Wilmington News Journal - October 12, 1980

Phils 1 game from Series


The Phillies, who were twice close to elimination yesterday, today are one victory from landing in their first World Series since 1950.


The Phils overcame two costly umpires' decisions, not to mention two Astros' leads, for a 5-3, 10-inning come-from-behind triumph over spunky Houston in the Astrodome yesterday.


The victory in the longest (3:55) playoff game in history squared the best-of-f ive National League Championship series at 2-2.


The Phils used pinch-hitter Greg Luzinski's clutch double to snap a 3-3 tie in the 10th after the Astros had wiped out a 3-2 advantage in the bottom of the ninth. After Luzinski brought home Pete Rose, Manny Trillo scored Luzinski with the fifth run off losing pitcher Joe Sambito with a double.


Airtight relief pitching by overworked Tug McGraw in the 10th saved the triumph for Warren Brusstar.


"I think this game finally convinced our guys we can score runs when it counts," said Pete Rose, one of yesterday's heroes. "We got a couple of clutch hits with one and two outs and that's something we haven't been doing."


A 20-minute rhubarb erupted in the fourth inning over a hotly disputed play, which at first was called a triple play and then changed to a double play. After the controversial call, both managers – Houston's Bill Virdon and the Phils' Dallas Green – said they would play the game under protest.


The Phillies withdrew their protest after they won the game and the Astros' protest was disallowed.


There has been only one triple play in the history of post-season competition. That came in the fifth game of the 1920 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Brooklyn Dodgers. It was an unassisted triple play in the old League Park in Cleveland by second baseman Bill Wambsganss of the Indians.


The Phils will send rookie sensation Marty Bystrom (5-0, 1.50 ERA) against fireballer Nolan Ryan in tonight's 8:15 deciding game. Bystrom will be making his first postseason appearance, while Ryan was not involved in Houston's Wednesday night victory at Veterans Stadium.

Jinxed Phillies pull it out in 10th


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Reporter


HOUSTON – It almost seemed predestined that the snakebitten Phillies would lose again. Even Manager Dallas Green couldn't resist seeking a peek to the heavens and wondering what was going on.


"We never gave up hope," Green said, "but it looked like somebody up there wasn't gonna be very nice to us tonight. It was tough to gear up, inning after inning, but give the guys credit. Bull got a big hit, Pete Rose scored a big run and we won it.


"It was very frustrating for seven innings, but it shows a little what we're made of. It's not pretty sometimes, but we got it done."


The Phillies got it done to a tune of a 5-3, 10-inning victory yesterday in the Astrodome, overtaking the Astros and squaring the National League playoffs at two games apiece with tonight's 8 o'clock game the clincher.


It was, in everyone's opinion, the most unusual baseball game they'd ever played in – or seen. Consider:


The "phantom triple play" that snuffed the Phils' fourth-inning threat in a scoreless duel between Steve Carlton and Vera Ruhle. Nobody's got that one straight yet.


Or the two controversial double plays involving players scoring from third base after a drive to right field. The Astros had a man called out on an appeal at third; the Phillies scored the go-ahead run on theirs.


Then there's Greg Luzinski's game-winning RBI double when the Bull came off the bench to drive home Pete Rose, who bowled over still another catcher. Or Luzinski retreating to the showers, sulking about being benched.


"I got a double, Pete made a heckuva play and we won the game. That's all I have to say," said Luzinski, after Lonnie Smith started in left and had another adventurous afternoon in the field.


You think last Saturday's division-clincher at Montreal was weird? Yesterday's game made it look like a tea party.


"I never saw one weirder," said Mike Schmidt. "This one was top-notch. But tomorrow's should be better. There's more at stake now. BOTH teams are playing with no tomorrow now."


Shortstop Larry Bowa also took a predestined glance at what had occurred in the Astro-madhouse before 44,952 unbelieving loonies.


"It seems there's a script here," Bowa said. "This will be the last time we're together – Bull, me, Garry Maddox, Schmitty. They're gonna break up the team; we're not gonna play together anymore after this, so one guy's a hero today and I hope another's a hero tomorrow."


The final hero – of many – was Luzinski, who batted for Bake McBride in the 10th and drilled a ball to left that sliced away from Jose Cruz as Rose steamed around the bases.


Rose sailed around third and never stopped. Shortstop Rafael Landestoy's throw short-hopped sub catcher Bruce Bochy and hopped away before Rose rammed into him. Rose whacked Bochy in the head with his elbow as he stepped over him to touch the plate.


