Wilmington Morning News - June 12, 1980

Phillies find no relief from Giants


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA - Just when Dallas Green was beginning to stick his chest out a little about his relief corps, somebody burst the bubble.


That somebody was the lowly San Francisco Giants, who mounted a relentless attack against five pitchers last night en route to a 7-4 victory over the Phillies at chilly Veterans Stadium.


Left-hander Randy Lerch, who lost his eighth game in 10 decisions, dug a deep hole for his teammates in the early innings, but had the bullpen been able to stem the tide, the Phils might have come back in the contest.


Ed Whitson, with relief help from Greg Minton, shrugged off his 2-7 record and 3.75 earned run average to gain the victory. In fact, the Giants, who are in last place in the National League West, played nothing like a team with a 23-33 record (9-24 on the road) as they won two of the three games in the series.


Rookie Rich Murray, younger brother of the Orioles' Eddie Murray, blasted his first major-league homer and drove in four runs to spark the Giants' 13-hit attack. Murray has just six RBI and they all have come this week against the Phillies.


Murray's homer, a two-run shot, gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the first and they added two more with one out in the third to chase Lerch. A double by Jack Clark and back-to-back singles by Murray and Larry . Herndon produced the two runs.


To the delight of most of the 37,844 paying customers, Green replaced Lerch with Lerrin LaGrow after he walked Rennie Stennett.


LaGrow and Kevin Saucier blanked the Giants until the seventh when San Francisco added two more runs – off Saucier. Then, in the ninth, Jack Clark crushed his 11th homer of the season off Tug McGraw.


Although Green acknowledged the runs off the relievers were costly, Lerch's performance was the most frustrating part of the disastrous night.


Somebody mentioned that the young left-hander has been unable to give the Phils back-to-back victories.


"He sure hasn't and we need him to, desperately," said Green. "Everybody in the ballpark, every sportswriter in Philadelphia and every player on the team knows it. And Mr. Lerch knows it, too. He's busting his butt, but not getting the job done. Four runs and six hits in a little over two innings is not getting it done. I didn't see anything encouraging tonight. That's why I got him out early."


Lerch has puzzled Green and his staff ever since the season opened. About three weeks ago he was demoted to the bullpen, but was pressed into service when the Phils were desperate for a starter. He pitched well and won.


Green is wondering what the next step is.


“I’d like to use shock treatment to get him back in gear," said the manager. "I've tried just about everything we know and he has, too. We put him in the bullpen and now it seems there is only one other form of shock treatment left."


Green, of course, meant a demotion to the minor leagues, a move he cannot afford because of the problems he is having with starters.


"I just don't have that luxury right now, added Green. "Maybe we’ve been too nice, I don't know. When a pitcher gets that way, it's up to him. You can teach, cajole, hope and pray, but he's the guy who has to screw his hat on tighter and go. Instead of getting ticked off in the clubhouse and tearing it up, it's better to get ticked off on the mound and get some hitters out."


For Whitson, the Giants' run production last night was. like a fantasy. In his 12 previous starts, they bad scored only 10 runs, an average of 0.83 a game.


"It had been frustrating," said Whitson, who allowed four runs and six hits during 7 innings. "I had began to wonder a little, but I kept going out there. I had to keep my game face."


The Phils, who have been struggling at the plate this week, did not get a hit until LaGrow singled with two out in the third.


They scored two runs in the sixth on Boo Boone's double with two on and two out. One of those runs was unearned when left fielder Herndon twice bobbled the grounder down the line.


In the eighth, again with two down, Mike Schmidt walked and Luzinski followed and sent Whit-son's 1-2 pitch high above the fence in left field. After Boone singled, Minton was summoned and retired the next four Phils in order.


"Heck, working with seven runs is like being in heaven," said Whitson, who struck out four and walked five.


EXTRA POINTS - Pete Rose cracked his 18th double of the year to start the sixth-inning uprising... The Giants wiped out would-be Phils' threats with doubleplays in the first and fourth innings... Luzinski's homer was the 218th of his career, moving him into fourth place on the Phils' all-time list, ahead of Cy Williams... The Phils have played all National League teams with the exception of San Diego, but the Padres arrive here tomorrow night for a three-game set... Randy Jones will pitch against Dick Ruthven... Bake McBride sat out his second straight game... He's suffering from a deep chest cold and a swollen knee.