Camden Courier-Post - October 12, 1980

Phils beat Astros, 5-3; force showdown


By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor


HOUSTON – Pete Rose plowed into reserve catcher Bruce Bochy in the top of the 10th inning last night to help the Phillies whip the Houston Astros, 5-3, and even the best-of-five National League playoffs.


The two teams will decide the championship tonight here in the Astrodome with rookie Marty Bystrom taking the mound against Houston veteran Nolan Ryan.


Ace reliever Tug McGraw struck out Joe Morgan and got Jeff Leonard and Art Howe on easy flies to win after the Phillies broke a 3-3 tie with a pair of runs in the top of the 10th.


The third straight extra-inning game of the series was decided when Rose singled and was running full speed when Greg Luzinski lined a shot over third baseman Enos Cabell.


Catcher Bochy, playing because of injuries to Alan Ashby and Luis Pujols, tried to catch the ball and block the plate at the same time. Rose crushed him as he struggled for the ball.


Luzinski's clutch hit climaxed a wild contest that featured three unusual plays.


The umpires disagreed on a catch-trap call in the fourth and needed 20 minutes to decide whether the Astros had pulled a triple play or the Phillies had two runners in scoring position with one out.


The compromise called it a double play and both Manager Dallas Green and his counterpart Bill Virdon of Houston played the game under protest.


Then in the sixth, Houston's third run of the game was erased from the scoreboard when the Phillies appealed. Garry Woods had left third too soon on a fly to right field and was called out by umpire Bob Engle.


In the eighth, the Phillies had the go-ahead run allowed even though Mike Schmidt was doubled off first base.

Who’s on first?  No one knew


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


HOUSTON – It will surely go down in baseball history as the Day of Confusion.


It will surely be remembered as the day when no one – not the umpires, not the players, not the managers – knew precisely what was happening when.


Three plays will linger.


In one, confusion reigned for more than 20 minutes while the umpires tried to decide whether there was one out and runners on second and third; there were two out and a runner at second, or the Astros had turned the first triple play in the history of the playoffs.


In another, one runner scored and a second was doubled off first on a sacrifice fly that was never caught. And in still another, an Astros runner tagged and scored, but was ruled out on an appeal, negating his run and costing Houston the game.


The first play came in the top of the fourth inning, with the score 0-0. Bake McBride and Manny Trillo each singled. Garry Maddox followed by hitting a soft, low line drive toward Houston pitcher Vern Ruhle.


Trillo thought the ball had bounced into Ruhle's glove. The Phillies' second baseman had broken for second immediately. McBride started to go toward third, stopped, then finally advanced to the base.


Ruhle threw to first baseman Art Howe; then Howe heard voices yelling for him to throw the ball to second. Instead, Howe ran to second and tagged the bag for what appeared to be a triple play.


Home plate umpire Doug Harvey ruled the ball caught, Trillo out, McBride back to second. Both Phillies Manager Dallas Green and Houston Manager Bill Virdon announced they were protesting the game. National League President Chub Feeney was consulted.


The argument ended when Harvey, the chief of the umpiring crew, ruled that McBride was safe at second since the runner had advanced because of Harvey's initial call, which was wrong and created confusion,


The Astros, who had left the field, were ordered back. The inning finally ended when Larry Bowa grounded out.


The triple play that wasn't was followed in the bottom of the sixth by the run that never scored.


The Astros had taken a 1-0 lead and Gary Woods was on third with one out. Pujols lofted a fly ball to McBride in medium right. McBride made a poor throw to the plate as Woods tagged and scored.


But the rule says you cannot tag up until after the ball is caught. So the Phillies appealed and Engel ruled that Woods had left too soon.


Then there was the run scored by Pete Rose to put the Phils ahead, 3-2, in the eighth on a rare sacrifice fly/double play.


Rose was on third and Mike Schmidt on first with one out. Trillo lined a ball to right that Jeff Leonard short-hopped. Bruce Froemming, the umpire on the right field line, ruled Leonard caught the ball, however. Rose tagged and scored.


Schmidt, meanwhile, had turned his back to home plate and seen the ball skip into Leonard's glove. Schmidt did not see Froemming make the out signal, so Schmidt was doubled off first.


The double play ended the inning, but Harvey correctly permitted Rose's run to stand.

Phis, Astros take it to the limit


Bull’s double scores Rose with deciding run in 10th


By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor


HOUSTON – It took a record three hours and 55 minutes and some of the weirdest plays in baseball here last night but the Phillies sent the National League playoff s into a fifth game.


The Phillies defeated the Houston Astros, 5-3, in 10 innings in the Astrodome to set up an 8:30 showdown tonight for the right to meet Kansas City in the World Series.


Greg Luzinski came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit double that scored Pete Rose in the 10th after the Phillies roared back from apparent elimination with three runs in the eighth inning.


Rose roared around third and crashed into Houston catcher Bruce Bochy to score the decisive run and cap the longest playoff game in league history.


"Bochy was concentrating on catching the ball," said Rose. "They made two bad relay plays there. The whole key was that the catcher didn't have the ball or he would have planted me."