"The catcher was concentrating on a tough throw," said Rose, "and it short-hopped him. I was a tough throw and not many people handle that throw. I hope he's all right. I had no alternative but to do what I did – go over him and tag the plate."


Houston Manager Bill Virdon admitted he was "hurting" about finding a catcher for tonight's game. Alan Ashby is sidelined with a separated rib, starter Luis Pujols took a Schmidt foul off his right ankle and went for X-rays and Bochy is both inexperienced and woozy from Rose's elbow.


"This was a strange game where strange things happened," Virdon said. "Not a lot of things were new today; I just never saw so many of them in one game."


The Astros had every chance to give themselves a two-day holiday before opening the World Series here Tuesday night. They took a 2-0 lead off Phils' ace Steve Carlton, threatened for more and looked like they'd keep the Phils 0-for-the-Astrodome.


As it was, Vern Ruhle extended the Phils' scoreless-inning string to 18.1, a playoff record, before the Phils bunched three runs in the eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead for Ron Reed.


"It looked like one of those frustrating games for a long time," said Green. "We had our best guy (Carlton) going and he struggled a couple innings, especially after that long dissertation with the umpires (on the "triple play"). Lefty wasn't the same after that.


"Plus we weren't able to scratch out any runs. But we kept battling and put three runs up there. Houston put one back up and we didn't quit."


And the rest was history – or perhaps a script for a Three Stooges revival.


Houston broke the scoreless tie in the fourth when Enos Cabell doubled over Lonnie Smith's head to the warning track in left. Cabell got to third on Joe Morgan's infield bouncer, then scored on Art Howe's sacrifice fly to left that Smith dropped while trying to make a throw to third.


Pujols' 406-foot triple off the center-field fence and Landestoy's single made it 2-0 in the fifth and, after Carlton walked the bases loaded in the sixth, Green took him out.


Dickie Noles relieved and Houston seemed to have its third run on Pujols' fly to right when Bake McBride's throw tailed off.


But the Phillies appealed that Gary Woods left third too early – "He left at least 2½ steps before the ball was caught," said Green – was successful and a double play resulted instead.


Noles and Kevin Saucier combined to walk the bases loaded again with two out in the seventh but Reed threw a ground ball to Woods to end the inning.


The Phils' rally started with singles by pinch-hitter Greg Gross and Lonnie Smith. Failing to bunt, Rose singled to right, scoring Gross, and both runners moved up on the throw.


Dave Smith, who won Friday night's 1-0, 11-inning marathon, relieved Ruhle and allowed Schmidt's infield single behind second base that tied the score. Joe Sambito was waved in by Virdon and struck out McBride before Manny Trillo lined the ball to right.


Replays showed Jeff Leonard short-hopping the ball, but it was ruled a catch and, after Rose raced home with the third run, the incredulous Schmidt was doubled off first for a double play.


Houston tied the game in the bottom of the ninth against winner Warren Brusstar, who walked Landestoy to start the inning. Sambito's sacrifice got the runner to second and Terry Puhl's single to center scored him.


But the Phils got two in the 10th on Rose's single and back-to-back doubles by Luzinski and Trillo to send the crowd toward the aisles and the playoffs to a decisive fifth game.


"I think anybody who questioned this team's character thinks differently now," said Dallas Green. He'd already forgotten that somebody up there was just teasing the Phillies again, like He always does whenever they get into one of these things.


EXTRA INNINGS - This is the first time in postseason play that three extra-inning games have been played in one series... Both teams protested the fourth-inning snafu. Houston's protest was disallowed and the Phils' was dropped after they won the game... Virdon will start Nolan Ryan with Ken Forsch ready for long relief. Green plans to start 5-0 rookie Marty Bystrom with "my whole staff to follow."... The Phils fly home tomorrow, win or lose. If they win, the World Series would start in Veterans Stadium Tuesday night.

Crucial chapter in Phils’ history


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


HOUSTON – Mike Schmidt slumped on to the stool in front of his locker, took a sigh of relief and blurted: "This was just about to become another chapter in the long saga of bizarre Philadelphia Phillies' playoff games."


Mike Schmidt was wrong. Yesterday's wild, sometimes bewildering 5-3, 10-inning conquest of Houston in the National League playoffs may very well become the most important chapter if a book is ever written on Phils' post-season play. The only difference yesterday was the fact the Phils rose from the ashes of defeat to keep the Astros from winning the National League pennant. They did it despite two umpires' calls that went against them and they did it just when the Astros were on the verge of letting the corks on their champagne bottles pop.


