Wilmington Morning News - June 30, 1980

Walk’s power rescues Phils


By Rod Beaton, Staff Correspondent


PHILADELPHIA – "The Magic Is Back" is the slogan being trumpeted in New York City these days, heralding the return to competency of the Mets.


The Mets' magicians had no sorcery to compensate for the spell cast last night by rookie Phillie Bob Walk. Merlin himself couldn't handle the screamers Walk sent homeward, let alone the likes of Frank Taveras and Doug Flynn.


With 7 innings of power pitching, Walk terminated the Phils' season-high four-game losing streak by earning the decision in a 5-2 triumph.


It took a helping hand, actually, two bad ones, from the Mets, and a few fortunate base hits, but even the Phils' long-hibernating bats stirred in Walk's behalf.


And on the eve of a critical eight-game road trip, that starts tonight with the front-running Montreal Expos, the triumph sat very well with a relieved Manager Dallas Green.


"We finally played like the Phillies and the Mets played like the Mets," he said, reviewing the performance that included Oklahoma City-types Ramon Aviles and John Vukovich subbing for injured Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt, respectively.


It was another Triple-A expatriate, Walk, who continued to doff the blindfold and cigarette he'd been handed when recalled May 26 and thrust into a starting role.


"I think he's finally settling down, realizing he can pitch and win in the major leagues," said Green, reflecting on Walk's eight-hit, seven-strike out, and, particularly, one-walk effort.


"It's not as tough as it looks if he gets the ball over the plate.


"Bob Walk had lessons to learn at the Triple-A level. Now, unfortunately, he has to learn at the major league level."


Walk blanked the Mets until the eighth, when Lerrin LaGrow came in to quell a two-run outburst and ultimately, earn his second save. He opened by walking two, filling the bases to the dismay of the 41,113 fans, but he retired Elliot Maddox to end the threat.


Walk knows all about, well, walks.


"I'm not aiming the ball like I was," he said, beaming with delight at his third victory in as many decisions. "It's difficult to throw thinking 'God, I hope it's a strike.' Before, I'd have to take something off so I didn't walk the guy. Now I'm throwing natural.


“I've got all those golden gloves out there, why not let them hit the ball?"


He did, and backed by sparkling plays from Garry Maddox, Vukovich and Aviles, he averted the first four-game sweep of the Phils since May, '72. The homestand ended being something short of a total disaster at 2-5.


The Phils secured the victory against stubborn Pat Zachry, 2-5, with a three-run sixth to assume a 4-0 lead. A sign of the times: it was their biggest inning in six games.


After getting brushed back, Walk dropped a single into center. He reached third on Pete Rose's hit-and-run single and scored on a base hit by Manny Trillo.


Rose scored on a bloop hit by Bake McBride and Trillo eventually came in on a swinging bunt by Keith Moreland. Hardly awesome, but RBI hits nonetheless.


The Mets loaded the bases with two out in the seventh, but Walk reached back to fire an unhittable fastball by pinch-hitter Ron Hodges.


"Coming off the bench, I thought he'd be cold," said Walk. "I stuck him with a fastball."


The Mets stuck him with two runs an inning later.


Claudell Washington, a potent hitter since coming to the Mets last week from the White Sox, sliced a double to score Frank Taveras. Joel Youngblood singled in Washington.


Against reliever Pete Falcone, the Phils got one back without a hit in the bottom half. After fanning his first three trips, Greg Luzinski coaxed a walk. Lonnie Smith pinch ran and Maddox walked, too.


Smith reached third on More-land's fly to right and scored on a grounder by Aviles.


"We played hit-and-run, didn't miss a sign for a change," said Green. "We did what we have to do and got a pretty good game from the kid."


The Mets managed their first hits, two, two-out singles in the fourth, but Vukovich gobbled John Stearns' ground ball for the force.


In the bottom of the inning, the Phils scored in about the only way available to a team with such dormant bats. Two Met errors made it happen.


Trillo slung a one-out single to right that Washington convienently nonchalanted into a two-base error. As Trillo was scoring on McBride's ensuing bouncer to first, Lee Mazzilli fastballed his throw to Zachry covering first. It went awry and McBride took second, where he was stranded.


PHILS FACTS – Tonight is an 8:35 start. ABC-TV, Channel 6, will carry it as the game of the week... Montreal throws Bill Gullikson against Dickie Noles; Scott Sanderson, author of Friday's two-hit shutout of the Phils, against Randy Lerch tomorrow night and Steve Rogers faces Steve Carlton Wednesday... A twi-nighter Thursday opens a five-game series in St. Louis. Games from Tuesday through Sunday will be carried on Channel 17.