Wilmington Morning News - May 2, 1980

McGraw holds NY in check – finally


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


NEW YORK – The Phillies were walking a 2-1 tightrope last night when Tug McGraw was summoned to replace a tiring Steve Carlton.


If you've been following the Phillies' melodrama this spring, you had to say to yourself, "Well, here we go again."


McGraw shuffled to the mound, took the baseball and promptly snuffed the Mets' most serious threat of the night. With the bases loaded, a run in and two out in the seventh, McGraw used just one pitch to get Lee Mazzilli to bounce into a force.


The zany McGraw leaped in the air and then pranced off the field.


He didn't stop there. He one-two-threed the New Yorkers in the eighth and ninth innings to preserve the 2-1 victory and save Carlton's fourth triumph in five decisions.


"Tonight, Tug used his screwball," said Manager Dallas Green, who was able to force a smile for a change. "He was in command all the way. He gave us a big lift."


So did Luis Aguayo.


The peppery little Puerto Rican blasted his first major-league home run with Larry Bowa aboard in the fifth to give the Phils a 2-0 lead against Pete Falcone.


"I am not a home-run hitter," said Aguayo in broken English, "but when the pitchers make a mistake, I am ready. I hit the ball hard all night. The home run was a fastball about knee high."


Falcone, whose record dipped to 1-2, started out like Sandy Koufax. He struck out the first six Phillies he faced to tie a National League record and they did not get a hit until Lonnie Smith singled leading off the fourth.


With two down in the fifth, Bowa lined a single to right. Aguayo followed, sending a 2-0 Falcone delivery over the left-field fence to end a 17-inning drought for the Phils.


"As I ran around the bases, I realized that this gave Steve Carlton the lead," said Aguayo. "At that stage of the game, considering the way he was pitching, I thought that was important."


Carlton, coming off Saturday night's record-breaking sixth career one-hitter, wiggled out of trouble in the early innings.


In the seventh, he got the first two batters on infield outs, but Doug Flynn singled to center and Jose Cardenal, batting for Falcone, walked.


Mike Schmidt saved a run when he made an outstanding stop of Frank Taveras' bouncer, but was unable to get an out.


With the bases loaded, Carlton walked Elliott Maddox on four pitches and Green came out with the hook.


"I think Steve was tired," said the manager. "That was the second straight pressure game he had pitched in. He pitched a lot of innings where he could not afford to make a mistake. That type of a situation drains you."


"Lefty had good stuff early," said catcher Bob Boone. "He started missing a little in the fourth and in the sixth he got away with some hanging pitches. Maybe Dallas is right about the pressure angle, but Lefty is the kind of guy who blocks things like that out of his mind."


The Phils managed just five hits to the Mets' eight and as the New Yorkers began to come to life, a wasted opportunity in the sixth loomed important.


Smith, who played right field and led off last night, was save on a Mazzilli error at first. Pete Rose walked, bringing up Garry Maddox.


Maddox, who has butchered more bunt attempts than most people can remember, dropped a perfect one, advancing the runners.


Up came Schmidt who sent a murmur of hope through the crowd of 5,928 when he looked at a third strike. Greg Luzinski then fouled out to the catcher and it was still 2-0.


"The key tonight was the fact that we got the lead for Carlton and Tug McGraw was able to hold it," said Green. "This is more like the things you expect the Phillies to do."


"Yes, my screwball was effective tonight," said McGraw, who got pinch-hitter Alex Trevino looking at one to end the game. "I didn't throw it much earlier because one year I blew my arm out with it. But now, it's May and I can throw it."


EXTRA POINTS – Rose was Falcone's second strikeout and it was the first time this year Peter Edward has gone down swinging... The Mets' strategy was left open for second-guessing when they did not walk Schmidt with runners on second and third in the sixth... Then, after Schmidt was called out on strikes, Manager Joe Torre elected to pitch to Luzinski, who fouled out... Dan Norman sent a fly ball to deep center field leading off the ninth, but Maddox ran it down... The Phils left immediately after the game for home... They open a three-game series with the Dodgers tonight, Dick Ruthven going against Rick Sutcliffe... Tomorrow, Larry Christenson will face Bert Hooton and the series will end with Randy Lerch opposing Don Sutton.