Philadelphia Inquirer - June 19, 1980
Carlton earns 12th, Phils trim Padres
Wild 9th generates 5-1 win
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
SAN DIEGO – Even Steve Carlton needs luck to go 12-2. Sometimes you spell luck P-A-D-R-E-S.
Carlton departed the scene of his 12th win in San Diego last night with the score tied, 1-1. But the Phillies had runners on second and third in the ninth, one out. and pinch-hitter Keith Moreland heading for the plate.
The Padres had maybe the greatest relief pitcher of all time, Rollie Fingers, in their bullpen and novice manager Jerry Coleman heading for the mound. Coleman looked at young reliever Bob Shirley, looked at Moreland and decided to leave Fingers in the pen.
So Moreland promptly bombed a two-run double off the wall in deep left-center, and it was 3-1. Then, an intentional walk to Pete Rose later, that wondrous Padres defense struck.
Catcher Fred Kendall tried to pick pinch-runner Lonnie Smith off second. He might have had a shot if second base were in center field because that's where Kendall's throw came down. Centerfielder Paul Dade then charged right by it. So Smith scored from second, Rose pumped in from first, and the Phillies had won their sixth straight, 5-1.,
Brilliant once again
Tug McGraw preserved it with a two-strikeout, hitless ninth. It was McGraw's third brilliant outing in California in three days. He got saves for the first two. For Carlton, it was his seventh win in a row. He hasn't lost since May 10, nine starts ago.
Every time Carlton pitches now, people start thinking about 1972, the year he went 27-8. On this date that year he had seven wins. Of course, he also was two starts into a legendary 15-game winning streak. But it just makes you realize what is possible.
In 72, he didn't hit the 12-win mark until July 11. And he only hit No. 11 on July 7, so he is three weeks ahead of that pace now and showing no signs of letting up.
Last night looked as if it might be relatively easy. The Phillies handed Carlton a 1-0 lead in the first and he took a four-hit shutout into the seventh. But it wasn't as easy as it looked. Despite his nine strikeouts, Carlton was pretty close to mortal last night.
"He was just a normal pitcher tonight," said Dallas Green, "or as close to a normal pitcher as Lefty is going to get. He didn't have real good stuff.
Keeping in ball game
"I thought he had a pretty good curveball, but he didn't have a good slider. Finally, he seemed to find the slider as he pitched a little bit. But he just wasn't himself. That's why Lefty is a winning pitcher. He keeps you in the ball game. He doesn't bury you. He knows how to pitch out of tough situations. He knows how to stay within himself on days when he has less than his best stuff."
Carlton held his 1-0 lead all the way into the seventh. He escaped his toughest jam, in the fifth, because Ozzie Smith struck out trying a dubious bunt with two strikes and because Larry Bowa saved a run with a great play in the hole on Dave Cash.
But with two outs and nobody on in the seventh, Carlton went 3-and-2 to Aurelio Rodriguez, he of the .207 batting average, and Rodriguez lined a single to right-center.
Then he went 3-and-1 to Dade (.194) and walked him. Finally, he got a fastball up to Kendall, batting for the 15th time in two months. Kendall roped it to right-center, and suddenly Carlton found himself in a tie game. And he had to fan Barry Evans with the bases loaded in the eighth to preserve it.
But Garry Maddox led off the ninth with a single to right, breaking an 0-for-12, 3-for-28 string. Then Larry Bowa (3-for-3) tried to bunt him over but popped it up. First baseman Gene Tenace just missed a diving catch of it. He also deflected it away from Shirley, so everybody was safe.
"I thought it was too hard, but that's what happens when you start getting hits," said Bowa, who had three bunt hits in two nights and has been on base six straight trips. "When you're going bad, that's a double play."
Manny Trillo then fouled off two bunt attempts himself. So Green used a rare three-man hit-and-run play to get the runners over. Trillo bounced to first, and it worked. The rest was up to Moreland, McGraw and the Padres, the most charitable team since the United Way All-Stars.
Moreland used to face Shirley in those titanic Texas-Oklahoma duels when they were both in college. He also faced Shirley last week at the Vet.
"He jammed me real bad over there, too," Moreland said. "He jammed me so bad, in fact, I just came up looking for something inside. I took a nasty pitch away from me. Then he came back with the one inside I was looking for. I'm sure next time I face him he won't pitch me inside again."
And so Steve Carlton had won another one. He might have looked mortal to those who see him. every start. But he looked tough enough to the Padres.
"He's fun to watch," said Moreland. "Gosh. (Yep, he really said gosh.) I feel like I ought to pay to watch him."