"Now, there will be champagne ready in both clubhouses tomorrow," said Schmidt, referring to the fact the best-of-five tournament is tied at 2-2. "We get to play tomorrow, that is the important thing."


Had the spunky Astros eliminated the Phils in front of their frantic 44,952 followers in the moldy Astrodome, it would have been a long winter for the frustrated Phillies.


Before they finally pulled it out, they couldn't believe so many things were going against them.


The Phils were taken out of a would-be big inning in the fourth when the men in blue ruled Garry Maddox' low liner was caught by Ruhle and not short-hopped as nearly everyone believed. After 20 minutes of conferences, arguments, and rule interpretations, instead of having runners on second and third with one out, the Phils had a runner at second with two out and Larry Bowa ended the threat by grounding out. More about that later.


In the sixth inning the Astros scored their third run against reliever Dickie Noles, or did they?


No. Gary Woods, the runner on third with one out, left the bag too soon, an appeal was made and third-base ump Bob Engel raised his arm. The runner was out, completing an inning-ending double play. And when was the last time you saw an appeal play allowed in a playoff games? That was the only crucial call that went in the Phils' favor. In the eighth when they finally cracked the scoring column with three runs, right-field umpire Bruce Froemming made a horrible call. With Pete Rose on third, Manny Trillo. hit a sinking liner to right. The ball hit in front of Jeff Leonard's glove, but Froemming ruled the ball caught. Rose scored on what was a sacrifice fly, but the shocked Schmidt was trapped off first and an easy out.


"I couldn't believe it," said Schmidt. "I was frozen between first and second, watched the ball hit in front of Leonard's glove, then took off for second. To be honest, I thought I might have trouble getting to second in time because he took it on the short hop."


The Astros yelled long and loud, saying Rose should not have been able to score the third run because they completed a double play. The rule book, however, is clear. As long as Rose scored ahead of the out on Schmidt, the run counted.


Houston also insisted Rose left the base too soon, but umpire-in-chief Doug Harvey said that "if they don't appeal right away, there is nothing we can do about it. It was up to Bill Virdon to make the appeal, not us."


The fourth-inning call, however, was the most confusing and for several minutes the scene on the field looked like a Chinese fire drill. Harvey convened a meeting of his six-man crew and finally went National League President Chub Feeney's box to confer with him.


Both Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green and Houston skipper Bill Virdon protested the eventual decision.


The television replay was shown from all views repeatedly. One view was inconclusive, while another seemed to indicate the ball hit the dirt on the mound before it entered Ruhle's glove.


"The ball hit the dirt first," said Maddox. "Harvey (behind the plate) shouted, 'No catch!' Then, they changed their minds. I'll go to my grave knowing the ball hit the dirt; I couldn't believe the way it was called."


"It was a terrible call," said Green. "It was neither a triple play nor a double play. Ruhle clearly trapped the ball. It should have been men on second and third with one out. I told Harvey that if Ruhle caught the ball, why did he go to first instead of third. That made no sense."


"Garry Maddox is a right-handed batter who usually bends over the plate," said Harvey. "When he made contact, he leaned over and blocked my view. My immediate reaction was that the ball was half speed and it might come iip short. Well, I gave the no-catch sign at first. Then, I looked up and saw the charge of people coming towards me. I immediately called time out and conferred with my umpires.


"Ed Vargo, who was at first, said it was a catch as did Bob Engel at third. We ruled that the runner at first was out, but the runner at second could go back and would not be out."


Harvey added that his no-catch call led to the umpires' final decision.


"I felt that my call put the runner on second base in jeopardy," he said. He went to third base on my call. I felt the runner on first broke immediately and never could have gotten back no matter what my call was. The jeopardy rule has been in the rule books for a long time. It gives the umpires the right to correct a mistake if he feels his call has put the runner in a bad position. That's exactly what happened."


The Phillies, who feel they were cost a victory by Bruce Froemming at first base in the ninth inning of the third game of the 1977 playoffs, were still shaking their heads last night.


Tug McGraw, who's 10th-inning relief saved the victory for Warren Brusstar, summed up the longest (3:55) game in playoff history.


"It was like going through an art museum on a Honda," he said. "You really don't have time to relax and enjoy the pictures."