Rose had singled with one out and was moving all the way when Luzinski ripped a 1-0 pitch from Joe Sambito into the left field corner.


"I was moving and saw the coach wave me on," said Rose. "I guess Lee (Elia) saw the relay short-hop Rafael Landestoy. I just hope this game shows our guys we can score some runs."


Luzinski scored an insurance run when Manny Trillo doubled to deep center and Tug McGraw came on to set the Astros down in order in the home 10th to get his second save of the series.


It was a routine ending to a game that saw the umpires erase an apparent triple play, remove a Houston run from the scoreboard and permit the Phillies to score when the third out was recorded at first base.


"It was a strange game," said Houston Manager Bill Virdon. "I never saw a baseball game with as many strange things happen."


"The momentum," said Rose, "kept shifting back and forth."


For the first three innings the game followed the expected script. Lefty Steve Carlton was embarrassing the overmatched Houston Astros and Vera Ruhle was making the big pitches to hold the Phillies scoreless.


Things exploded in the top of the fourth.


Bake McBride opened the inning with his second single and the Phillies had Ruhle in trouble when Manny Trillo singled past Enos Cabell at third.


After failing twice to bunt, Garry Maddox hit a soft, semi-liner that Ruhle appeared to trap at his shoe-tops. Plate umpire Doug Harvey yelled, "no catch."


Ruhle turned and threw to first and, when it became apparent that both first base umpire Ed Vargo and third base umpire Bob Engle saw a catch, the Astros made the play at second and left the field thinking they had a triple play.


It took almost 20 minutes and numerous chats with Chub Feeney, the league president, to settle on a compromise that left both teams unhappy.


The umpires settled for a double play, allowing McBride to remain on second. Both teams protested and Larry Bowa grounded out to end the inning.


The delay though, broke Carlton's concentration. He served up a double to Cabell to open the inning and Art Howe turned it into a run with a sacrifice fly.


An inning later, .199-hitter Luis Pujols laced a triple off the fence in deep center and scored on a single past third by Landestoy.


It was 2-0 at this point, with Ruhle getting stronger and stronger. When Carlton walked three batters while getting just one out in the sixth, Manager Dallas Green went to his bullpen and the season seemed over for Philadelphia.


"Lefty wasn't the same after that long dissertation with the umpires," said Green. "We had our backs to the wall at that point."


But, they caught a break. In this, their 15th playoff game over the past five years, the Phillies got lucky. When Pujols greeted reliever Dickie Noles with a fly to right, rookie Garry Woods got overanxious tagging up and left too soon.


"Everybody in the dugout was yelling," said Rose. "I didn't see it but I felt we were right. I just reminded Noles not to balk on the appeal."


Noles stepped on the rubber, backed off and fired to Schmidt at third. Umpire Engle waved the runner out and the 3-0 Houston lead was back to 2-0.


"I was ruled, out," said Woods. "I was just trying to get the best jump I possibly could. I lost us the game. I'm the goat."


It didn't look as if it would matter. Ruhle set the Phillies down in the seventh and the 44,952 Astro fans began thinking about the Royals.


"As long as people didn't turn the TV off too early, they saw this team has some heart," said Green of his Phillies.


Greg Gross opened the inning with a pinch single and Lonnie Smith, who had started in left for Luzinski, ripped his second hit of the game past short. Now it was up to Rose to sacrifice the runs into scoring position.


Pete tried to bunt twice and fouled both away. He then bounced a single into the hole in right to score Gross and end 18 scoreless innings of frustration for Philadelphia.


More important for the Phillies was the fact that the throw from right missed the cutoff man and Rose went into second head first. "That just might have been the play of the game," Rose decided later.


Mike Schmidt followed with a bouncer over the mound that Joe Morgan could not handle, and the score was tied, 2-2. Sambito came on to strike out McBride, then the Phillies came up with the third weird play of the game.


Manny Trillo sliced a liner to right that Jeff Leonard appeared to trap. Umpire Bruce Froemming, however, signaled catch. Rose had tagged at third and scored easily. Schmidt took off when the ball was hit and had rounded second base.


Leonard's throw to first baseman Howe was in plenty of time for the appeal out, but, since the run had scored, the umpires ordered the 2-2 tie changed to a 3-2 Phillies lead.


It didn't hold up.


Warren Brusstar, who set the Astros down in order in the eighth, buckled under the pressure of the Houston fans, who were standing and roaring with each pitch.


He walked Landestoy to open the ninth. Sambito bunted and Terry Puhl tied the game with a single to right. Cabell's hit-and-run liner was turned into a double play and, for the third straight time this series, the game went into extra innings.


Sambito struck out Del Unser to open the 10th, but Rose came through with his seventh hit of these playoffs, a single to center. Schmidt battled Sambito, but lined out.


Green went to his big man, sending Luzinski up to hit for McBride, obviously overmatched against Sambito. Greg, who won the series opener with a home run, took a ball, then lined a drive into the left field corner.


