Wilmington Evening Journal - July 3, 1980

Montreal ‘Exposes’ Carlton on an off-night


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


MONTREAL – It was a night when the toast of the Phillies didn't have it. If Steve Carlton were a singer, he would have had laryngitis last night. If he were a dancer, he would have come down with a case of leg cramps.


It just wasn't Steve Carlton's night.


But the show had to go on and Carlton went to the mound for the Phillies and gave them nearly eight gutsy innings before relief was finally summoned.


Montreal handed Carlton a jarring 6-1 setback at Olympic Stadium in a duel that was much closer than the final score.


Take away some daring Montreal base running and wild pitches in the third and fifth innings and the Phillies very easily could have sailed into the final innings even at 1-1.


But it was 3-1 in the eighth because Andre Dawson ran the bases with reckless abandon and scored on a wild pitch in the third. And in the fifth two stolen bases by Rodney Scott, plus another wild pitch, gave the Expos their third run.


Meanwhile, old Phils' nemesis Steve Rogers survived a terrible first inning and kept closing the door en route to his 10th victory in 16 decisions.


The loss ended a two-game Phils' winning streak here and kept them from moving into a first-place tie with Montreal in National League East. Instead, they jetted out of here late last night for St. Louis trailing the Expos by two games.


"It just wasn't Lefty's night," Phillies Manager Dallas Green said. "I don't think he ever really got himself together. He didn't have the concentration he usually has. It's just one of those things."


Green admitted that because of the five games in four days in St. Louis, he tried to get every pitch out of Carlton he could.


"By the eighth inning, I think he was out of gas," said Green. "I was just hoping we wouldn't have to go to the bullpen. Finally, I had no other choice."


The Expos erupted for three no-questions-asked runs in the eighth. After Chris Speier singled home Warren Cromartie with the third run, Carlton was replaced by Dan Larson, who got the last two outs. Not since May 1 had Carlton, now 13-4, been given the hook in the middle of an inning, and it has happened only three times all year.


"Steve just didn't have his slider tonight," said catcher Bob Boone. "In almost all of his other starts, he has had at least one outstanding pitch and usually three. He just couldn't throw the slider."


"But even though it was an off-night for Lefty, we had plenty of chances to make the game a lot more interesting than it was," added Green. "We had Steve Rogers on the ropes in the first inning and got just one run. If he had gone out there and flat out beaten us, I wouldn't feel so bad. We outhit them 9-7, and I honestly feel we contributed to our own loss."


Singles by Pete Rose and Manny Trillo and a walk to Mike Schmidt loaded the bases in the first, but Greg Luzinski fanned, Garry Maddox forced Schmidt at second as a run scored and after Greg Gross walked, Boone filed out.


"If you look back over the last 10 days to two weeks, we have not been getting key hits," said Green. "That is the discouraging thing about losing a game like this."


Luzinski, who fanned twice, is hitless in his last 18 at-bats and during that span has 10 strikeouts. He has just two hits in his last 41 at-bats with 15 strikeouts and his batting average is .240.


"He has been taking extra batting practice and has looked good," said Green. "The problem is he has not been able to do it in the games."


Schmidt, hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts, said Rogers kept him off-guard all night.


"The pitchers have been getting me out with inside stuff," said the third baseman. "Tonight, Rogers went to the outside."


The Expos, who have split 12 games with the Phils this season, took a 1-0 lead in he second when Warren Cromartie doubled and scored on Rogers' 'two-out single through the middle on a 3-2 pitch.


In the third, Dawson turned a single into a double, raced to third on Gary Carter's fly to left and scored on a wild pitch.


In the fifth, Scott, reached first on a fielder's choice, stole second and third and waltzed home on another wild pitch.


In the 12 games, the Expos have now stolen 24 bases against the Phillies.


"Our base running is a very important part of our game," said Montreal Manager Dick Williams, who was involved in the announcement of his new contract after the game. "We have the speed and feel if we use it, we force the other team into mistakes."


In another corner of the dressing room, Dawson was saying how he deliberately tries to get picked off with Carlton pitching.


"He has such a good move to first, the only way you can steal a base is to try and get picked off . Once his leg goes up, you take le lead. By the time he gets the ball to first, you've got a good jump and can force the first baseman into a poor throw."


"That's just another innovation on the part of Dick Williams," said Green. "I heard them talking about it."


The Phils managed three hits in the eighth, but were unable to score. After Greg Gross singled with two out, Maddox overran second base with Trillo stopping at third and was an easy out.


"A dumb play," said Green. "Garry knows it and I know it. I don't know what he was thinking about, but that's the type of thing that kills you in a game like this."


EXTRA POINTS - Carlton struck out five batters to pass Ferguson Jenkins and move into eighth place on the all-time list with 2,827... After 71 games last season, the Phils were 37-34, in third place, seven games behind first-place Montreal... Trillo has a seven-game hitting streak... Rose needs just one more run to tie Ted Williams for 11th place on the all-time runs scored list with 1,798... The Phils have sent ailing reliever Tug McGraw home. He was placed on the 21-day disabled list on Tuesday... Dick Ruthven and Bob Walk go against Bob Forsch and Jim Otten in St. Louis tonight.