National League pennant still comes down to 1 game


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Reporter


HOUSTON – There's no tomorrow for the loser of tonight's Astrodome showdown between the Phillies and Astros. It's no news to the combatants.


The Astros would seem to be favored, starting fireballer Nolan Ryan against Phils' rookie Marty Bystrom, plus having the crowd in their corner. But Phils' Manager Dallas Green wonders.


"The way we won today was important, said Green of the Phils' 5-3, extra-inning victory that could provide an entire chapter for baseball's "One for the Book."


"The momentum swung a couple of times – from them, to us. When that happens, it could have a negative effect on you. But, really, there's no momentum now. It's down to one game now."


"They may worry about this one about 20 minutes after the game," said the ever-cool Mike Schmidt, "but I guarantee you when they take the field tomorrow, they're gonna play like hell."


Green's decision to use Bystrom followed a talk with right-hander Dick Ruthven before yesterday's game. And Ruthven's tender elbow wasn't the only factor in the manager's decision.


"First of all, Houston hasn't seen Bystrom and that's always an advantage," Green said of his 5-0 NL September pitcher of the month and his 1.50 ERA. "Second, if we reverse the situation and start Ruthven, I don't know whether Marty could come in in relief.


"And it's not really relief. It's a case of being a stopper, getting the ball over with something on it. Dick can do that."


Green said, "the rest of the staff will follow" if necessary to nail down the third victory. He used four relief pitchers yesterday with Warren Brusstar winning and Tug McGraw, who has pitched in all four games, getting his second save.


"My bullpen did one heckuva job today," Green said. "They came to me on their own, to a man, and said they're ready to pitch Sunday."


McGraw didn't want to hear about being tired or all the bad breaks the Phils have had in past playoffs.


"The consensus on the bench was, despite tough calls and tough breaks, let's go out and do something," McGraw said of the Phils' stranger-than-fiction finish. "I'm proud we could put it aside and not allow it to become another excuse for not winning."


If the crippled Astros collapse under the pressure tonight, nobody will blame them. They are the underdogs, the team nobody figured would get this far.


"I think, we'll be more confident tomorrow," said the ever-optimistic Joe Morgan, who's buoyed the Astros so far. "I don't know who's pitching but we've got the best ones of who's left."

Playoff Notes (excerpt)


By Rod Beaton, Staff Reporter


Renie Martin of Dover is finishing an in-and-out season as the Royals' long reliever.


Friday night he joined AL Fireman-of-the-Year Dan Quisenberry in the bullpen, wanning up as early as the fifth. The submarining Quisenberry got the call, but had Cerone's eighth-inning drive gone through, Royals Manager Jim Frey indicated he'd have summoned Martin, a 25-year-old right-hander.


Martin had a 10-10 season with a 4.39 earned run average. He spent time in the rotation, starting 20 games, relieving in 12 others.


Martin was a natural to pitch against the Yanks, a chance he did not get.


"I was 2-0 against them this year," said Martin. "The breaking ball was my best pitch. The times I pitched against 'em, I feel I had pretty good stuff."


The "pretty good stuff" includes one of the better curves in the league, a plus against the fastball-hitting Yanks.


It can be a plus against Houston or Philadelphia, two more teams that lay into the hard stuff.


"I'd like to see the Phils in, they're from my area," said Martin. "I don't know the other team. I know the Phillies have a lot of guys that can take you deep."


If anyone takes Martin deep, it is likely a result of periodic trouble finding the plate with his curve. One teammate said: 'Most pitchers throw to spots. Renie throws to continents."


"I've had a lot of walks," said Martin, who issued 70 passes in 137 innings. "I get behind when I try to throw too good a pitch."


His next pitch should be for some duty. Quisenberry has taken a Tug McGraw-sized workload, appearing in 76 games. Retread Ken Brett is the only left-hander in the pen, and Martin is as good as any of the righthanders.

Phils’ World Series tickets at the Vet


Should the Phillies win the National League Pennant tonight they will begin selling reserved seats for World Series Games One, Two, Six and Seven tomorrow morning at 9 at the Veterans Stadium advance ticket windows.


Approximately 800 reserved seats will be available for each game. The tickets are priced at $15.00 each. There will be a limit of eight tickets per customer.


The World Series Game One will be Tuesday night, Game Two Wednesday night, Games Six and Seven, if necessary, the following Tuesday and Wednesday.


Game time each night is 8:15 p.m.