October 10, 1980
Following in the footsteps of the second game extra inning debacle, Game 3 was a close-fought pitcher's duel. The Phils' Larry Christenson and Houston's Joe Niekro each shut down the opponent's bats throughout the game. Unfortunately, in the close game, it would be the Astros the broke through, leaving the Phils on the precipice of yet another playoff disaster.
"After it bounced away from McBride, I thought I had a chance to go all the way around but the third base coach held me." - Joe Morgan
"It'd be fun to come back and win this thing. That just might be possible. Lefty yanks 'em tomorrow and you don't know where the pressure is." - Dallas Green
"They have to beat the best pitcher in the world tomorrow to win the pennant." - Pete Rose
From "The World Champion Phillies and the Road to Victory"
The Astrodome is a pitcher's ball park. It's difficult to hit home runs in the spacious stadium. The Astros are perfectly moulded to play in the Dome- strong pitching, solid defense and an offense geared to stealing bases, doubles, triples, not much power at all.
Larry Christenson and Joe Niekro were the opponents in the first playoff game ever to be played indoors.
The game was typical of the Dome as the pitchers dominated. The Astros scored a run in the 11th to win, 1-0.
The Phillies stranded 10 base runners in the last four innings of Game Two. In this game, they left men on base in eight of the 11 innings.
Their best threats came in the third and ninth.
With two on and two out in the third, Greg Luzinski crushed the ball. Jose Crus drifted back to catch the towering shot on the warning track.
Garry Maddox was hit by a pitch with two outs in the ninth. After he stole second, Larry Bowa was walked. Bob Boone followed with a scorching line drive into the gap in left center. Cruz raced to his left and speared the ball to end the threat.
Christenson gave up just three hits in six innings of work. Three times Houston had two men on base in an inning and twice he got out of jams by throwing a double-play ball. Dickie Noles issued a harmless walk in the seventh and left the next inning after Terry Puhl singled and was bunted to second.
Tug McGraw got Joe Morgan to fly to Maddox, walked Jose Cruz on purpose and kept Houston scoreless when Ceasr Cedeno skied to Bake McBride.
Each team had a runner on base in the 10th but it remained 0-0. Dave Smith replaced Niekro in the 11th. He ended the inning by striking out Del Unser with two Phillies on base.
Morgan then put the real heat on McGraw as he tripled over McBride's head in right center leading off the 11th. Green ordered a pair of intentional walks to fill the bases.
Denny Walling put Houston into a 2-1 lead in the series by hitting a fly ball on an 0-2 pitch to left, scoring Rafael Landestoy, who had been sent in as a runner for Morgan.