Wilmington Morning News - May 21, 1980

Reds edge Phillies in 7-6 slugfest


By John Bannon, Staff Correspondent


PHILADELPHIA - The pitchers went on strike a few days early.


Cincinnati Reds and Phillies hitters pelted an assortment of pitches from varied pitchers to nearly every nook and cranny of Veterans Stadium last night. The two teams combined for 22 hits on the waterlogged evening.


Perhaps the biggest blow wasn't a hit at all. Mike Schmidt's two-base throwing error started a two-run Cincinnati sixth and the Reds bullpen staggered to the finish for a 7-6 victory.


"They're all bad to lose," said Manager Dallas Green. "This was a tough one. We did some things right. We score some runs. Hit some homers. We just couldn't hold them down."


The Reds, aided by Schmidt's throwing error, came back for the final time in the sixth.


After starter Dick Ruthven had retired the first two men in the inning, Johnny Bench bounced one down the third baseline and Schmidt bounced one past Pete Rose at first.


"The ball hit the edge of the bag. I knew it was fair. I just couldn't get the ball out of my glove," Schmidt said. "When I did get it out, I just made a bad throw. I threw it away as good as I could. If you're going to make a bad throw, you might as well make one like that."


After Ruthven (4-3) issued two walks, the first one intentional, he worked Dave Collins into a 0-2 hole. The next pitch, though, beat the Phillies as Collins lined a soft single to center, driving in a pair and giving the Reds a 6-5 cushion.


"You never want an 0-2 pitch to beat you," Green said. "I'm sure it wasn't where he wanted it."


Ruthven wasn't alone in his location troubles. After the Reds opened the game with a two-run spot, the Phils came right back against Reds starter Charlie Leibrandt.


Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski worked their back-to-back trick again. Schmidt deposited a fastball over the left-centerfield wall and Luzinski hit a breaking ball over the fence in left.


The Phils took a 4-2 lead in the second on Garry Maddox' double, Manny Trillo's triple and a suicide squeeze by Ruthven.


The Reds came right back in the third to tie. Junior Kennedy, who had four hits, doubled to start the inning. Ken Griffey followed with a run-scoring single and Green had the bullpen going.


He stuck with Ruthven, though, and the rebounding righty seemed to settle down, yielding just one single until Collins' game-winner in the sixth.


"I wasn't pleased with the way he threw in the first inning, but I talked to Boonie and he said he was throwing well," Green said. "He seemed to settle down.


"He just didn't make the pitches he needed to make in the tough situations today. Certainly, he didn't make the pitch he needed to Collins."


The Phillies were equally as harsh with Leibrandt and they had their chances against a trio of relievers that followed.


Bake McBride put the Phils up 5-4 with a lead-off homer in the third. Luzinski, matching Schmidt's major-league leading 10 homers, gave the Phils a season-high four homers in a game and cut the deficit to 7-6 with a one-out homer in the eighth.


The game was played from the third inning on with the pit-a-pat droppings of rain clouds and from the very beginning with the black cloud of approaching labor strife.


Green, among other things, thinks the timing is inopportune.


"We're playing good baseball right now, he said. "You can feel that we're over the hump. We seem to have come up with the right blend of offense and pitching. But it wouldn't be just bad for the Phillies if a strike comes, it will be bad for all of baseball."


Luzinski, who has hit three homers after his return to the Vet from a dreadful road trip, shares his boss' feelings about the timing and affect. He's also about as optimistic.


"We'll all know in about 48 hours," he said.


The smart money apparently is on the rest of baseball, catching up with last night's pitchers.


EXTRA POINTS - The Phillies plan a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday to announce their plans concerning season ticket holders if the players strike... "We don't know the answers right now," said Bill Giles. "We're working on a lot of areas and will have the complete details on Friday... The Phils are 4-1 against southpaws... Last night s starter, Leibrandt, is the only lefty with a win over the Phils... Bake McBride – second in the NL in RBI – has hit in 14 of his last 15 games and is batting at better than a.350 pace... McBride was bitting.222 at this time last year... Larry Bowa entered last night's game hitting.236. He's hitting just.187 left-handed but.474 right-handed... Bowa was forced to leave the game after the sixth with a strained lower back... The Reds' Dave Collins extended his hit-, ting streak to 15 with a sixth inning single off Dick Ruthven... Tonight, it's Tom Seaver (2-2) vs. Larry Christenson (3-0)... Tomorrow consult your local labor law expert.

Baseball in a last-ditch bid to avert a walkout


By Hal Bock, AP Sports Writer


NEW YORK - On the eve of a final effort to avert a player strike, the two sides in the baseball contract dispute huddled separately yesterday, assembling final strategies.


Federal Mediator Kenneth Moffett has ordered management and the players back to the bargaining table today, hoping that two days apart will produce some changes in their philosophies.


"That's what we need at this point," Moffett said when he recessed the talks Sunday.


Since then, Marvin Miller, executive director of the players association, has been busy plotting strike logistics with team player representatives. Miller has been on the phone almost constantly, preparing the players with final instructions.


Meanwhile, Ray Grebey, chief negotiator for management, talked with owners, updating them on developments and getting their feelings about the final round of talks. Grebey said management remains united in its position.


The central issue separating the two sides is the owners' demand for compensation for free agents signing with new teams. The players fear that would place severe restrictions on their freedom of movement.


Management has insisted throughout that the players should continue negotiating instead of striking, but Miller's people have steadfastly refused to stop the clock, holding to the May 22 deadline which they agreed upon seven weeks ago at an executive board meeting tn Dallas.


Grebey also met yesterday and Monday with Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who has stayed out of the spotlight in the negotiations until now.


Several clubs will be on the road at the midnight tomorrow night deadline and one team, the San Diego Padres, has threatened not to allow players on the club charter back west unless they buy tickets in advance.


Most players seem convinced that a strike cannot be avoided. Mark Belanger of the Orioles, alternate American League player rep, said he would meet with his teammates today. "Everybody should know the whys," he said. "It's not a question of unity, it's understanding the whys."


Larry Bowa, player rep of the Phillies, said, "It looks inevitable. I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel, unless it's a locomotive coming our way."


George Brett, all-star third baseman of the Kansas City Royals, said he felt the players would stick together on the strike issue.


“I can't imagine anybody coming back and saying to the owners he didn't want to strike any more, he said. "Anybody who does that is going to spend the rest of his career in the dirt, ducking pitches thrown at his head."


The Atlanta Braves, who left for a road trip Monday, distributed meal money to the players lasting only through Thursday. Teams routinely pay per diem road expenses all at once, but the Braves were taking no chances.


Player representative Phil Niekro tried to inject some cheerfulness in the otherwise bleak picture. "I think something will be resolved," he said. "I also think the Atlanta Braves will win the pennant."