Wilmington Morning News - May 5, 1980

Phils lose wild, wacky, wooly but not wonderful game


By Rod Beaton, Staff Correspondent


PHILADELPHIA - When baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday, in his infinite wisdom, it is doubtful he ever anticipated a game like this.


It may have counted in the official National League standings, but Los Angeles 12-10 victory over the Phillies yesterday in the sun-drenched Vet was something, er, different.


Managers Tommy Lasorda and Dallas Green are not baseball novices. They aren't quite contemporaries of Doubleday (Abner, not the new Mets owners), but they have seen plenty of innings. Neither could recall seeing nine innings quite like yesterday's.


The strange rites began when outfielder Dusty Baker of the Dodgers received a first-inning reprieve. It wasn't quite like a commutation from death row, but he acted like it.


The Dodgers batted out of order in the first. The game was out of order thereafter.


With two on and one run in, Baker unknowingly batted in Ron Cey's spot He grounded into a short-to-second force.


At this point, the Phils forced the issue, and a 15-minute umpires' huddle ensued. Poor, innocent Cey was ruled out, charged an at-bat no less, and Baker was sent back to the box, the runners back to the corners.


A moment later, that threesome met at the plate. Baker poled the first post-rhubarb serve from Phils' starter Randy Lerch off the tarp in left.


Los Angeles went on to a 9-0 lead, abetted by Baker's second homer (a two-run shot in the sixth) and sixth of the year. Meanwhile, Dave Goltz, the Dodgers' expensive free-agent acquisition from Minnesota, was doing an impersonation of Don Drysdale, or at least Mark Bomback. The big righthander gave up three hits through five innings and stretched his scoreless streak to 23. The bulge should have been secure.


On this day, the lead was no more secure than the dollar. The Phils actually tied the game with four runs in the sixth, three in the seventh and two in the eighth, but bullpen ace Dickie Noles, failing for the first time, was torched for three runs in the ninth and the Dodgers, finally, held on.


"I can't recall a game like that," said Lasorda. "I was sitting there relaxed with a 9-0 lead, a pitcher trying for his third straight shutout. Suddenly I look up and it's 9-9 and I've used everybody on my staff just about. There ought to be a law against things like this happening to managers."


But Lasorda and Coach Monty Basgall set the precedent, posting the correct lineup in the dugout and giving the wrong one to the umps. That provided the jolt that turned the game into a clinic on baseball's infinite, bizarre possibilities and the reason for Green's protest. The Phils wanted the force-out on Baker's first at-bat and Cey ruled out.


"I wouldn't want to tape this game and show it to kids," said Steve Garvey.


•  In the first, second baseman Luis Aguayo of the Phils brought back memories of Pancho Herrera at that position, kicking – literally – Rudy Law's potential double-play grounder into right. Then, during Baker's aborted at bat, he bailed out on the pivot as Garvey barreled in. Aguayo fired to first, but the ball dropped behind him.


•  After Aguayo's error, Law stole second, something the Phils' opponents have been doing freely. He paid a price the others haven't – Bob Boone's throw sizzled off-target – off his head. After the inning, Law left the game complaining of dizziness and a headache.


•  In the Phils' second, Aguayo was called out for Boone's base-running. Going from second to third, Boone brushed third baseman Ron Cey.


•  Two batters reached base after striking out: Reggie Smith (in the third) on a wild pitch and Luzinski (7th) on a passed ball by Yeager. Trying to throw out Smith, Boone threw the ball into right, a runner scored and Bob had his fifth error of the year, two less than all of last season.


•  Dave Lopes drove in a Dodger run in the sixth courtesy of a bases-loaded walk issued by ineffective Scott Munninghoff.


•  Rookie Mickey Hatcher came in to rest Cey. On his first chance, a seventh-inning routine grounder by Pete Rose, he heaved the ball into the stands.


There was some real baseball going on, too. Greg Luzinski hit a three-run homer to left in the sixth, starting the Phils' rally and breaking Goltz' shutout string. The homer was Luzinski's seventh, tied with Otto Velez tops in the majors, and third in three games. Bob Boone knocked the next pitch out to left.


Hatcher's error helped the Phils close to 9-7 in the seventh. Bake McBride singled in Rose and a triple by Del Unser scored McBride and chased Goltz. Mike Schmidt greeted Charlie Hough with a sacrifice fly to left.


Finally, John Vukovich of all people, the 0-for-season third baseman, tied it in the eighth with a two-run single.


The gritty rally was squandered. With two on in the ninth, Garvey singled to load the bases, a drive to center misplayed by late-inning sub Lonnie Smith. Another replacement, Keith Moreland (for Boone) nonchalanted a pitch into a passed ball and the go-ahead run and Hatcher doubled in two more.


PHILS FACTS – Noles (0-1) got the loss; Joe Beckwith (2-0), the win... Ron Reed and Kevin Saucier gave the Phils three effective innings... Green claimed two umpires supported his protest case... Dr. Phillip Marone examined Garry Maddox' ankle sprain and estimates he'll be out a week.