NOTES: Nino Espinosa tried to get the Phillies to promise he would only be going to Spartanburg for 10 days. But Dallas Green and Paul Owens said firmly they wouldn't promise anything. Green is ticked off over Espinosa's attitude during his seemingly endless recuperation. He said last night that Espinosa "has to understand that he's not running the show and he's not going to dictate to us." He also said the only reason Espinosa has recovered as much as he has is that the Phillies have pushed him. "I think he owes us some consideration," Green said. "And if he doesn't understand that, then he's trying to tell us something, too." Espinosa, who threw 41 pitches in his first Spartanburg start Tuesday, did not want to go to the minors at all and wanted the Phillies to activate him, Green said. But Green balked at that, too. "He thinks he can pitch seven innings right now," Green said. "Sure he could if the other team lets him."... Green says Dickie Noles will return to the bullpen. "We've been too successful with him down there," Green said. So Dan Larson will start Friday against the Giants, and Dick Ruthven should be ready Tuesday.... Bob Walk (2-0) vs. Juan Tyrone Eichelberger (who was called up to replace the injured Randy Jones) today at 4 p.m.
Noles waits for verdict on tantrum
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
SAN DIEGO – Dickie Ray Noles went back to being just another mild-mannered relief pitcher yesterday. But his one day as a temper-losing, bat-throwing, helmet-heaving starter is going to cost him.
Noles hurled a bat in anger at first-base umpire Joe West after being knocked out of Tuesday's Phillies-Dodgers game. Or at least it sure looked like he was throwing it at him.
"Nah," said a humble, apologetic Noles yesterday. "I didn't throw a bat at anybody. I was just trying to get his attention."
If he was, he was real effective. Not only did he get West's attention, he attracted the attention of the whole National League.
Noles is certainly going to be fined for this little indiscretion. The question is whether he will be suspended, too.
Nobody had heard anything last night as the Phillies prepared to play the San Diego Padres. But manager Dallas Green said he is hoping there won't be anything to hear.
Will accept fines
"I think Dickie's admitted he was wrong," Green said. "Whatever fines come along, he'll certainly accept them. But I don't think he should be suspended for the thing. I think it was done with anger. It wasn't done with intent to hurt anybody."
West and his fellow umpires didn't appear especially convinced of that at the time, however. Crew chief Billy Williams sprinted toward the Phillies' dugout afterward like a highway patrolman chasing a speeding MG. Green, who was at the mound changing pitchers, didn't know quite what was going on, so he tried to meet him halfway.
"I didn't see the bat come out of the dugout," Green said. "All I saw was Billy coming in like a maniac. So I started screaming just as hard as he was. But I didn't know what was going on at the time.
"I told Billy after the game that I'd handle my end. He said he'd have to write it up. I said, 'You damn well should.' But I would be disappointed in their judgment if they pursued it any further.
"Now if it was a continuous thing, if it happens time after time, I'd expect them to handle it. But you know, a manager has got to help out, too. And I certainly don't condone that type of thing."
Phils won game
The incident centered around a play with two outs in the Dodgers' fifth and the Phillies leading, 3-2, in a game they eventually won, 6-5. Noles got Reggie Smith to chop to Pete Rose at first.
Rose made an overhand flip to Noles covering first. But Noles, not aware Smith had gone into a nonchalant concede-the-out jog down the line, made a hurried tag. And West ruled he had missed the bag.
"It was a good throw," Noles said. "I had plenty of time. I just screwed it up, really. I didn't know Reggie wasn't running. If I'd known I had that much time I could have walked back and tagged the bag. But I didn't know that."
So instead, the inning was still alive and Noles had to pitch to the ever-frightful Steve Garvey with two men on.
"I tried to throw the ball as hard as I can," Noles said. "And I can't pitch like that."
Garvey fouled off one very tough 2-and-2 fastball, then creamed the next one 420 feet to center for a three-run homer. Noles walked Dusty Baker, the next hitter, on four pitches. And Green promptly got him out of there.
"As I was leaving, I was telling myself it would be wrong to say anything," Noles said. "But I was just angry. I lost control of myself. I just wanted to say something to him before I went in. But he wouldn't turn around. So I threw the bat.
"It wasn't to hurt him. If I'd have hit him, I'd have felt bad about it. The helmet? I don't remember. Did I throw a helmet, too? I think I just threw the helmet off the top of the bat rack. I don't know. But anyway, Williams told me to get out of there, so I left.
"I ain't proud of it," Noles said, "I'll tell you that. You shouldn't make umpires look bad by doing stuff like that. I know that. You're supposed to control your emotions in this game. If you don't, they'll eat you up. Anyhow, it's over with. And I've learned something from it."
He just has to hope that what he learns is that he hasn't become the second coming of Bill Madlock.