in the second against Carlton on two walks, Bill Naharodny's double and a sacrifice fly.
But the Phillies had another shot at Matula, which meant the Braves were dead.
Three straight one-out singles loaded the bases for Bake McBride, who doubled home a pair. After Matula intentionally walked Mike Schmidt to reload the bases, Manager Bobby Cox brought in Preston Hanna.
Maddox hit Hanna's first pitch over first for a base-clearing triple and the score was 8-3.
The Phils added a pair in the fourth on three singles and a hit batsman, Manny Trillo, who caught a Hanna slider flush in the batting helmet and left the game, though he was uninjured.
Hanna ended up plunking the Phils' keystone combination when he hit Larry Bowa in the helmet in the sixth. It was a glancing shot and Bowa remained in the game.
The Phils added three runs off Al Hrabosky in the seventh with the benefit of two Atlanta errors, then tacked on four more in the eighth against Larry Bradford, who issued the bases-loaded walk to Schmidt that won Friday night's opener.
"It got to be a freak game after a while," said Green. "'Everything was a hit or had eyes. That's not too much fun when you're on the other side."
"I'm glad we got 'em instead of having it happen to us 21 hits and only four of them were extra-base hits," he said. "I guess that shows you you can win without hitting home runs all the time."
Smith, who has just two major-league homers and both in the last three days, said his recent 3-for-20 tailspin was a case of "homeritis."
"I was overswinging, trying to hit a borne run," said the lithe left fielder with the powerful arms. "I had all those at-bats without a home run and it was getting to me. I've been wanting to nit one."
Why, considering his great speed?
"A lot of people think I should hit home runs. Smith said softly. "I think that way sometimes, too. I have power but I don't hit the ball in the air or swing hard. When I do, I get messed up."
Yesterday, Smith helped mess up the Braves with his three hits. But then everybody seemed to help mess up the Braves yesterday, including the poor wretches in the Atlanta uniforms.
EXTRA INNINGS - Glenn Hubbard's home run in the fifth provided the Braves' final run... The 17 runs are an NL high this season... Mike Schmidt moved into ninth place on club's all-time RBI list with 735... McBride has eight game-winning RBI to lead the club... Carlton and Baltimore's Steve Stone are the majors' only 16-game winners... Lonnie Smith has two three-hit games, two four-hit games, and one five-hitter this season and will continue to play left with Luzinski out, Green says... Houston opens a three-game set tonight at 7:35 with Nino Espinosa against the Astros' Gordy Pladson.