Wilmington Evening Journal - May 7, 1980
Rose drives Braves bats with new bats
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA – Somebody stole Pete Rose's bats. That's right. Somebody strolled into the Phillies' clubhouse yesterday and swiped the bats right out of Pete's locker.
"I'd like to find that guy," Rose said. "He did me a favor. Those bats didn't have any hits in them."
So, Peter Edward went to the supply room, selected an arm load of new lumber and promptly put it to work last night. He cracked two doubles and a single and scored three runs as the Phillies stormed from behind to shock Atlanta 10-5 at Veterans Stadium.
Rose had been in one of the worst spring slumps of his career, starting the contest with a .203 average before his 3-for-4 outburst.
The pregame bat episode was just one of several little nuances of a contest that was nearly 30 minutes late starting because of a South Philadelphia thunderstorm.
Reserve second baseman Ramon Aviles made a costly error on Dale Murphy's grounder in the first inning that opened the gates for four unearned Atlanta runs at the expense of starting pitcher Dick Ruthven.
Once that inning ended, Manager Dallas Green promised Ruthven the Phillies would get the runs back if he held the Braves in check. Standing behind Green was Aviles, who apologized to Ruthven and promised to make up for the miscue.
As the sometime-showery night progressed, both promises came true.
Ruthven pitched five scoreless innings while the Phils were rolling their heavy artillery into position for the kill. They scored a run in the first, added four more in the third to take a 5-4 lead and made it 6-4 in the sixth.
After Ruthven tired in the seventh, Ron Reed was ineffective, but Green wasted no time pressing "hammer" Dickie Noles into service. The Braves had closed to within one at 6-5 and had runners on first and third with one out when Noles slammed the door in their faces.
The Phils' eighth was a mere frolic. They scored four times off reliever Al Hrabosky, with Mike Schmidt's bases-loaded triple running his RBI total for the night to four, leaving him one behind Houston's Jose Crux for the National League lead. Cruz has 23.
Rose now has 19 hits in 83 at-bats for a .229 average. A year ago he was hitting well above .300 en route to his .331.
"I really don't like the word slump," said Rose. "What I've been in is a rut. Slumps are for long periods of time, and when you hit the ball hard.
"After I picked out the new bats, I took batting practice and hit the ball well. I like to do the same thing in BP that I do in a game. For me, that is usually a good indication and tonight it carried over in the game.
"We've only played 21 games. I throw a 4-for-S night and I'll be up to .260. Wait until I've had 100 at-bats, then it will be time to worry if I'm not hitting.
"Actually, tonight I was just as pleased I scored three runs. When you're down 4-0 early, you have to get on base and score."
When reporters questioned Green about Rose's night, the manager smiled and shook his head.
"Pete Rose is not a .203 hitter," Green said. "He's not a .229 hitter, either. Sooner or later somebody's going to pay and tonight it was Atlanta."
To Green, however, the key to the game was a double play in the fifth inning started by Aviles.
With runners on first and third and one out, Chris Chambliss hit a hard bouncer just to the right of second base. Aviles scooped the ball up, lobbed it to Larry Bowa and the Phils eventually had the twin killing.
"We're up by a run then," said Green. "That play took the heart out of them and kept us where we had to be."
"I felt terrible about the error in the first inning," said Aviles. "I told Ruthven I was sorry because I gave the Braves four runs. I, told him I'd make it up to him."
Green said Ruthven was tired in the seventh when he walked pinch-hitter Mike Lum to start the inning.
"I wanted him to give me one more inning," said Green, "but he couldn't do it. Reed has been scuffling and we're trying to get him on the right track, but we only had two runs to work with so I couldn't wait."
Reed got one out on a fielder's choice, then gave up back-to-back singles to Larvell Blanks and Murphy.
Noles got Chambliss on a short fly to center on a full-count pitch, then had Jeff Burroughs looking at a third strike.
"Dickie did the job we expect him to do," said Green. "He was just super. The key was getting Chambliss. If the ball bad been much deeper, the tying run would have been able to score.”
EXTRA POINTS – Green's protest of Sunday's game with Los Angeles was tunned down by the National League. He argued that when the Dodgers batted out of order in the first inning, the play should have cost them two outs instead of one... Green says Garry Maddox and Manny Trillo are about ready to resume play. Both are recovering from sprained ankles... When Rose was called out on strikes in the sixth, it was only the third time this year he has struck out... Doyle Alexander was the losing pitcher... Phils' pinch hitters are 11 for their last 19 at-bats... The series concludes tonight with old nemesis Phil Niekro facing Larry Christenson... Schmidt has an eight-game hitting streak... Prior to this season, Noles had appeared in relief only once in 114 games. That was in 1978 at Reading.