Philadelphia Inquirer - June 25, 1980
Expos edge Phils, 7-6, in the 10th
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Not a lot of people thought the Montreal Expos would be where they are right now. But after last night, they can stop explaining.
The Expos took a 2½-game lead over the Phillies in the National League East with a 7-6, 10-inning victory at the Vet last night. They did it without Larry Parrish or Ellis Valentine (lost to the disabled-list all-stars). And long ago, they lost Tony Perez to free agency.
But they are deeper and swifter now than they have ever been. It was all five Phillies pitchers could do to hold them to 18 hits. Fifteen of them were singles, but the Expos have a way of turning singles into doubles. They swiped five bases in five tries last night, giving them a mere 93 for the year. They also are 14-for-15 against the Phillies this season, including 14 in a row.
"They're pesky little devils," said Dallas Green, who was in one of the most tight-lipped moods of his managerial reign. "They seem to be all over the place. They were tonight, anyway."
But there are ways to keep teams from being all over the place. And, Green hinted, all those Phillies pitchers didn't seem to utilize many of them.
"I wasn't particularly pleased with the way we pitched tonight," Green said. "Any of us. So you're gonna have to ask those guys why they pitched that way. I don't know."
Green was irked by all the stolen bases, highlighted by the first steal of the year by catcher Gary Carter to set up a run in the fifth. But you won't find the sight of the Expos scoring five times with two outs up there with the Grand Canyon on his list of favorite things to view, either.
"We seem to be a good two-out pitching staff," the manager said sarcastically. "We gave up seven runs the other day (Saturday) with two outs, too."
Of course, the Phillies also did a few good things. You have to, to give up 18 hits, four walks and five steals and still take it to extra innings. The Expos had a four-run lead in the fifth, and the Phils tied it. They had a a one-run lead in the seventh, and the Phils tied it again.
Rodney Scott's third hit and third stolen base, plus a Carter single, made it 6-5 in the eighth. But Mike Schmidt's third hit and a Greg Luzinski walk gave the Phils their seventh decent scoring chance in the ninth. And Garry Maddox tied it a third-time with a two-out single to center.
But Ron LeFlore led off the 10th against Tug McGraw (0-3) with his third hit, muscling a single through the right side.
"He did that to me in Montreal, too," McGraw sighed.
McGraw got Scott for the first out. Then he went 1-and-2 to Andre Dawson. LeFlore, who has 38 stolen bases, took off for second. Dawson ripped a hard one-hopper to the mound. McGraw took a shot and tried to get LeFlore at second. Late. But Manny Trillo cranked up the bionic arm to get Dawson at first anyway.
"Everybody was yelling, 'First,'" McGraw said. "But the ball was back at me so fast, it was just a reflex action to go and try it."
Next was Carter, who leads the Expos with 39 RBIs. Green elected to put him on and work on Warren Cromartie, who bats lefthanded but is also hitting .314 and was 33-for-his-last-82 (.402).
"He's just going by the book there, I guess," McGraw said. "I'd probably do the same thing. You like to think you can get anybody out, but you've got to weight that with other stuff."
McGraw got to 1-and-1 on Cromartie, then tried to crowd him with a sidearm sinking fastball.
"It wasn't supposed to be the 'out' pitch," McGraw said. "It was supposed to be the kind of the get-ahead-of-him pitch or a get-control-of-the-outside-part-of-the-plate type of pitch."
But instead of crowding him, McGraw got it out over the plate. And Cromartie roped it to center for the base hit that won it.
"I had a decent idea," McGraw shrugged. "I just got too much of the plate with it, which let him hit it fair. It's not a pitch you want him to beat you with."
McGraw certainly wasn't the only guy who had problems. Dickie Noles made his second start, and he was a lot better at throwing bats.
His relief-pitcher juices got him out of a jam in the first. But then he gave up one run in each of the next four innings and was gone. Chris Speier's two-out single knocked in the first. Dawson's 10th homer in his last 23 games at the Vet made it 2-0. Two-out singles by No. 8 hitter Speier, pitcher David Palmer and LeFlore made it 3-0. And Carter's stolen base set up a two-out RBI single by No. 54 in your program, rookie Brad Mills.
"I didn't think," said Green, "that Dickie pitched a particularly smart baseball game."
"I wish that loss could be mine," Noles said gallantly. "I just didn't do the job. I thought I had real good stuff, too. But they just beat my butt tonight. Just an old-fashioned butt-whipping."
The Phils got him off the hook, though, with a four-run fifth. The big hits were a two-out Bake McBride triple that Dawson almost made a spectacular leaping catch on and Schmidt's 21st homer.
But Lerrin LaGrow, who followed Noles, got nailed for the fifth run, on two-out doubles by LeFlore and Scott. Green is searching for reasons LaGrow has not turned out to be the scourge he looked like in spring training.
"He hasn't been real consistent with his stuff for some reason," Green said. "And I don't know the reason for that. He's been plagued more than most by the base-on-balls – and more than you would expect from an experienced pitcher."
The Phils came back and tied it again, though, when Rose scored from first on Bake McBride's seventh-inning hit-and-run single and Rowland Office's throwing error. But Luzinski and Boone left McBride at third, and that turned out to be a familiar sight. The Phils left men in scoring position in six of the 10 innings.
Maybe, it was suggested to Green, the Phillies were due for a loss like that. Green just bristled.
"Being due for a loss I don't believe in that," he snapped. "You play that kind of baseball, and you'll get your behind beat."
Noles fines, appeals 3-day penalty
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dickie Noles waited one long week for the word. And yesterday he got it. National League president Chub Feeney fined him $500 and suspended him for three days for throwing a bat at umpire Joe West last Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Noles took a page out of the Bill Madlock suspension-dodging guidebook, however, and promptly appealed Feeney's ruling. Of course, under baseball's rules, the appeal has to be heard by Feeney, who handed out the suspension.
The appeal made Noles eligible to pitch against the Expos last night – and thereafter until the appeal is heard. No date has been set for the hearing. But baseball rules require that it be held within 10 days.
After that, Noles could appeal again to the commissioner, so the Phillies at least would not lose him for their six games with Montreal over the next two weeks.
Dallas Green, who has insisted all along that Noles' offense did not merit suspension, naturally was not pleased by Feeney's ruling.
"My whole contention," Green said, "is that Dickie is the guy who did it. And he is really the only guy who can tell you what his intent was. I think they're wrong to try and read intent into it."
Losing a pitcher for three days is, of course, not as serious a loss to a team as, say, losing a Mike Schmidt for three days. There is a limit to how often a guy can pitch.
But Green rejected that reasoning, simply because Noles still gets hurt by the suspension.
The bat-throwing caper occurred June 17 after Noles had been removed from a game against the Dodgers. Noles was angry at West for making a controversial call at first base and yelled at him from the dugout. When West would not turn around to listen, Noles threw the bat out of the dugout in his direction. Noles claimed he was just trying to get West's attention.
Green fined Noles $250 himself for the incident and knew the league would fine him over and above that.