Wilmington News Journal - October 19, 1980

Nobody said it’d be easy


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Phillies, who were on the verge of turning the 1980 World Series into a breeze after they won the first two games at home, now find themselves in a real struggle.


Kansas City scored five runs in the first two innings yesterday and held on for a 5-3 victory to square the best-of -seven tournament at two games apiece.


The Phils, hoping to salvage one of the three games at Royals Stadium, will send rookie righthander Marty Bystrom (5-0) against Larry Gura (18-10) today at 4:30 p.m. The series will continue in Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium Tuesday night, with a seventh game Wednesday, if it's needed.


Willie Aikens blasted two homers and drove in three runs to spark the Royals' second straight triumph over the dazed Phillies. They won Friday night 4-3 in 10 innings.


Starter Larry Christenson was bombed for five hits, including a homer, a triple, two doubles and a single in the one-third of an inning he pitched yesterday.


Dickie Noles, who performed well after settling down, gave up only Aiken's homer in the second. The Royals' first baseman has blasted four homers in the series, one short of the record Reggie Jackson set in 1977 against the Dodgers.


"We're right back to square one," said the Phillies' Mike Schmidt, who brought home the Phils' third run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly. "However, it's not a desperate situation by any means. Right now, I just want to get out of here with a win tomorrow. If we can do that, it would put them in a position of having to win two in our stadium.


"I'm not worried about this team. We've had our backs against the wall most of the year and we've come through. I'm not happy we lost the first two, but if we can take tomorrow, we'll leave here in good shape."


Dennis Leonard, the Royals' 20-game winner during the regular season, was the winner yesterday although he needed relief help from Dan Quisenberry in the eighth inning.

Royals cycle past Phillies, even Series


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent


KANSAS CITY – The Phillies' bid to take a World Series stranglehold on the Kansas City Royals disappeared in the first inning of Game Three here yesterday.


Now it's the Phillies who are finding it tough to swallow in what suddenly looks like a long – and perhaps bitter – series after Kansas City won 5-3 behind Dennis Leonard and Dan Quisenberry to even the Fall Classic 2-2.


The 5-3 score sounds a lot closer than yesterday's game ever was. The Royals battered loser Larry Christenson for four runs and five hits in one horrid third of an inning and romped home.


The Royals hit for the cycle against Christenson – Willie Wilson singled, George Brett tripled, the amazing Willie Aikens homered and both Hal McRae and Amos Otis doubled before Manager Dallas Green came to Christenson's rescue.


"Sure, you feel shell-shocked," said Christenson, whose World Series earned run average is 36.00. "Only it's doubled, tripled and quadrupled when it happens in the World Series."


The Royals doubled, tripled and quadrupled Christenson right off the mound and the Royals never looked back. They didn't announce Christenson's total-yardage statistics as he trudged off the mound, but no doubt the Royals got more yardage on their bazooka shots than Oklahoma managed against Colorado two weeks ago.


So now the Series is squared and the Phillies will go with rookie Marty Bystrom, the rookie phenom who started the pennant clincher in Houston last Sunday night.


"I always like to pitch in games that mean something," Bystrom said. "I did it in Houston. I didn't pitch that well but it came out all right. That's what matters. I don't feel like doing any cartwheels now, after losing, but I'll be ready tomorrow."


And Green hopes the Phillies' bats, lulled to sleep by a week of dramatic comebacks and two come-from-behind victories in Veterans Stadium, will awaken for today's 4:30 p.m. start against left-hander Larry Gura.


"The offense is going to have to play its role in this World Series if we're going to win," Green said. "We scratched and got some runs early in this series. Then we sat back and left 15 men on base yesterday and today we didn't wake up until we were four or five runs down.


"You can't continually hope for miracles. Eventually base hits and pitching have to do it for you."


Yesterday, both factors contributed to the Royals' victory before 42,363 delirious fans.


After Aikens hit his second homer of the day in the second off Dickie Noles to become the first player in World Series history to have a pair of two-homer games in the same series, Kansas City reverted to its pitching.


Leonard, who blew a 4-0 lead in the opener, pitched seven innings, allowing nine hits and all three Phillies runs. It was a far cry from his six-run stint in 3 innings in Game One.


"Today I tried to use the fastball to get ahead and set up my breaking ball," said the right-hander. "I tried it the other way in Philadelphia and I was more successful this way.