Rose was moving. Bouchy, a third-string receiver in the game because Pujols, the starter for injured regular Alan Ashby, was hurt by a Schmidt foul in the eighth, never had a chance.


Trillo locked it up and McGraw saved it. Tonight it will be Nolan Ryan against Marty Bystrom for the National League pennant

Phils survive it all


By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post


HOUSTON – If life was a vending machine, then the Phillies seemed destined to be forever standing outside jiggling the coin return. That is until Pete Rose gave it a kick.


And, like in a Las Vegas slot machine, the jackpot came in the way of a 10th inning 5-3 victory that sent the National League playoffs into tonight's fifth and deciding game against the Houston Astros.


Destiny's dartboard was not taking the annual parade of black limousines home after all. They may not get to the World Series, but at least they proved to themselves that they are not baseball's Flying Dutchman, a ship of ghosts doomed to sail a sea of disappointment forever.


"I don't know if our team can be tested anymore than it was today," said slugger Mike Schmidt. "All I know is that if you can survive what we did today, you should be able to survive anything."


He was right. In a frantic afternoon of baseball that could have only been conceived by an acid head and played in the twilight zone, the Phils endured the "short end" of two of the most bizarre plays in the history of the game.


And, while confusion, indecision and realization that opportunity was once again walking away from their door rained down upon the Phillies' dugout in torrents, Dallas Green's perennial sad sacks went looking for the "character" that the manager swore they had.


"The odds seemed unsurmountable," said reliever Tug McGraw. "But, on the bench, guys were telling each other that we had enough excuses to last a lifetime. We had them for years. No more. This time, we were going to put them aside and keep plugging.


"I’ll tell you what the game was like. It was like riding through the Art Museum on a honda – everything was likr a blur to me."


So many times in the past, the hopes and dreams of the Phils have gone to Hell peacefully without hardly a whimper. But, as shortstop Larry Bowa would insist later, "If you had been on our bench, you would have know that we weren't dead."


Yet, surely the Phils must have looked around in that fateful 10th inning and felt like the guy who surveys his shreded clothes and rubble of the building that just blew up around him and wondered why he wasn't even scratched.


"Now, I know what it's like to be crazy," said rookie Lonnie Smith. "I saw it all with my own eyes and I still don't believe it."


Providence ased to be just a town in Rhode Island to the Phillies. Now, they are wondering if this time, Dame Fate is going to show up for their date with Destiny. She's certainly stood them up often enough.


Anyone who thinks otherwise didn't see Phils' third base coach Lee Elia as he fired his fist into the air during the game-winning rally in the 10th inning.


It was Elia who didn't send Bake McBride home Wednesday night and was fitted for a pair of goat's horns after the defeat.


But, there he was yesterday, giving Rose the windmill on what seemed like a suicide dash from first base to the plate on Greg Luzinski's double into the leftfield corner.


"Call it an Albanian's revenge," said Elia with a laugh. "I saw that the relay throw from the outfield was going to be short and I just waved Pete on."


Rose had the look of a man not about to stop for anything, including a coach. Catcher Bruce Bochy discovered that when he hobbled the short-hop peg from shortstop Rafael Landestoy and stepped in front of the oncoming Phillies express.


Desperate times dictate desperate measures.  And, after a game that Green insisted the umpires weren't watching turned into a human jigsaw puzzle, Rose's idea of simply crashing down the door of the Phils' future seemed best.


Even the fountainhead of optimism, General Manager Paul Owens, admitted that the "wackiest game I ever saw in 35 years of baseball" had him wondering if some things just weren't meant to be.


"I'm sitting there thinking we haven't done anything easy all year, but this is too much," said The Pope.


"I mean, there I am in the stands, a baseball man for all those years, and people are asking me to explain what was going on out there. Hell, I didn't know! I kept calling people over for explanations and getting different answers. I'm up (emotionally). I'm down. Now, I'm up again."


Nearby, utility outfielder Greg Gross, whose pinchhit single sparked a three-run rally in the eighth inning, laughed and nodded in agreement.


"Now," said Gross with a smile, "I know what the fans go through. It's murder."


Perhaps before this is all over, people will once again wonder if the Gods are conspiring against the Phillies. For, they have died a thousand deaths and cursed their fate a thousand times on the way to this moment in time.


But, yesterday, they were struck by lightning and walked away victorious.


"There really is some justice in the world," said coach Elia.


Wouldn't it be nice if he were right?

The Rule


Confusion ran rampid during yesterday's Phils-Astros game. One incident occurred when Mike Schmidt was doubled off first base for the third out on the same play which Pete Rose scored a run when Manny Trillo lined out to right field. That run put the Phils ahead, 3-2, in the. eighth inning.


Schmidt thought the ball was not caught and ran for second. Replays revealed the same thing but the umpire disagreed and Schmidt was doubled off first.


Rule 200 says it is not a force out when: Runners on first and third with one out. The batter , flies out for the second out. The runner on third tags up and scores. The runner on first tries to retouch but does not get back in time. Three outs. The run counts if the runner from third crosses home plate before the ball was held at first base.