Chicago Daily Herald - October 13, 1980

Phils Edge Astros; Win NL Pennant


United Press International


HOUSTON (UPI) - No more jokes about the Philadelphia Phillies cracking like the Liberty Bell.


The Phillies got rid of their stigma of not being able to win the "big one" Sunday night with a knock-down, dragout 10-inning 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros to win their first National League pennant in 30 years.


Beaten and embarrassed in three past playoff series in the last four years, the Phillies bent often but never broke before winning the game in the 10th on doubles by Del Unser and Garry Maddox off reliever Frank LaCorte.


The Phils, who beat the Astros three games to two for the league championship, will host the first game of the World Series Tuesday night against the American League champion Kansas City Royals.


TWICE THE Phillies blew leads to the Astros but each time they reached back for that something extra which had been lacking in all their previous playoff years.


'It didn't look like it was in the cards," sai'd Phillies Manager Dallas Green. "In the spring, I felt we needed some character to win. We worked on it during the season. The guys came through."


Even losing manager Bill Virdon, whose team fought so valiantly all season despite the loss of several key players, had to tip his hat to the Phillies.


"They were a deserving winner," said Virdon. "They've come back when they've been beaten."


VIRDON, THOUGH, expressed sorrow for his club, which concluded its best season in the 19-year history of the franchise.


"I feel for them, ' he said. "They worked hard and they deserved to win. They just got beat by a little better ballclub in this situation but I think we have a little better ballclub than everybody thought we did."


The victory didn't come easy for the Phillies.


FOR A WHILE, it looked like they might blow this game, too, as the Astros wiped out a 7-5 deficit with a two-run rally in the eighth that tied the score. But with one out in the 10th, Unser, who had delivered a big pinch-hit run-scoring single in a five-run Philadelphia eighth, lined a double to right field and one out later, scored the winning run on a double by Maddox that center fielder Terry Puhl narrowly missed with a shoestring try. Both hits came off loser Frank LaCorte.


Dick Ruthven, who had taken over in the ninth inning, then set the Astros down in order in the bottom of the 10th to bring Philadelphia its first pennant since 1950. The final out came when Maddox caught Enos Cabell's soft liner in center.


It was the first time a fifth game of a playoff series has gone into extra innings.


The Astros, known for their ability to come back, might have quit after the Phillies rallied for five runs in the eighth inning to take a 7-5 lead.


But such is not the Astros' nature.


They proceeded to score two runs off ace reliever Tug McGraw in the eighth to tie the score 7-7.


CRAIG REYNOLDS started the eighth with an infield single and one out later, Terry Puhl laced his fourth hit of the night — and a series record tying 10th — to put runners on first and third. McGraw struck out Cabell for the second out but Rafael Landestoy, a late-inning replacement for Joe Morgan, grounded a single to left to score Reynolds and Jose Cruz, the Astros' "Mr Clutch," blooped a single to center to score Puhl with the tying run.


The Phillies thought they had the game tucked away when they chased starter Nolan Ryan with their five-run barrage in the top of the eighth. Ryan, who had checked Philadelphia on five hits through the first seven innings, got himself in trouble when he gave up a single to Larry Bowa and an infield hit to Bob Boone to start the inning.


Greg Gross beat out a bunt when Ryan was slow getting off the mound and the Phils had the bases loaded with nobody out. Ryan walked Pete Rose on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run and was replaced by Joe Sambito, who got pinch-hitter Keith Moreland to ground into a forcoout as Boone scored. Ken Forsch then was summoned from the bullpen and struck out Mike Schmidt.


HOWEVER, UNSER, hitting for reliever Ron Reed, lined a single to center to score pinch-runner Ramon Aviles with the tying run and Manny Tnllo, a thorn in the side of the Astros all night with three hits, tripled to left to chase home two more runs.


The Astros snapped a 2-2 tie in the seventh when they tagged reliever Larry Christenson for three runs. Puhl started it off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Cabell. After Morgan bounced out, Cruz was walked intentionally but Denny Walling came through with a run-scoring single to give Houston a 3-2 lead. A moment later, Christenson uncorked a wild pitch to score Cruz and Art Howe greeted Reed with an RBI triple to cap the inning.