Wilmington Evening Journal - July 30, 1980
Heroes abound on Phillies
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – Remarkable comebacks can produce a parade of heroes. If there are eight million stories in the Naked City, there were at least a half-dozen heroes in the Phillies' clubhouse after last night's rousing 9-6 victory over the Houston Astros.
• There was Bake McBride, who was 5-for-5 to raise his batting average to .312 and his RBI count to 61, tying his career high.
• There was Lonnie Smith, who was on base four times, stole three bases, scored three runs and knocked home the game-winning run.
• There was Mike Schmidt, whose 27th homer tied the game 6-6 and helped wipe out a 6-3 Astro lead.
• There was Kevin Saucier, who pitched out of trouble in the eighth inning to earn his fifth victory, with Tug McGraw getting his eighth save.
• And there was Manager Dallas Green, whose heated discussion with first-base umpire Andy Olsen on a ball Green said hit the foul pole in the sixth led to Green's ejection and fired up the Phillies.
McBride was the batting hero, though he wasn't around to discuss his prowess, which includes hitting in 18 of 19 games at a .382 clip with nine hits in his last 12 at-bats.
"Bake's playing with a lot of pain and he's done a helluva job," said Green, as McBride took a long whirlpool bath to cure those ills and duck a horde of writers.
"Both knees are hurting and he's got a hip problem. He's playing with a lot of pain."
Green was quick to laud McBride and Smith and downplay his own role in the dramatic comeback.
"Lonnie and Bake really contributed," said the manager. "We can't depend on a Mike Schmidt home-run ball all the time. We have to keep pressing, to keep the aggressive things going, we've got the guys who can do it. That's what I keep telling them."
Green often tells the Phillies in tones that pierce clubhouse walls and rattle stadiums in the process. But Green was talking in low-decibel ranges last night, except for his discussion with Olsen about Jeff Leonard's triple that Green said should have been a double.
"I didn't fire anybody up but the umpires," said Green of his second major-league ejection, both against Doug Harvey's crew. "I'm not an umpire-baiter, they know that. But I'll go to war when my players tell me I'm right."
Green said Leonard's ball hit the foul pole above the fence on the hop, which should be a ground-rule double. Green even produced a baseball with telltale green markings.
"The ball hit the foul pole," said Green. "All my players saw it. But Olsen said the ball did not hit the pole. He said it was his call. I asked him to appeal, but he said, 'It's my call and I called it like I saw it.'
"I said I'm standing where you were and I can't see it, so how could you? He said, 'No, I saw it and it didn't hit the pole.'"
What perturbed Green was that Olsen wouldn't ask second-base umpire Fred Brocklander, one of the "scab" umpires with whom the regulars don't talk with off the field, for his advice on the field.
"I told him he apparently didn't care if he got the play right," said Green, who wouldn't get into the fine art of umpire etiquette. "I don't know why I was ejected, though. I didn't cuss him."
Still, the Phils, buoyed by Schmidt's 27th homer in the seventh, caught fire anyway.
Larry Bowa ignited the eighth-inning rally against loser Frank LaCorte with an infield hit, then stole second. After Del Unser was intentionally walked, Smith singled Bowa home with the eventual game-winner.
Pete Rose's infield hit loaded the bases for McBride, who singled to right for two insurance runs.
"I was thrilled to death that Schmitty got his hit," said Green, "but everybody contributed tonight. Create pressure, that's what we have to do. You put doubt in people's minds that it (a rally) can happen at any time. It generates enthusiasm and keeps people going."
Smith said he was determined to steal a base every chance he got against starting Houston pitcher Joacquin Andujar and catcher Luis Pujols.
"I played against Pujols in the Dominican Republic," said Smith, "and he takes time to get rid of the ball. I decided that if I got on base, I'd attempt to steal every time I had a chance."
He was 3-for-3 and has stolen seven straight bases and 17 overall.
The winning rally in the eighth and the Green-Olsen debate in the sixth both made for exciting innings. But the third also was a doozy, with 17 batters coming to the plate, six runners scoring and all manner of miscues by both sides.
Phils' starter Randy Lerch sealed his own fate when he walked Andujar, who was merely trying to make an out by sacrificing Pujols, who had singled, to second.
By the time the Astros had batted around, three runs had scored on hits by Enos Cabell. Cesar Cedeno and Art Howe, who had homered in the second off Lerch.
Lerch left with the bases loaded, as boos from the crowd of 30,252 rained down as he walked to the dugout. But reliever Dickie Noles needed only one pitch to get Leonard to pop up and end the inning.
Behind 4-0, the Phils went after Andujar in their half of the third and, thanks to left fielder Jose Cruz's cannon arm, got three runs back.
It started innocently enough when Smith singled to right with one out, stole second and stopped at third on Rose's single to left. But Cruz decided to throw home, anyway.
Not only did Jose overthrow the cutoff man, but he overthrew the catcher and Andujar, who was backing up the plate. Smith scored the Phils' first run as Rose took second.
For those who wanted to see an instant replay, Cruz provided one on his own.
McBride followed with a single to left and, again, Rose held at third as Cruz rifled the throw home – and overthrew everybody again. So Rose came home with the second run.
Cruz tied the National League record, held by many, for two errors by an outfielder in one inning. Four American Leaguers hold the major-league mark of three.
But the inning wasn't over yet. Schmidt walked on a 3-2 pitch and Keith Moreland singled McBride home to make it 4-3.
The Astros added runs in the fifth and sixth for a 6-3 lead. Noles again had to pitch out of a bases-loaded situation when he got Cedeno on a liner to left.
The Phils tied the game against Houston reliever Bert Roberge in the seventh. Smith was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on McBride's fourth single to left field. Schmidt's 27th homer, a high drive to left, tied the game.
"These kind of games are fun," said Green. "This is the kind of game we're talking about."
Up the hall, however, the Astros weren't talking about that kind of game at all.
“We don't lose too many this way," said Manager Bill virdon. "Usually our bullpen can shut them down."
But not last night, Bill.
EXTRA INNINGS - Phils have stolen 22 bases in last 25 tries and lS-of-16, which is what Green is talking about with aggressive, grlnd-'em-out baseball...McBride was the fifth NL player with five hits in a game this season... Houston's Enos Cabell has hit in 10 straight games... Dick Ruthven faces Houston's million-dollar man, Nolan Ryan, tonight at 7:35... Cincinnati is here for a three-game weekend set starting Friday.