Syracuse Post-Standard - October 13, 1980
Phillies in Series for First Time in 30 Years
By Michael A. Lutz, Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) - The Philadelphia Phillies may not have invented the comeback, but they were masters of it Sunday when they repeatedly refused to fold and finally defeated the Houston Astros 8-7 in 10 innings to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1950.
"I don't know if I'll live through all this," Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green said. "I badgered these guys since spring training of the need for character. I don't know of any greater display of character than they displayed tonight. It was incredible."
It was the culimination of a season-long battle between the Philadelphia players and Green, who claimed the Phillies needed to be tougher. And in the deciding fifth game of the National League Championship Series, it was clear that Green had proved his point.
"Just let them say we don't have heart anymore," left fielder Greg Luzinski said. "I think we proved to the world that we don't have a quitter on this team."
Philadelphia center fielder Garry Maddox, who tagged the game-winning double in the 10th inning, said it was the happiest moment of his baseball career.
"I don't know what pitch he threw me," Maddox said. "Their pitcher (Frank LaCorte) shook off a sign and I think he threw me a fastball, but I really wasn't looking for any particular pitch. I just wanted to get a hit."
Philadelphia shortstop Larry Bowa said the Phillies' comeback was just another demonstration of the team's never-say-die attitude.
"The bench never let us get down, even when they went up by three," Bowa said, referring to Houston's 5-2 seventh-inning lead. "The guys never stopped clapping. Even when we were down, I thought we could win. I just wanted to get on base some way. If I started it, I knew the other guys would follow. I never have been associated with a team that had more character."
No champagne flowed in the Astros' dressing room, where Manager Bill Virdon paid tribute to both teams.
"They have been outstanding, both teams," Virdon said., "The Phils deserved to win the way they kept coming back and our club deserves a lot of credit for the way they have performed all year. They don't have to bow their head to anyone. I think everyone realizes now that we had a much better club than a lot of people gave us credit for."
The Phillies scored five runs in the eighth inning and then rallied once again on 10th-inning doubles by Del Unser and Maddox to pull out the wild game.
The Phillies will meet American League champion Kansas City in the World Series opener Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
With the score tied at 7-7 in the rollercoaster fifth game of the best-of-five National League championship series, Unser hit a one-out double to right field in the Philadelphia 10th. After Manny Trillo flied to center field to send Unser to third base, Maddox then blasted another double in front of Terry Puhl in center to score Unser and end the fourth straight extra-inning game in the series.
The Phillies were losing 5-2 after the Astros' three-run surge in the seventh. But they scored five runs in the eighth before the Astros came back to tie the game with two runs in their half of the eighth.
The Phillies' winning rally came off Frank LaCorte, the fourth Houston pitcher. Dick Ruthven, the last of six pitchers for Philadelphia, was the winner.
The Astros tied the game 7-7 with two runs in the eighth inning off reliever Tug McGraw, making his fifth appearance in the five-game series.
Craig Reynolds led off the Houston eighth with'a single and Terry Puhl got a record-setting fourth straight single after pinch-hitter Gary Woods struck out. Third baseman Enos Cabell then struck out before Rafael Landestoy singled to left field to score Reynolds and Jose Cruz delivered another single, to center field, to tie the game.
The Phillies had staged a dramatic five-run rally in the eighth fueled by Manny Trillo's two-run triple to take a 7-5 lead.
The Astros, trying for their first title in the team's 19-year history, had exploded to a 5-2 lead off relief pitchers Larry Christenson and Ron Reed in the seventh inning.
But the Phillies stunned the confident Astros in the eighth when they loaded the bases on three straight singles off Nolan Ryan. Larry Bowa started the rally with a single to left field, Bob Boone singled off Ryan's glove and Greg Gross got a bunt single to load the bases. Ryan walked Pete Rose to force home the first run and bring on relief pitcher Joe Sambito. The star left-hander faced only one batter, giving up an RBI f ielder's-choice grounder to pinch-hitter Keith Moreland for the second run.
Unser, a pinch-hitter, then tied the game with a single to right of reliever Ken Forsch. Manny Trillo, voted the Most Valuable Player in the series, followed with a tie-breaking triple to bring home pinch-runner Ramon Aviles and Unser.
The Astros fell behind the Phillies 2-1 before tying in the sixth inning and then scoring three times in the seventh. Houston tied it 2-2 in the sixth on Alan Ashby's pinch-hit RBI single that chased rookie starter Marty Bystrom and brought on Warren Brusstar.
Terry Puhl led off the Houston seventh off Christenson with one of his four singles, setting the record for most hits in a championship series with 10 and tying the record for most hits in a playoff game. Puhl was sacrificed to second base by Enos Cabell before Astros second baseman Joe Morgan grounded out for the second out of the inning.
Christenson then intentionally walked Jose Cruz and faced Denny Walling, who drove a tie-breaking single to right field to score Puhl and send Cruz to third base.
Christenson's wild pitch then allowed Cruz to score Houston's fourth run before Art Howe tripled home another tally for the Astros off Reed, giving them a 5-2 lead.