"I guess I could've finished. I wasn't physically tired, but I was mentally drained. I was at a pretty high pitch coming in."


The Phillies matched the Royals' total of 10 hits but they stranded three men on second and another on third.


Larry Bowa singled home an unearned run in the second after U.L. Washington's throwing error put Manny Trillo on second. The Phils' final two runs scored on sacrifice flies by Bob Boone in the seventh and Mike Schmidt in the eighth.


"Now it's down to a 2-of-3 series with two at home," said Bowa. "Kansas City played well today. Our relief pitchers did a good job. We just didn't score any runs."


Are the Comeback Kids dead?


"We always have a comeback feeling," Bowa said. "We did come back, but it wasn't enough. Leonard and Quisenberry did a good job."


Quisenberry, who's pitched in all four games with a victory, loss and save, said the Royals' revived spirit came from a team meeting Manager Jim Frey convened before Friday night's game.


"It was the best meeting of the year – at least the funniest," said the AL's top reliever. "It really loosened us up,"


Asked what Frey said, Quisenberry said: "Ask him."


Asked, Frey shrugged his shoulders.


"The gist of it," he said, "was that I felt our players were tight in Philadelphia. The (Vet) crowd intimidated them. Being in a World Series intimidated them. I told them they don't have anything to prove to anybody.


"I told them I think they are the best team in America right now. If we lost the third game, it wasn't the end of the world. And if they lost the fourth game, it still wasn't the end of the world. I wanted them to have fun and the experience of being in the World Series, to play naturally. How can there be pressure? We played six months to get to the world Series and we're here."


What happens to the Phillies, now the tight team, remains to be seen today.


One definite change will be the return of Greg Luzinski to the Phils' lineup. The Bull has missed two games in the aftermath of an intestinal virus that ballooned his temperature to 103 degrees.


Green had planned on using Luzinski yesterday as the designated hitter, but opted for Lonme Smith (0-for-4) as the DH and lead-off hitter with Del Unser (1-for-4) in left.


"I thought Del would handle the right-hander better," said Green. "The Bull is not too happy about it, but I just gave him another day to get his feet on the ground. But he will DEFINITELY play tomorrow. That's a (lineup) concession I usually don't make."


As whether Luzinski would play left or be the DH, Green shook his head.


"Let's not get into that," said the weary manager.


All in all, it was a day Dallas Green would like to forget in every respect. All it guarantees is at least another game in Veterans Stadium.


"We're right back to Square One," said Phils' third baseman Schmidt, who had a bunt single and drove in Pete Rose with a fly to right. "It's not a desperate situation by any means. Right now I just want to get out of here with i win Sunday."

Royals hold edge in Willie Aikens


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


KANSAS CITY – Willie Aikens picked up a newspaper the other day and scanned a chart of World Series comparisons.


First base: Edge to Pete Rose and the Phillies.


"Can you believe that?" the Royals' first baseman asked a teammate. "How can they give the edge to Rose? I guess I'll just have to show 'em."


Kansas City's once-counted-out Royals have suddenly gotten back in the chase in this best-of-seven tournament. They clobbered Philadelphia pitching in the first two innings yesterday and held on for a 5-3 victory in the cool sunshine at Royals Stadium. Their second-straight success squared the World Series at two victories apiece and what looked like a cakewalk after two games in Philadelphia is now a horse race.


And now the Royals have to be considered favorites because they have stronger pitching, momentum and Willie Mays Aikens. Only seven teams have come back to win the World Series after losing the first two games, but judging from Hal Bodloy's column yesterday's tussle, Kansas City has an excellent chance to be No. 8.


If the World Series were to end at this moment, Aikens would not only have the edge over Pete Rose, but both teams. He would be holding the Most Valuable Player Award.


Aikens blasted a two-run homer in the first inning when the Royals vaulted out 4-0 against Phillies starter Larry Christenson, then came back with a bases-empty shot in the second off reliever Dickie Noles.


In four games, Aikens has four homers, a triple and has driven in eight runs. In the opening game at Veterans Stadium, he cracked two homers and did the same thing yesterday.


He is one of only seven players to have four or more home runs in a World Series and only one of four players to have hit homers in consecutive innings.


More important, he is the only player in Series history to have enjoyed two multiple home-run games in a single Series.


