Philadelphia Daily News - May 3, 1980
Phils Dodge the Bullet
By Bill Conlin
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - especially if the beholder goes into the bottom of the ninth with a four-run lead.
From a beauty standpoint, this was a game which reminded you of the guy who promoted your first blind date and said. "She's a real dog, but she has a great personality."
Dallas Green ignored the warts and blemishes. Bo Derek never looked better than the Phillies' scuffling, 9-5. victory over a Dodger team that came to town with a 10-game winning streak. OK, the victory had a cast in one eye and walked with a limp, but Green left the Vet holding hands with it.
HE HAD TO LIKE Dick Ruthven's best pitching performance in 10 months – a rain-delayed six inning effort during which the righthander allowed two runs and showed dramatic improvement in velocity location and sharpness of breaking ball.
He had to like the two run-homer Mike Schmidt powered off an off-speed Rick Sutcliffe pitch after Garry Maddox walked with two outs in the first And when Bake McBride doubled home Ruthven in the second, the Phillies had their first three-run lead in six days. Love is a many-splendored thing.
He had to like the two-run homer Greg Luzinski slammed off Sutcliffe just before the second rain delay of the long evening, a 41-minute interruption with nobody out in. the sixth.
Sutcliffe and Ruthven were gone when the survivors in the paid crowd of 30.294 settled down to watch a finish that had all the cosmetic appeal of Phyllis Diller with her hair in rollers. "That ain't purty," as Jerry Martin used to say.
RON REED STARTED the seventh and gave up a run on back-to-back two-out doubles by pinch-hitter Rick Monday and Davey Lopes. In the eighth, Reed walked torrid Reggie Smith on four pitches and fell behind 3-1 to Steve Garvey, who had managed to drive in 17 runs despite a slump.
The first baseman took Reed off the backdrop in rightcenter for two runs. Oops. Somebody was scrawling a mustache on Green's Mona Lisa.
The manager walked slowly to the mound. For once, the boos which came down were not for Danny Ozark, who was standing dispassionately in the third base coaches box. Green slapped the veteran reliever on the rump, said a few words and returned to the dugout, which did nothing to soothe the mood of the soggy multitude.
"I told him. 'I'm going to give you one more man,'" Green said after the Phils snapped a three-game losing streak. "I told him to throw the baseball and pitch baseball the way he can. He said, 'I'm trying.' In fairness to Ronnie, he was throwing hard and had good stuff. That guy has hit a lot of home runs off a lot of people and if you check him out he usually hits them in clutch situations."
REED GAVE THE CROWD one last thrill – a cannon shot off the upper deck facade in left by Dusty Baker that was 10-feet foul. But he struck out the fine leftfielder and retired Ron Cey and Bill Russell to end the inning.
In a game within a game which became a matter of which manager would stick the longest with a struggling veteran reliever, Tommy Lasorda lost, 4-3. Four is how many runs the Phillies scored off knuckleballer Charley Hough in the eighth. Lasorda stayed with him so long he made Green look like Captain Hook.
If last night's Lasorda had been in charge of the mission to rescue the hostages from Iran, those Special Forces guys would probably still be on a desert highway – hitchhiking.
Schmidt struck out leading off the eighth inning, but Luzinski walked on a 3-0 knuckleball and Bob Boone followed suit. Hough seemed well out of the jam when Larry Bowa popped up for the second out. Then he walked Luis Aguayo to load the bases for pinch-hitter Greg Gross.
HOUGH MISSED WITH TWO knucklers. Gross, struggling with an over-striding problem, geared himself for a fast ball and he got one, a nasty sinker down and away. "It was his pitch," Greg said, "too good to swing at 2-0. With a strike on me I was looking for anything, hoping for another fastball, but with the knuckler in mind."
Hough unfurled another sinker. It was down, probably under the strike zone, but Gross is an excellent low-ball hitter and he got just enough with an inside out swing to chip it over Russell's leap and score two runs. Incredibly, Lasorda let Hough face Pete Rose, who walked to reload the bases. The Dodger manager brought in righthander Joe Beck-with to face McBride and Bake drove in two more runs with a sharp single to right.
It should have been a ho-hummer from there, but it turned into high adventure for Dickie Noles, who had to throw five outs before he could accept congratulations.
He got pinch-hitter Jay Johnstone – our old flame – on a fly to left leading off the ninth, then walked Garry Thomasson. Lopes hit a chopper to Mike Schmidt's left that became a single when the third baseman slipped on the wet turf.
NOLES HAD A GREAT shot at ending it when rookie centerfielder Rudy Law hit a liner that Bowa speared going to his right. Thomasson was doubled cleanly off second, but Aguayo dropped Bowa's throw. Smith, who has driven in at least one run in each of his last eight games, walked to lead the bases.
Garvey ended the heightened suspense, however, with a fly to Gross in left. “I just missed it,” Steve said. “His ball tails nad I hit it just a little to far down the bat.”
Well, now you know what a Philadelphia "10" is. It's a "1" that scores nine runs.
"I thought the game was beautiful, just beautiful," Green said.
Just like that first blind date.
PHILUPS: Dick Ruthven was encouraged by his performance. "Location, velocity and getting my breaking ball over were all better," he said. "From my last start it was like day and night. I made some mechanical adjustments. Getting my breaking ball over made my fastball more effective. It's a place to start."... Danny Ozark, a guy you have to like, celebrated his homecoming with a memorable quote while on a pre-game talk show. Discussing the possibility that he might return to major league managing if the right opportunity presents itself, Oze said, "It so happens my contract with the Dodgers says I'm welcome to leave at any time."... First rain delay came before the bottom of the fourth and lasted 53 minutes... Dodgers staff ERA during the winning streak was 1.68. They've lost seven straight at the Vet, including a Phillies home sweep last season... Larry Christenson made his first start today since injuring his groin throwing a first inning pitch against the Mets on April 23. He opposed Burt Hooton on NBC's backup Game of the Week... Steve Garvey played in his 693d consecutive game, 11th longest streak in major league history.
3 Win Tickets
There were three winners in the Daily News Home Run Payoff in last night's Phillies-Dodgers game.
In the fifth inning George Wolf. Martin Vitello and Larry Mandart Jr, all of Philadelphia, each won four tickets to a Phillies game.
So far the Daily News has paid out $2785. To enter, clip out and mail the coupon that appears on Page 41.