Wilmington Evening Journal - June 20, 1980

Padres put their Fingers on reason for Phils’ loss


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


SAN DIEGO – Bake McBride had already delivered a game-tying three-run homer and now all he was asked to do was bunt.


Just one little bunt. That's all Phillies Manager Dallas Green was asking for in the seventh inning of yesterday's sleepy matinee at San Diego Stadium.


But McBride couldn't deliver. He struck out, opening the gates for the Padres and Rollie Fingers to choke off the Phillies and stalk to a 4-3 victory.


The jarring setback, the script for which was written when starting rookie pitcher Bob Walk never did settle down in less than three innings of work, ended the Phils' six-game winning streak.


The Phillies, however, jetted upstate to San Francisco convinced this is one they should not have let the opposition take.


Dave Winfield's two-run single in the first inning put the Padres on top and they added another run in the third on Winfield's sacrifice fly off reliever Lerrin LaGrow. LaGrow was summoned after Walk let the Padres put runners on first and third with one out.


In the fifth. McBride crushed his fourth homer, a shot to right field off reliever Dennis Kinney.


"I have said all season I like the way this team keeps coming back," said Green. "I was certain when Bake hit that one out we were going to take 'em."


Even after the Padres went ahead 4-3 in the sixth, the manager's thoughts were on-target when Kinney walked Ramon Aviles and Pete Rose was safe on shortstop Ozzie Smith's error to start the seventh.


Up came McBride.


"All I wanted was a bunt," said Green. "We had Schmitty and the Bull coming up and a well-executed bunt would have put runners on second and third. I like that"


McBride looked at a called first strike, fouled off a second pitch attempting to bunt and struck out with a full swing.


As McBride slowly returned to the dugout, San Diego Manager Jerry Coleman waved in bullpen ace Fingers.


Fingers immediately threw a wild pitch to Mike Schmidt and when the count went 3-1, it was decided to intentionally pass the home-run leader and pitch to Luzinski.


The Bull fanned and Bob Boone lofted a weak fly to left.


"We had 'em by the jugular and let 'em get away." said Green. "If Bake executes the bunt, it's a tie ball game because of the wild pitch. When you can't do little things like that, you get burned sometimes. Today was one of those days. Fingers has an outstanding slider. He has gotten a lot of batters out with it over the years."


"I don't know what a fastball looks like," said Luzinski, who also fanned when Fingers punched out the side in the ninth. "1 knew he wasn’t going to let me beat him. He moved the ball in and out on me, mostly breaking stuff. He kept that slider away; I had to go for it. The only fastball he threw me was up around my eyes. I have seen him pitch better, but today he did a fine job. He didn't want me to beat him and came after me. You have to give him some credit."


Luzinski said he is slightly out of the good groove he was in a week ago.


"It started in Los Angeles," he said. "The pitchers are nibbling at the corners and it's difficult to stay in a good groove. You try to be too aggressive and get in trouble. You can't do that."


Green, whose bullpen has been doing an outstanding job, was disappointed Walk did not do a better job.


"When he was warming up Herm Starrette (pitching roach) was concerned," said Green. "He felt like Walk didn't know what he was doing. Then, when he got in the game he was nervous. I know a lot of his family and friends were in the ballpark, but he has to get over that. I didn't like the way he was throwing from the beginning."


"I don't know what was the matter with him," said Rose "Every time a ball was thrown to him, he rubbed it up. He's been here a month now; he's got to be getting used to this."


After the rookie right-hander was replaced, the bullpen did another outstanding job.


Only Kevin Saucier, who was tagged with his first loss after three victories, was scored upon.


That came in the sixth when Tim Flannery's flare dropped over Larry Bowa's shoulder in front of center fielder Garry Maddox, allowing Willis Montanez to score all the wsy from first.


"Maddox could not catch the ball," said Green. "The only person who had a chance was Bowa and he had to go deep. He just couldn't catch up to the ball. A lot of games have been won with flares like that one."


EXTRA POINTS – Bowa extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the eighth... Had the Phils been able to tie in the ninth, Green would have faced a tough decision regarding his pitcher. Tug McGraw was the fifth pitcher Green used and after him Dickie Noles probably would have been called upon, but the manager would not speculate on that... The Phils left immediately after the game for San Francisco where they open a three-game set with the Giants tonight. The Phillies will send Dan Larson against Allen Ripley.