Wilmington Morning News - June 23, 1980

Carlton give Giants Blues


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


SAN FRANCISCO – Dallas Green munched on a piece of greasy fried chicken, then blurted: "The Franchise is back in action!"


Somebody mentioned that Steve Carlton has been in action all season, every inning of every start.


Green suddenly became serious and agreed. "I'd hate to think where we would be right now if he had not pitched the way he has. He can straighten out a pitching staff so easily."


The Phillies were desperate for a complete game, not to mention a victory yesterday and Carlton gave them both.


The winningest pitcher in the major leagues won his 13th game, out-dueling Vida Blue (9-4) as the Phils came from behind to snuff San Francisco's four-game victory streak 4-3.


Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski drove in runs in the seventh inning that gave the Phils the lead after the Giants had hammered out five hits to take a 3-1 lead in the fourth.


"But even in the fourth I wasn't that concerned about Lefty," said Green. "He has a habit of giving up some hits and runs, then straightening himself out. That's what he did today."


Catcher Bob Boone said Carlton's fastball was not up to par in the early innings, but in the late going it became better than his breaking pitch.


"He's has had at least once excellent pitch in all of his starts," said Boone, whose double produced the Phils' first-inning run. "Today, he had the breaking pitch early, then the fastball."


Actually, it was Carlton's outstanding pickoff move to first base that turned the tide in his favor after the Phils had gone in front.


With runners on first and third and two out, Carlton trapped Jim Wohlford off first. As the Phils started a rundown, an alert play by Pete Rose throwing to Schmidt caught Jack Clark between third and home and the Phils were out of the inning.


"Wohlford was just picked off first," said Rose. "When he realized what had happened, he started toward second I had to wait for Clark to break from third before I committed myself because I didn't want Wohlford to end up in scoring position."


"That play was probably what turned it around," said Green. "Just like I said, you can always count on Carlton to get things back together. This is a difficult park to pitch in and the Giants have been playing very good baseball. Some of their players you don't expect to get key hits have been getting key hits."


Carlton allowed eight hits – five in the fourth – for his sixth complete game of the year. He struck out seven and walked three – one intentionally.


The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Phils who had won six in a row before the tailspin started.


"Now, with the off-day our pitching staff is in pretty decent shape," said Green, who had to use his bullpen heavily on this seven-game trek to the West Coast during which the Phils were 4-3. "I could have used Tug McGraw, but Lefty did his job and that wasn't necessary."


After getting the third out in the seventh, Carlton retired the last six Giants in a row.


Lonnie Smith, who played in right field most of the game against lefty Blue, had two of the Phils' nine hits and scored the tying run in the seventh.


"Before the game Pete Rose came up to me and said Vida Blue is not as over-powering as you might think," said Smith, "That was good advice. I just tried to meet the ball, tried to stroke it and got two hits."


The Phils had one scire when a ball bounced off Larry Bowa's right thumb for an error in the fifth inning.


Bowa was replaced by Ramon Aviles at the start of the sixth, retreating to the clubhouse for an examination.


"It's just a bruise," said Bowa, who now has seven errors. "The ball took a bad hop and hit me on the thumb."


The Giants wiped out a 1-0 Philadelphia lead with three runs in the fourth, but the Phils scored once in the fifth and moved ahead 4-3 with two in the seventh.


Boone's two-out double with Schmidt scoring gave the Phils their first run in the first inning.


Clark, whose bat is on fire, blasted a one-out triple in the fourth, but Carlton seemed to be on his way out of trouble when he fanned Wohlford on three pitches. Rich Murray, whose brilliant play has led to the announced retirement of Willie McCovey, lined a double down the right-field line that was just inches fair. Joe Strain, John LeMaster and Mike Sadek followed with consecutive singles and the Giants were on top 3-1.


Only a brilliant play by second baseman Strain kept the Phils from pulling even in the fifth.


Manny Trillo opened with a walk. Carlton popped out and Smith looked at a third strike before Rose and Schmidt singled to produce a run. Luzinski then slapped a grounder behind second that Strain made a diving stop of before throwing to LeMaster for the force on Schmidt.


