Chicago Daily Herald - October 15, 1980
Phillies edge Royals in Series opener
by United Press International
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) – First there was Joe Frazier. Then "Rocky." Now, it's the Philadelphia Phillies.
Like those other Philadelphia heroes, the harder you hit the Phillies the harder they fight back. It's the kind of tight the citizens of this city have come to understand best.
The Kansas City Royals flailed away at the Phillies in the first game of the World Series Tuesday night, belting three two-run homers, including two by Willie Aikens, but it wasn't enough.
The Phillies took all that punishment, then doled out some of their own, the biggest blow being a three-run homer by Bake McBride to highlight a five-run third inning, and held on to win 7-6 and score their first World Series victory in 65 years.
THE SECOND game of the best-of-seven series will be played at Veterans Stadium Wednesday night with left-hander Larry Gura pitching for the Royals and left-hander Steve Carlton going for the Phillies.
The Royals used two-run homers by Amos Otis and Aikens to forge a 4-0 lead in the third, but the Phillies struck back against ace right-hander Dennis Leonard to score five times in the third They built a 7-4 lead after five innings and then held off a late rally by Kansas City
'I'm not a negative thinker," said Phillies manager Dallas Green. "Being behind 4-0 didn't bother me I did feel from our scouting reports that Dennis Leonard wasn't pitching the way he could so I wasn't worried.
"I don't like to play from behind. We've been geared up the last 10 days as well as any team can be. But we just seem to keep falling behind. I would prefer to manage the other way around, if you don't mind."
The Phillies, though, seem to play better when they have to struggle That was the way it was against the
Houston Astros in the National League
The Phillies' fighting spirit was perhaps best exemplified Tuesday night by Bob Walk, the first rookie pitcher to start the first game of a World Series since 1952. Walk was hit hard early but regained his composure and allowed only one baserunner from the fourth through the seventh innings before a double by George Brett and Aikens' second home run knocked him out in the eighth.
"EVEN THOUGH I had a long layoff and a long rest I didn't have good velocity," said Walk, who had not pitched since Oct. 2. "I had to change my style of pitching and go to my breaking ball after they hit those two early homers. I had to start turning the ball over and go to the sinker. It was going good for a while but then I started to get tired."
In many ways, it was a shake-up of the lineup which highlighted the Phillies' triumph. Green moved McBride into the No. 4 cleanup spot and his home run in the third was the crowning blow for the Phillies as they sent eight batters to the plate against Leonard.
"I'm not in the habit of trying to hit home runs just because I'm hitting fourth " said McBride "Once before I did that and got my stroke fouled up. But batting fourth didn't surprise me. Nothing surprises me."
"Bake has been a clutch guy for us all year." said Green. "I don't know where we'd be without him."
After Walk departed, the Phillies left it up to their 36-year-old reliever, Tug McGraw, to put the finishing touch on the victory and the brash left-hander was equal to the task. He got Darrell Porter on a fly to left, gave up a single to Otis, then got pinch hitter John Wathan to hit into a double play to end the eighth, McGraw the set down the Royals m the ninth
IT APPEARED for a while that it was going to be a laugher for the Royals Otis became the 16th player in World Series history to homer in his first al-bat when he followed a leadoff walk to Porter in the second with a home run over the left-field fence and Aikens connected with two out in the third after Hal McRae had singled with one out
The Royals probably should have had another run in the third but Porter was thrown out at the plate by rookie left fielder I.onnie Smith as he attempted to score on Clint Hurdle's single Porter, who had walked and moved to second on an infield single by Otis, might have made it if he hadn't stumbled rounding third. As it was, he offered no resistance to Boone, giving himself up instead of sliding or bowling over the catcher.
Leading 4-0, however, the Royals seemed to be in control, especially with Leonard on the mound. Leonard, who had turned in a gutsy performance in beating the New York Yankees in the second game of the American League playoffs, started out well, retiring the first seven batters in order. But then, inexplicably, he suddenly lost his stuff and the Phillies took batting practice against him.
LARRY BOWA started the Phillies on their way with a one-out single in the third and stole second. Boone then followed with a double to left to score Bowa and Smith grounded another single to left. Boone, not known for his speed, did not intend to score on Smith's hit but he came home when Smith fell rounding first base and got caught in a rundown.
Leonard then lost his control. He hit Pete Rose with a pitch and walked | Mike Schmidt to bring up McBride. Royals manager Jim Frey might have gone to a new pitcher at that point, but be allowed Leonard to pitch to McBride and it proved costly as the Phillies' right fielder belted a 1-1 pitch over the fence in right-center for a home run.
The Phillies got to Leonard for another run in the sixth and this time the pitcher's own throwing error cost him. With one out, Manny Trillo beat out an infield hit and went to second when Leonard threw wildly past first base on an attempted pickoff. Trillo moved to third on Bowa's grounder to second and scored when Boone drilled a double into the right-field corner. Reliever Renie Martin then replaced Leonard.
PHILADELPHIA BUILT its lead to 7-4 and scored what proved to be the winning run In the fifth. With one out, Schmidt walked and moved to second on a single to left by McBride. Martin then hit Greg Luzinski with a pitch to load the bases and Maddox lofted a fly to left that scored Schmidt.
After Aikens' homer in the eighth, the tension began to build for the Philadelphia fans, who have not seen a World Series game in their city in 30 years.
McGraw, who relishes such pressure, brought the crowd to its feet in the ninth when he struck out the last two batters, U.L. Washington and Willie Wilson, to end the game.
Royals' coach would send Porter again
by United Press International
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — For the third time in this postseason, the third base coach finds himself in the spotlight.
Gordie MacKenzie, the 43-year-old Kansas City coach, waved home Darrell Porter on Clint Hurdle's' two-out single Thursday night in the first game of the World Series. Porter never made it, the inning was over and the Royals wound up losing a 7-6 decision to the Philadelphia Phillies.
"There were two outs," said MacKenzie, in his first year as a big league coach. "It just didn't figure to be that strong of a throw. Lonnie Smith made a heck of a play."
Amos Otis and Willie Aikens had hit two-run homers to give the Royals the early lead and when Porter walked and Otis singled, Kansas City seemed ready to chase starter and eventual winner Bob Walk.
HURDLE DRILLED an opposite field single to left, where Smith charged the ball and sent a near perfect throw to catcher Bob Boone to catch Porter by five feet. Porter was out by such a large margin he didn't even slide and nearly wound up scoring by accident since Boone eased up on the tag.
"It would have been a heck of a lot closer if Porter didn't stumble just before he got to third base," said MacKenzie.
"He tripped on the lip of the turf or something. It was too late to stop him. I had already sent him.
"You have a four-run lead and a two-out situation, you gotta challenge them. At least I am."
MacKenzie, however, was not about to second guess himself.
"GUYS HAVE been thrown out for 100 years on that play," the St. Petersburg, Fla., native said. "If I had to do it over again, I would.
"The book on Smith was that his arm was somewhat on the erratic side — sometimes good, sometimes bad. On that play it was good. He threw the hell out of the ball."
The outcome of the game did not seem to overly concern Manager Jim Frey.
"All this means is we can't win it in four straight," the first-year manager said. "Now it will take us five games."