Wilmington Evening Journal - June 26, 1980

Bake busy beating Expos


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Was Bake McBride busy last night? Let's see.


•  McBride made the error that led to Montreal's only run.


•  He homered for the Phillies' first run.


•  He threw out an Expo baserunner at .the plate with his elbow ablaze and the game on the line.


•  He figured in the winning rally as Mike Schmidt singled with the bases loaded and nobody out to give the Phils a 2-1 victory in 10 innings at Veterans Stadium.


Yes, Bake McBride was busy last night. And throbbing. And talking about it.


"I'm, always talking," said McBride, generally considered a closed-mouth type. "It just seems that people only ask me questions when I do something bad."


McBride's fielding, good and bad, drew the most attention since the right fielder had his right elbow in a machine that circulates ice around injured limbs after the game.


McBride had banged his elbow against the right-field wall making a circus catch on Brad Mills' sacrifice fly that scored Warren Cromartie in the fourth inning. Cromartie had gotten to third base on McBride's two-base error after singling.


"I was going over to scoop the ball up to throw it to second," said McBride. "When I bent down, the ball came up, hit my foot and bounced over my head.


"Then, later, when I caught that ball against the fence, I hit my elbow and it really hurt."


McBride homered off Expo starter Bill Gullickson in the sixth to atone for the error and tie the game, but his defensive play wasn't finished, throbbing elbow and all.


Rodney Scott led off the Expo eighth with a triple off rookie right-hander Bob Walk, already pitching longer than he had in any of his big-league starts. Instead of losing his composure, Walk got Andre Dawson on a grounder to third, then watched clean-up hitter Gary Carter loft a soft liner to right.


McBride broke back, then started in, catching the ball in full stride and firing a one-hop strike to catcher Bob Boone, who nailed Scott with the tag.


"I didn't think I could make the play," confessed McBride. "I threw it in with everything I had and it hurt. I didn't have another throw in me."


The Phils missed a chance to win in regulation against Woodie Fryman, then beat Stan Bahnsen in the 10th.


Greg Gross, batting for winner Ron Reed (6-1), walked to start the inning. Montreal expected Pete Rose to bunt, but Pete faked the bunt, then swung away, drilling a double down the right-field line.


Manager Dallas Green calls that play "the bastard." What the Expos called it is left to your imagination.


"That's a good play in that situation," said Rose, who executed it perfectly. "They have to think I'll be bunting with Bake and Schmitty, two of the best RBI guys in the league, coming up. I don't like to get in the habit of pulling the ball, but I hit that ball as good as any I hit all year."


That put runners at second and third with nobody out, bringing up the night's hero, Bake McBride.


"Hero?" smiled McBride. "I don't care who the hero is as long as we win."


Montreal Manager Dick Williams cared, so he elected to walk McBride intentionally to load the bases and face Schmidt, who leads the majors with 21 homers and 53 RBI.


If Bahnsen had gotten Schmidt, rookie Lonnie Smith and Manny Trillo, elevated from eighth to fifth in the batting order, would have been easier pickings.


But Schmidt hit the ball over the drawn-in Expo outfield and the game was over, cutting the Expos' lead in the National League East over the Phils to 1½ games prior to tonight's series finale.


"I didn't hit it good or hit it far," said Schmidt, "but sometimes just hitting it at all is tough. But how can you make an out in that situation?”


Montreal would have liked him to think of a way.


While relief pitchers figured in the decisions, two rookies, Walk and Gullickson, impressed the crowd of 31,416 with their poise and stuff. For Walk, that impression was a lot more important than he knew.


"This was a make or break game for Bob tonight," said Green, who didn't flinch when writers wondered if Walk might have been bumped from the already-fragile rotation or shipped back to Oklahoma City had he continued his inconsistent performance.


"Bob needed a game like tonight to prove he can pitch here and pitch consistently," Green repeated. "This (four hits allowed in eight innings) is a lot closer to what I expected from him."


Walk said he wasn't aware of any "make or break" edict, but could have figured it out on his own if he had wanted to. Which he didn't.


"I tried to put things in perspective," said the right-hander, who is 2-0 with a 6.07 ERA and hasn't strung together two good starts. "This was just a ball game, not life or death. If I thought about it, yes, it was a critical start for me. But if I thought about it that way, I'd put more pressure on myself. I tried to put the personal aspect out of my mind."


Walk admitted that he had lost his composure in other games and quickly found himself in trouble.


"Tonight I just went after them," he said, adding that he knows Green has been after him to pitch quickly because "he doesn't want me to think out there on the mound."


After Scott tripled to open the eighth, the "new" Bob Walk took over.


"I didn't dwell on the triple," Walk said. "I just went after the next guy. I concentrated on him, not the guy on third base. But I won't do anything different because of how I pitched tonight."


Maybe he'll stick around longer, however.


"Tonight most of the balls were hit at people," Walk said, trying to explain his success and longevity after failing to survive the sixth inning in six previous starts. "In other games, balls may not have been hit that well, but they were hit in alleys.


"I really haven't pitched that badly, but I haven't pitched that good, either."


EXTRA INNINGS - Intestinal trouble scratched Greg Luzinski from the Phillies' lineup just before game time. Del Unser played left field... The Phils' will start Randy Lerch (2-9) against the Expos' Scott Sanderson (6-4) tonight.

Phils’ Noles drops appeal


PHILADELPHIA – Phillies pitcher Dickie Noles has dropped is appeal to National League President Chub Feeney and will begin his three-day suspension today.


Noles tossed a bat and helmet on the field in Los Angeles on June 17 Feeney announced a $500 fine and the suspension, which Noles appealed through the Major League Baseball Players Association.


"I was upset when I heard about the suspension," said Noles. "But after talking to several people the last two days, I decided to drop the appeal and get the entire thing over with."


Manager Dallas Green said the suspension means he'll have to juggle his pitching plans for the weekend series with the Mets.


"With the availability of Dick Ruthven still up in the air. I had penciled in Dick and Dan Larson for Saturday night's double-header," said Green. "Now, I'm hoping Ruthven will be able to go in one of those two games. If he can't, we'll have to work out something else."