Wilmington Morning News - May 7, 1980

Ruthven, Phils make up for disastrous start 10-5


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA - The roof caved in on Dick Ruthven in the first inning last night, when the right-hander staggered off the mound, the Phillies were looking up at a 4-0 Atlanta lead.


"I called Rufus over to the corner of the dugout," manager Dallas Green remembered. "I said, "Dick, just go out there and hold 'em. We'll get those runs back.'"


Moments later, second baseman Ramon Aviles, whose error opened the floodgates in the first, told Ruthven: I'm sorry, I hope I can make it up to you."


Dick Ruthven listened carefully and all the promises came true on a showery night at Veterans Stadium.


Ruthven pitched well, Aviles more than made up for his blunder and the Phillies stunned Atlanta 10-5 to the delight of 25,302 fans.


Actually, the Phils' fifth victory in their last six games was not as much a breeze as it appeared.


Clutch relief pitching by Dickie Noles protected a 6-5 lead until Mike Schmidt blasted a three-run triple in the eighth and scored when second baseman Jerry Royster's relay throw sailed past the catcher.


Schmidt, who extended his hitting streak to eight games with a run-scoring double in the third when the Phils scored four times against starter Doyle Alexander, increased his National League-leading RBI total to 22.


"I was in a good spot in the eighth against Al Hrabosky," said Schmidt, who blasted two homers in Monday night's 7-0 Cakewalk. "I was just trying to hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and got a lot of wood on the bat. Brian Asselstine got his legs tangled up out there and I got a triple."


The Phils collected 14 hits against four Atlanta pitchers and of them seven were doubles and one the triple.


Pete Rose, who entered the game batting .203, had two doubles and a single in four at-bats to raise his average to .229.


"I'll tell you the truth," said Rose, "I am just as happy with the three runs I scored. When you're leading off and down by all those runs, it is important to be involved in scoring some. I had a good night in batting practice and that is always a good sign for me."


Green, who is becoming accustomed to these storybook comebacks, pointed to Aviles as the key to the game.


The little second baseman, who is filling in for the injured Luis Aguayo who was filling in for the injured Manny Trillo, turned in two fine fielding plays, doubled and scored what appeared to be the winning run when it was 6-5.


It was his start of a doubleplay with runners on first and third and one out in the fifth that choked the Braves.


Aviles scooped up Chris Chambliss' bouncer, tossed to Larry Bowa and the inning was over. At the time, the play preserved a 5-4 Philadelphia lead.


"That took the heart out of them," said Green. "That had to be the key to the game as far as I was concerned.


"I felt terrible about the error in the first; I gave 'em four runs," said Aviles. "I wanted to make it up to Dick Ruthven; I think I did help.”


Ruthven, now 2-2, gained the victory, while Noles picked up his second save while reducing his earned run average to 2.08.


Ruthven walked Jerry Royster to start the game, but a double play quickly pulled the right-hander out of that jam. He should have been out of further trouble when Dale Murphy hit a grounder to the right of second base. Ramon Aviles let the ball go through his legs for an error giving the Braves life.


Chris Chambliss followed with a single to right, Murphy stopping at third. After Jeff Burroughs walked, Brian Asselstine blasted a three-run double to the gap in left-center. Asselstine scored on Bruce Benedict's single to left.


The Phils started their comeback immediately.


Pete Rose opened with a double to left-center and easily scored on Bake McBride's double to right.


While Ruthven got his act together, the Phils stormed into the lead in the third when they scored four times on five hits.


Rose again opened with a double and after McBride popped out, Mike Schmidt doubled to score the first run of the inning. Schmidt came home on Greg Luzinski's single to left and the Bull scored on Greg Gross' double to center. After Bob Boone filed out, Larry Bowa singled to center and it was 5-4, and Alexander was replaced by Lonny Boggs.


The Phils added their sixth run in the sixth when Aviles doubled to right, went to third when Ruthven was safe on a fielder's choice and scored on McBride's sacrifice fly to left.


Ruthven, who had allowed just two hits and two walks since the first, ran out of gas in the seventh. When he walked pinch-hitter Mike Lum, Green went to the mound with the hook. Ron Reed was summoned and quickly got in more trouble.


Murphy's single with runners on first and third made it 6-5 and Green had seen enough. He brought in Noles who got Chambliss on a fly to center before striking out Burroughs.


EXTRA POINTS - When Rose was called out on strikes in the sixth, it was only the third time this year he has struck out... The last time Alexander faced the Phils was in 1971 when he was with the Dodgers... His only decision that summer was a 5-1 victory over Ken Reynolds... Phils' pinch hitters are 11 for their last 19 at-bats... The series concludes tonight with old nemesis Phil Niekro facing Larry Christenson... The Phils than go to Cincinnati for a three-game weekend series with the Reds beginning Friday night... Randy Lerch faces Charlie Leibrandt in the opener, with Saturday afternoon's headliner between Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver scheduled for NBC-10... Ruthven will oppose Mike LaCoss on Sunday after which the Phils fly to Atlanta.