Gettysburg Times - October 11, 1980

Astros Win, Take 2-1 Lead Over Phillies


By the Associated Press


HOUSTON (AP) — The pop gun is proving stronger than the cannon and as a result the Houston Astros are ahead 2-1 in the best-of-five National League Championship series.

The Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 in 11 innings Friday and need just one more victory to buy a ticket to the World Series.


The only run of the game came in the 11th when Joe Morgan, a veteran of playoff pressure cookers for years at Cincinnati, tripled to start the final inning. After two intentional walks loaded the bases. Denny Walling hit a sacrifice fly scoring Rafael Landestoy, running for Morgan.


The rest of the game might best be described as a duel of missed opportunities, dictated by superb pitching on both sides. Joe Niekro worked 10 innings and pitched six-hit shutout ball for Houston. Reliever Dave Smith backed him up with one inning of scoreless relief.


The Phillies were almost as effective. Larry Christenson started and went six. allowing only three hits. Dickie Noles worked l-1/3 innings to maintain the scoreless battle. Tug McGraw went three innings, and gave up the only run of the day.


This position is not strange one for the Phillies, who have won four division titles in five years, and have yet to win the NL pennant. It is a strange
spot for the Astros, who in their 19 years in the league have never won a title.


The outlook of Phillies Manager Dallas Green was succinct. "We're in trouble."

The Phillies will try to extend this series by sending out their ace, Steve Carlton, today against Houston's Vern Ruhle. Carlton. whose 24 victories were the most in the league this season, will be working for the 15th time with just three days rest. He was credited for the Phillies' win series opener Tuesday.


Houston won the second game in Philadelphia. 7-4. with a four-run 10th inning rally off reliever Ron Reed.


Should Carlton manage to keep the Phillies alive, Green said he would use unbeaten rookie Marty Bystrom, 5-0, in the fifth game Sunday. The Astros would counter with either Ken Forsch or Nolan Ryan.


The Phillies' Mike Schmidt. NL home run and RBI king, sat calmly in his locker space and tried to put the Phillies position in its proper prospective.


"They've got to beat the best pitcher in baseball (Carlton). If they do, they deserve to go to the World Series. But remember, baseball games are like snow flakes There are never two of the same kind." Schmidt said.


The Phillies, a hard-hitting team which depends on long ball hitters such as Luzinski and Schmidt, lose their power edge in the wide open spaces of Houston's Astrodome.


The light-hitting Astros, who depend on pitching, speed and defense — a team made for their huge park— just try to hold on until they can squeeze across a run or two.


The Phillies will face another tough pitcher today in Vern Ruble, 12-4. and 7-2
since Houston lost J.R. Richard, who suffered a stroke in mid-season.


The Astros" Cesar Cedeno underwent successful surgery after suffering a compound dislocation and extreme ligament tear in his right ankle in the Astros' vicyory Friday.


Dr Harold Breistord, the Astros team physician, said he expects the Houston center fielder to be immobilized five or six weeks.


Cedeno is expected to be ready to play by spring training.


The Astros are prohibited from adding a player to the roster for the playoffs. but in the event they get into the World Series. a determination will be made then as to whether or not the club can substitute tor Cedeno.


Cedeno was hurt while crossing first base after hitting into a double play in the sixth inning.


"Everyone is concerned and upset," said Houston Manager Bill Virdon, "But this is a better club more intestinal fortitude than a lot of people may give us credit for. They'll keep it together for the next one or two days."


Rookie Gary Woods, who hit 365 in 18 games Since being brought up from the minors Aug 31, will join Terry Puhl and Jose Cruz in the Astros outfield.