"I said when we left Philadelphia we were still in this thing," said Aikens, who turned 26 the day the Series opened last Tuesday night in Philadelphia. "I honestly never felt we were out of it and now it is a best-of-three Series and we're in the driver's seat."


Most everyone by now knows the Aikens' story. He was born in Seneca, S.C., during the 1954 World Series and the delivering physician decided he should be named Willie Mays Aikens.


"I have never met Willie Mays, but that is a dream of mine," said Aikens. "We went down to Atlantic City one day after we clinched the American League pennant in New York and I know Mays works there, but I was unable to meet him. I'll tell you something else, I'd be just as happy if people would call me Willie Aikens, not Willie Mays Aikens."


When the Royals obtained Aikens from the California Angels last December, they took a big gamble. He had torn, knee ligaments sliding into second base in September and had undergone surgery.


"We knew we might end up with a one-legged first baseman," said Kansas City Manager Jim Frey, "but the medical reports were good and we knew as soon as he came to spring training there was no problem."


Aikens, who admits it's tough to hit long balls in spacious Royals Stadium, had an outstanding year that was overshadowed by George Brett. He hit .278 and was second to Brett in runs batted in (98), home runs (20) and game-winning RBI (14).


"But I don't think I was ever on as good a streak as I am now," said Aikens. "I like to think I am a good hitter and I feel I can handle any pitch."


Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green agrees.


"We're trying like hell to pitch to him," he said. "You think we're trying to give him home runs? You might as well throw the book away. When you're as hot as he is, you're better off to throw the ball up there and say, 'Here, hit it.'"


Twice the partisan crowd of 42,363 asked Aikens to take a bow and each time he stepped out of the dugout and waved his cap.


"In my whole career I've never had a standing ovation before and today I got two," said Aikens, who wears Mays' No. 24. "When I hit the second homer, I knew it was gone. I stopped and watched it land in the right-field bullpen. I copied that from Reggie Jackson. When you hit a ball well and you know it's going out, it's fun to watch it."


The media mob told Aikens he is just one homer short of tying the Yankees' Jackson for most homers in a Series. Jackson bad five in 1977.


"Hey, that would be something to tie him, wouldn't hit?" asked Aikens. "I'm not going up there trying to hit 'em because that's how you get in trouble. But when I'm on a streak like this, I'm capable' of hitting six or seven in a week."


Then, Aikens said something surprising. When the Royals limped ome early Thursday morning after having lost two games in Philadelphia, he thought the hometown fans might come down hard on him.


"To be truthful, I was not looking forward to playing here. But they surprised me. And if I can keep up the good work the next two or three days, everything will be OK."


Aikens paused a moment or two and acted as if a light bulb had just gone on.


"You know what would really be great?" he asked, almost like a little boy discovering something. "If Willie Mays comes over to Philadelphia for the next two games there. Maybe I would get to meet him. Now that would really be something!"

Duster furor:  Brett’s cool


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent


KANSAS CITY – Dickie Noles says he wasn't throwing at anybody.


Kansas City Manager Jim Frey said Noles tried to decapitate Royals' All-Star George Brett.


Phils' Manager Dallas Green isn't sure what happened.


And George Brett doesn't care.


To start at the beginning, Brett saw an 0-2 fastball from Noles coming straight at his head and bailed out – fast. The fact that the Royals were ahead 5-1, courtesy of a four-run, first-inning barrage off Larry Christenson, helped convince Frey that the ball didn't just slip out of Noles' hand.


So Frey charged out toward the mound, stopping at the foul line and hollering toward Noles, who hollered back. Home plate umpire Don Denkinger intervened but, after words with Frey and Phils' first baseman Pete Rose, issued a warning that another knockdown would result in ejections.


Frey felt his mission was accomplished short of bloodshed – anybody's blood.


"The last time I was in a fight I was 21 and I got the hell beat out of me," said the bespectacled manager of his "peacemaking" mission. "I just wanted to get anything stopped right there.


"I thought it was a knockdown pitch. When a team hits the ball like we did today and with a good hitter up with an 0-2 count, well, the situation is there. He threw the ball at George's head and I went out there to stop that."


Asked what he said to Noles, Frey answered: "All I said was 'I want it stopped right now.' Noles said he wasn't throwing at him. The pitcher's the only one who knows what's going through his head. I didn't want one of those battles where everybody's throwing at people's heads.