Carlton worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the bottom of the fifth.


In the seventh, the Phils forged ahead when Smith singled to right, Stole second and scored on Schmidt's one-out triple to right. Luzinski's sacrirfice fly to right scored Schmidt with the go-ahead run.


The Giants had a great opportunity in the seventh, but Carlton's outstanding pickoff move to first shut it down.


Bill North opened with a single, but Darrell Evans bounced into a doubleplay. Clark rifled a single to center and went to third when Bowa booted Wohlford's grounder for an error.


Carlton then trapped Wohlford off first and the Phils alertly executed the rundown on Clark.


EXTRA POINTS - The Phillies are 10-3 against left-handers, having lost only to San Diego's Dennis Kinney, Cincinnati's Charlie Leibrandt and Pittsburgh's Grant Jackson... Rose has the longest hitting streak on the team, eight straight games... During his last 35 at-bats, he's hitting at a.333 clip... The last time the Phils had winning record in Candlestick was 1977 when they were 5-1... They were 2-4 here last year and 1-5 in 1978... The Phils caught a charter flight for Philadelphia immediately after the game... They are off today, then face Montreal in a three-game set beginning tomorrow night... Dick Ruthven (6-5) or Dickie Noles (0-3) will face Dave Palmer (4-1) in the opener, with Bob Walk (2-0) going against Bill Gullickson (0-1) on Wednesday and Randy Lerch (2-9) facing Scott Sanderson (6-4) on Thursday.

The biggest Mac of all calls it quits


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


SAN FRANCISCO – On July 30, 1959, a 21-year-old left-handed hitter by the name of Willie Lee McCovey stepped into the batter's box for the San Francisco Giants against the Phillies and Robin Roberts.


The youngster hammered out four hits, including two triples and a great major-league career was under way.


That was the beginning – at the Giants' temporary home in Seals Stadium.


Yesterday, with the opposition again the Phillies, McCovey, now 42, said it was time to bow out gracefully. He announced his voluntary retirement effective on July 10, the day play resumes after the All-Star Game in Los Angeles.


“I said when I went to spring training that this would be my last year," said McCovey, the greatest left-handed home-run hitter in National League history and cinch to become a member of the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.


"The decision, which is clearly the most difficult decision of my life, is based upon my feeling that it is for the good of the team that I step aside now and allow the Giants to develop the fine young ball players, such as Rich Murray."


McCovey, whose career has spanned four decades, then added: "I said I would like to play for a long, long time unless some young phenom forced me into retirement. Well, I think that young phenom (Murray) has arrived. I was in the same situation when I started out. If I remember correctly, I forced Hank Sauer into retirement."


Bob Lurie, the Giants' president who gave McCovey a 10-year contract in 1978, said during an early afternoon press conference he faced McCovey's resignation with mixed emotions.


"Willie McCovey brought excitement to baseball every time he stepped onto the field," said Lurie. "His entire career has been characterized by the fact that he was the consummate team player. The most unselfish act on his part in order to allow young stars like Rich Murray to gain the experience of major-league baseball is typical of Willie McCovey's approach to baseball and to the Giants' organization."


McCovey, who has 521 home runs (one this year) which ties him with Ted Williams for eighth place on the all-time list, will remain with the Giants after his retirement this" year and will move into a speical position with the team through 1987.


"I wanted to end my career with his team," said McCovey, who spent three seasons at San Diego and part of 1976 with Oakland before returning here in 1977 as a free agent. "The fact Bob Lurie guaranteed me a job after I retired made the decision much easier. Hey, I'm going to be able to have a summer vacation for the first time since I was 16 years old. That should be fun."


After his auspicious debut against Roberts and the Phillies, McCovey went on to hit .354 and win National League rookie-of-the-year honors.


McCovey's 18 grand slams rank him first on the National League list and second in the majors behind Lou Gehrig's 23.


McCovey, born on Jan. 10, 1938, was hitting only .198 this year in 41 games. He had the one homer and 13 runs batted in. The emergence of Murray, who is hitting .291, moved McCovey from first base to the bench and started, raising questions about his retirement.