Philadelphia Inquirer - June 7, 1980
Phils’ victory a Walk in rain
Rookie wins, 6-5, over Cubs
By Danny Robbins, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dallas Green tinkered with his lineup, Bob Walk stopped tinkering with whatever he could find on the infield, and thus the Phillies came up with a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs last night at the Vet.
It was, in one sense, Friday Night Baseball at the Vet as usual: It rained. And so the first game of this three-game series only began to roll after two rain delays at the beginning.
But it was a different Bob Walk, the rookie righthander who has been airlifted out of Oklahoma City into the Phils' beleaguered rotation. He gained his first win in the major leagues by going 5-2/3 innings, striking out five and not allowing a walk. That is the kind of stuff the Phillies need now.
"It was one outing, one game, one victory – and that doesn't make a year, a career or anything," said a low-key Green. "I don't get too down over bad pitching performances, and I don't get too up over fine ones. You could not classify tonight as a fine performance. He gave up five runs.
"But he's learning, and he gave us what we needed. He battled out of a tough first inning. He had as good a stuff as you'll see. But whether that buys him a ticket to October – it remains to be seen."
Walk entered this game with 10 walks in his previous 8-1/3 innings, and he was coming off a bizarre outing in Chicago, where he stomped and shuffled and drove everyone crazy between pitches. But he was a changed, purposeful man last night. "He just got the ball and threw it," Green noted.
The Cubs often hit it, of course (Larry Biittner doubled twice), although Dave Kingman got just a single in three turns at bat against Walk. But the Phillies had just enough offense on this night.
Mike Schmidt did not hit any home runs. But Pete Rose, Greg Luzinski and Larry Bowa each provided a run-scoring double in the first inning, and Lonnie Smith had three hits – a single, a double and a triple – in five trips to the plate.
Yes, Lonnie Smith. Green started Smith in center field in place of Garry Maddox and let Keith Moreland work behind the plate instead of the struggling Bob Boone. Smith was the leadoff man, with Rose batting second, and, for whatever reason, the chemistry worked.
There was no special reason for using Smith, the speedy young outfielder who has been up and down with the Phillies. "I just wanted the opportunity to play him and give the other guy (Maddox) a rest," Green said.
Trade bait? Smith thought that could have been the case. "I think there was a little of that going around tonight," he said later.
At any rate, his triple scored the Phils' fifth and sixth runs in the fifth inning. The Cubs came back with three in the sixth to make it a one-run game in the sixth. But the Phillies held on, thanks to fine relief work by Ron Reed (2 innings, 1 hit) and Tug McGraw.
The Cubs should not be confused with the Pirates, of course, but McGraw came in to retire the side 1-2-3 in the ninth. He struck out Tim Blackwell and Steve Dillard, then retired Ivan DeJesus on a fly to right.
The Cub's made it a 3-2 game in the third when they put singles by DeJesus and Kingman around Biittner's first double. But then Walk sailed through a pair of dry 1-2-3 innings, and the Phillies gave him some more runs to work with.
They got one in the fourth, with Smith the catalyst again. He opened the inning with a double, moved to third on McBride's sacrifice fly to center and scored on another sacrifice fly to center by Schmidt.
In the fifth, with two out, Trillo started the rally with a triple that scooted past Vail in right. But it was the omnipresent Smith who got the key hit. Walk was walked, of all things, and next Smith cracked another triple to right – another ball that bounded by Vail – and so both runners scored. Dick Tidrow replaced Krukow in that spot and got Rose, but the Phils were sitting pretty at 6-2.
But the cushion and Walk's groove vanished promptly in the Cubs' three-run sixth.
Biitner opened the inning with his second double. Walk got Kingman on a pop-up to Trillo. Vail singled to center, but Biitner held at third as Smith made a nice play in charging the ball and throwing. But Jerry Martin got one run home with a single to left. Steve Ontiveros grounded out, moving the runners up, and then Tim Blackwell – the Cubs' .208-hit-ting catcher – tripled to bring in two more runs and end Walk's night, if a little too late.
NOTES: The Cubs will not see Steve Carlton this weekend. The pitching pairings for the rest of the series look like this: Randy Lerch vs. Rick Reuschel at 7:05 tonight, Dick Ruthven vs. Lynn McGlothen at 1:35 p.m. tomorrow.... Then the San Francisco Giants and Vida Blue (8-2) come to town. The San Diego Padres follow to finish the home stand.... Things do not look bad down on the farm: Burke Suter just threw a three-hitter for Oklahoma City to improve his record to 7-0, and Reading catcher Ozzie Virgil (.308, 11 homers, 48 RBIs) has been named the Eastern League's Player of the Month for May.