Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - June 5, 1980
Carlton, Phils Teach Bucs Humility
Rose’s Single Provides Edge
By Charley Feeney, Post-Gazette Sports Writer
The Pirates last night missed a chance to beat the best pitcher in the National League. They led Steve Carlton by two runs after four innings, but once the Phillies pulled in front in the fifth, Carlton became super tough.
He recorded his 10th victory with a 4-3 squeaker over the Pirates before a crowd of 31,075 at Three Rivers Stadium.
The 35-year-old left-hander, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, refuses to talk to the media, but he allows his manager and his teammates to rave about him.
"He's awesome," shortstop Larry Bowa said. "If we had three like him, we would have swept the series."
The Phillies settled for one win in the three games and Carlton, even at his best near the end, was seriously challenged by the first-place Buccos.
Bill Madlock opened the ninth with a drive to left field. George Vukovich made the catch at the warning track.
"I didn't think Madlock got all the bat on the ball," Carlton's catcher Bob Boone said.
Boone became Carlton's catcher this year because Tim McCarver retired to the radio booth. Carlton used to say he preferred to pitch to McCarver. Nowadays, Carlton would have trouble throwing strikes to McCarver who broadcasts Phillies' games.
"I had the best fast ball of the season." Carlton told McCarver in a post-game interview.
"Carlton's slider was nasty near the end of the game," Bowa said. "The slider he threw to Bill Robinson in the eighth inning was nasty, real nasty."
Robinson, who struck out to end the eighth with Dave Parker on second base, said Carlton's pitch broke below his knees.
"It wasn't a strike after it broke," Robinson said. "He's some pitcher."
After Lee Lacy smashed a double past Mike Schmidt with one out in the ninth, Steve Nicosia flied out to Garry Maddox in center. Then Dale Berra, on a 2-2 pitch, lined hard to right. The crowd began to cheer, thinking it was a game-tying hit. Greg Gross, a late-game replacement for Lonnie Smith, raced in and made a thigh-high catch.
"The pitch to Berra was a good one," Bowa said. "He went with the pitch and he surprised me when he got such good wood on the ball."
Pirates' Manager Chuck Tanner gave Carlton credit, then spoke about "a game of inches."
After Bowa led off the fifth with a single, Manny Trillo rapped back to the box. Candelaria put up his glove, but the ball tipped the top of it and went into center field for a single.
"If Candy gets that ball, it's a double play," Tanner said. "A game of inches. That's what it is."
Carlton advanced the runners with a bunt and Smith singled to right for one run. Robinson, playing first base, had a chance to nail Smith going to second base on Parker's throw toward the plate. Robinson dropped the ball in a cutoff attempt.
Pete Rose followed with a two-run single to give Carlton a one-run edge. He had no problems until Parker singled and reached second on Maddox's error with two out in the eighth.
Carlton threw his "nasty" slider to Robinson to strike him out.
It was Robinson who drove in the first run in the first inning. After Parker walked with two out, Robinson lined to right-center and Smith missed a shoe-top catch. Parker scored and Robinson got a double.
The first three Phillies in the second singled, loading the bases for Trillo, who.-bounced into a double play as a run-scored.
Lacy's leadoff double in the second and Candy's two-out single gave the Bucs a 2-1 edge, and they made it 3-1 in the-fourth when Madlock doubled and scored on Steve Nicosia's single.
The Phillies insist they were not worried about Carlton blowing the lead; despite the Buc threats in the last two. innings.
"We just feel we can't lose when he is out there," Bowa said.
Carlton indicated there were some, doubters.
As he walked into the clubhouse, he said to his teammates: "Sorry, I made you nervous, fellas."
NOTES - Before Smith rapped an RBI single in the fifth, Phil Garner missed making a difficult catch of Smith's foul pop near the stands behind first base. Garner, after missing three games because of a sore back, returned to second base and Vance Law sat on the bench... Carlton is 30-21 lifetime vs. the Pirates... He has completed five of his 13 starts. His manager, Dallas Green, compares him with Sandy Koufax and Robin Roberts. "The good ones know how to handle a lead in the late innings," Green said. "Koufax could do it. Roberts could do it. Carlton can do it."
Candelaria is winless since April 26, when he beat the Cubs in a route-goer... Enrique Romo, who threw two zip rounds after Candelaria was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, has not allowed a run in his last seven relief jobs... Greg Luzinski started in left field despite a painful shoulder. He crashed into the wall catching Mike Easler's drive in Tuesday night's game. Vukovich replaced Luzinski for defense late in the game... The Pirates are 15-6 in one-run games.
Candy Stymied Again by Big Inning
By Marino Parascenzo, Post-Gazette Assistant Sports Editor
It was that bugaboo big inning again, a thing that's sticking to the Candy Man like a splinter.
John Candelaria, the pre-season pick as the big man on the Pirate pitching staff, now has a 2-5 record. The Phillies handed it to him at Three Rivers Stadium last night, just when he was getting cozy with a 3-1 lead. Candy had even breezed through the first inning, and he's had some rough first innings lately.
The Phillies got him in the fifth inning with four quick singles, interrupted only by pitcher Steve Carlton's sacrifice bunt after the first two.
If there is some strange spell descending on Candelaria at odd times, it remains a mystery to the guys who victimize him.
"His velocity was there. If anything, he was getting the ball up a bit," said shortstop Larry Bowa, who led off the fifth with a broken-bat single. "Earlier, he wasn't getting his breaking ball over."
The Phillies were hitting it everywhere. Bowa's single was to left field. Manny Trillo followed with a single off Candelaria's glove to center. Carlton advanced both with a bunt.
Lonnie Smith then smacked a single to right, scoring Bowa, advancing Trillo and taking second on the throw himself.
"He finally got a fastball up on me, that's all," Smith said, shrugging.
Smith was 0-for-2 to that point.
Pete Rose, 1-for-1, singled to center, scoring both runners.
"No, Candy hadn't lost his stuff. He got us out in the next inning, didn't he?" Rose asked.
Candelaria has given up three or more runs in nine different innings this season – in all 29 of the 39 runs he has yielded. He has given up 13 runs in the first inning, 27 in the first three.
Enrique Romo relieved in the eighth. Candy had worked seven pretty good innings, giving up eight hits – but a fatal four of them in a bunch – four runs, and he fanned four.
With some pitchers, it just isn't their night. With Candy, sometimes it just isn't his inning.
"There's nothing wrong with Candelaria," Bowa said. "That was a good performance. It just happened that he was pitching against Carlton."
The Pirates got to Carlton for six hits through the first four innings – no more than two at a time – and single runs in the first, second, and fourth.
"This might have been Steve's worst start," said Bowa. "And it wasn't bad."