Reading Eagle - June 4, 1980
Ott’s Hit McGraw’s Mistake
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Tug McGraw said it was a hanging slider, but to Ed Ott it looked like something else.
“It was a watermelon pitch coming in there,” Ott said after stroking a bases-loaded single off the Phils’ reliever to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-3 ninth-inning win over Philadelphia Tuesday night.
“It looked better than a fastball,” the Pirate catcher said of the 0-and-2 pitch that sailed into the right-field corner as Pirate rookie Vance Law streaked home from third with the winning run. “Tug made a mistake, and I was lucky enough to take advantage of it,” Ott said.
Law singled, and Willie Stargell and Bill Madlock were walked intentionally prior to Ott’s key hit.
That win, Pittsburgh’s second in as many nights over Philadelphia, dropped the third-place Phils four games behind the Pirates in the National League East. Second-place Montreal fell 3½ back.
It also heaped more torment on McGraw, whose lifetime record against the current World Series champs is 3-12.
“I hung a slider,” said McGraw. His season record dropped to 0-2 in relief of Philadelphia starter Dick Ruthven.
“There’s nothing to say really. What can you say?” McGraw asked, then stood up from his locker stool, shouted an expletive to vent his frustration, and then walked into the shower.
Stargell had tied the game 3-3 with a solo homer off McGraw to open the Pirates eighth.
Grant Jackson, 5-1, the third pitcher used in relief of Pirate starter Eddie Solomon, picked up the victory.
The Phils led through seven innings on Mike Schmidt’s two-run homer in the first and Greg Luzinski’s triple with Schmidt aboard two innings later.
Pittsburgh scored twice in the sixth, chasing Ruthven with four hits. Law reached on a bloop single, moved to third on Parker’s double and scored on Stargell’s single.
Phils Manager Dallas Green visited the mound once before replacing Ruthven. “I just tried to slow some of the momentum down. The Pirates have a way of snowballing.
“All I told him was not to let them build up a big inning, just get the double play and let’s get out of here.:
Instead, Mike Easler rapped a double that scored Parker.
“It didn’t look like (Ruthven) lost a lot of stuff,” said Green. “They just started hitting him.”
With McGraw on in relief, Schmidt leaped to snag Madlock’s high liner for the first out. Then with Stargell and Easler still aboard, McGraw got Ott to pop out in foul territory and struck out Dale Berra.
“Ruthven was on his way to a shutout,” said Tanner. “But our batters just kept digging in.”
McGraw escaped in the Pirate seventh without allowing a run after Omar Moreno’s one-out triple down the rightfield line.
Stargell’s homer in the next inning was his sixth of the season. Later, however, the Pirate captain downplayed his contribution.
“It’s history now. You have to give credit to everybody,” he said.
Philadelphia started scoring in the first inning. Bake McBride doubled with one out and scored on Schmidt’s 18th homer of the season, off Solomon. The Phils scored again in the third when Greg Luzinski tripled to score Schmidt, who had walked.
The Pirates, looking for a sweep of their three-game homestand, will send John Candelaria against Phillies’ ace Steve Carlton tonight.
“I look for Steve Carlton to get his 10th win of the season,” predicted Schmidt.
Tanner predicted only another good game.
“When the Phillies play the Pirates, it’s just like playing the World Series,” he said.