"I don't believe in retaliation and I don't buy that 'high and tight' stuff. You can be as much a baseball purist as you want, but if you've seen guys get hit in the head – and I've seen two or three guys almost killed – you don't want any of that stuff going on."


The Phillies insist Brett wasn't a marked man.


"All I'll say is I wasn't throwing at him," Noles said.


"We were pitching George inside," added catcher Bob Boone. "The ball just sailed on Dickie."


"The only guy upset was Frey," said Dallas Green. "George Brett didn't get upset and he was the guy getting shot at. All I saw was an 0-2 pitch and the hitter diving. It wasn't a bad one."


Whatever it was.


Brett, for his part, shrugged it off. "Whatever he was doing, it was all right with me," Brett said. "It's all part of the game. I believe in an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth."


But the Phillies never matched the Royals' five runs.


Frey also had words with Rose after walking toward the KC dugout, then circling back toward the field.


"Pete told me to get off the field, that Noles wasn't throwing at him," Frey said. "Like I said before, the only guy who knew what was going through Noles' mind was the pitcher himself. Rose didn't know any more than I did."


"I just told him it was a helluva thing for a manager to yell at our pitcher," Rose said. "I can't remember that happening before. Brett was the guy who could've argued if he wanted to, but he didn't say anything. It was really weird."


Royals reliever Dan Quisenberry, who's unleashed almost as many quips as sinkerballs in the four games he's worked, was asked if he threw hard enough to retaliate in a situation like yesterday's knockdown brouhaha.


"Yes," he smiled. "With grenades."


Asked how the KC pitching staff planned to retaliate the rest of the way, Quisenberry smiled: "We might invest our World Series check in nuclear arms."


It was easy for Quisenberry to make jokes. The Royals had won to square the Series 2-2 and Brett had escaped unscathed, if a little shaken.


But today's another day, perhaps the most important of the Series. And the Phils' Marty Bystrom throws hard. If the Royals get ahead, Bystrom may go after one.


Then again, maybe the pitch did just get away from Dickie Noles. As Frey said, only he knows for sure.

Rose makes a big splash with Kansas City fans


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


KANSAS CITY – Larry Bowa says the Kansas City fans are more friendly than the paying customers at Veterans Stadium, but you get a different story from Pete Rose.


When the Phillies' first baseman was trotting back to the dugout after the fourth inning, a fan threw a paper cup filled with beer at Rose.


"I didn't really see it, but it hit my glasses," said Rose. "Somebody told me it was a rolled-up paper cup. After 18 years in the big leagues, you learn not to look up when you go to the dugout – if you don't want to lose an eye."


Rose, who had the infield practice ball in his glove when the incident happened, said he had no intention of heaving the ball at the fan.


"No, I'm not that stupid, but I'll tell you the truth. If I had seen the guy who threw it at me, it might have been something different. Last year in St. Louis a guy punched me when I went near the stands along the first-base line to catch a foul pop. I almost gave it to him."


When asked to compare the Kansas City fans with those in Philadelphia, Bowa said: "They don't know now to be mean here; they know how to be mean in Philadelphia. Maybe that's part of being in the Midwest.”


It was obvious from the first batter on yesterday that Larry Christenson didn't have it.


“He didn't have his good wrist pop," said Manager Dallas Green. "I talked to Boonie (catcher Bob Boone) and he told me Larry didn't have it. The ball just would not explode for him."


"I have no alibis," said the right-handed pitcher who did not get out of the first inning in Kansas City's 5-3 victory. "I felt 100 percent. I just went out there and pitched the worst game of the year. I feel badly that it had to come in the World Series.


"Usually, I keep our guys in it and today I didn't. I had a little trouble gripping the ball and a little problem with the mound. But that's no excuse. I just didn't get the balls where I wanted to."


Christenson said the pitch Willie Aikens hit out in the first inning was perfect for the Royals' first baseman.


"It was a fastball that I didn't get inside. It was a hitter's pitch. I'm not taking anything away from him, but if I were up there, I might have hit it out, too. George Brett hit a real good pitch for his triple, but the ball Aikens hit was right down the middle of the plate."



KANSAS CITY (AP) - Play-by-play of Saturday's fourth game of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals:


Phillies First

Leonard's first pitch to Smith was fouled off. Smith grounded out Brett to Aikens. Rose singled up the middle and took second on White's bad throw. McBride flied out to Wilson in left. Schmidt struck out.

No runs, one hit, one error, one left.


Royals First

Wilson singled to center. Christenson threw wild in a pickoff attempt, and Wilson raced to third. White popped to McBride in short right. Brett tripled down first base line, scoring While. Aikens homered over the right field wall for two runs. McRae lined a hit to center and stretched it into a double. Otis smacked a double off the right-center field wall, scoring McRae. Dickie Noles relieved Christenson. Hurdle walked. Porter struck out swinging. Washington beat out a grounder up the middle. Bowa's throw was too late. Wilson grounded out Rose to Noles in a close play.

Four runs, six hits, one error, three left.


Phillies Second

Unser flied out to Wilson in left. Maddox looped a single to right. Trillo grounded to White, whose relay to Washington got Maddox. But Washington's throw to first bounced by Aikens for an error. Bowa looped a single to left, and Wilson's throw to the plate was late, Bowa moving to second. Boone grounded out Brett to Aikens.

One run, two hits, one error, one left.


Royals Second

White flied out to Maddox. Brett grounded out Trillo to Rose. Aikens blasted another long homer to right. McRae stretched another hit to right into a double. Otis flied out to right.

One run, two hits, no errors, one left.


Phillies Third

Smith grounded out Brett to Aikens. Rose flied to Wilson. McBride walked. McBride was caught stealing, Porter to White.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.


Royals Third

Hurdle blooped a double down the third base line. Porter popped foul to Schmidt at third. Washington grounded out Trillo to Rose, Hurdle taking third. Wilson struck out.

No runs, one hit, no errors, one left.


Phillies Fourth

Schmidt bunted for a single. Unser flied to Otis in center. Maddox grounded to Aikens who fagged him out in a race to the bag, Schmidt taking second. Trillo flied to Hurdle in right.

No runs, one hit, no errors, one left.


Royals Fourth

White popped foul to Rose at first. Noles decked Brett with a high fastball on an 0-2 count. KC Manager Jim Frey raced out and apparently wanted Noles ejected. Home plate ump Denkinger calmed Frey down. Brett then struck out. Aikens struck out.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.


Phillies Fifth

Bowa flied to Hurdle in right. Boone singled to center. Smith grounded into a double plav, Brett to White to Aikens.

No runs, one hit, no errors, none left.


Royals Fifth

McRae struck out. Otis singled up the middle. Hurdle walked. Porter struck out. Washington popped foul to Schmidt at third.

No runs, one hit, no errors, two left.


Phillies Sixth
Rose grounded out Brett to Aikens. McBride doubled to the left-center field wall. Schmidt grounded to Brett, who ranged to his left, dropped it, picked it up and fired to Aikens for the out in a close play. McBride took third on a wild pitch. Unser struck out.

No runs, one hit, no errors, one left.


Royals Sixth

Kevin Saucier relieved to start the Royals Sixth. Wilson walked. White flied to McBride in right. Brett flied to Unser in left. Wilson took second on a wild pitch. Aikens walked. Warren Brusstar was the new pitcher for Philadelphia. McRae grounded to Rose, who tipped to Bowa for the force at second.

No runs, no hits, no errors, two left.


Phillies Seventh

Maddox popped to Washington at short. Trillo doubled to right center. Bowa slapped a single on the left field line, Trillo taking third. Boone hit a sacrifice fly to Wilson, who made an over-the-shoulder catch in left, Trillo scoring. Bowa stole second. Smith grounded out, Washington to Aikens.

One run, two hits, no errors, one left.


Royals Seventh

Otis flied to Maddox in center. Hurdle grounded out, Trillo to Rose. Porter walked. Washington grounded out, Trillo to Rose.

No runs, no hits, no errors, one left.


Phillies Eighth

Rose doubled to left. Dan Quisenberry relieved Leonard. McBride grounded out, White to Aikens, Rose moving to third). Schmidt hit a sacrifice fly to right, Rose scoring ahead of Hurdle's throw to Porter. Unser singled to right. Maddox grounded out, Washington to Aikens.

One run, two hits, no errors, one left.


Royals Eighth

Wilson grounded out, Bowa to Rose. White grounded out, Trillo to Rose. Trillo ranged to hit right and threw to Rose to get Brett.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.


Phillies Ninth

Trillo grounded out, Brett to Aikens. Bowa grounded out, White to Aikens. Boone grounded out, Washington to Aikens.

No runs, no hits, no errors, none left.