Montreal Gazette - October 2, 1980

Carlton hurls two-hit victory but not without controversy


By Michael Farber of The Gazette


PHILADELPHIA – Even a Steve Carlton two-hitter last night could not put an end to Philliegate.


The Phillies – who defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-0 to remain a half-game behind the Expos in the National League East – had conflicting testimony from manager Dallas Green and centrefielder Garry Maddox, a gaffe which jeopardized what might been Carlton's career first no-hitter.


Lefty – who took a no-hitter 7 innings earlier this season – did not allow a hit through seven, but Mike Vail opened the eighth by lining a 1-1 fastball (one of the few he threw, this time after shaking off Bob Boone's call for a slider) to centre. Del Unser, playing in place of Maddox for the third consecutive game, charged the ball, but it bounced three feet in front of him.


Probably makes play


Maddox, who plays the shallowest centre field in the National League, probably makes the play if he's in the game.


Now here's the intrigue:


Maddox – who had been on the bench since botching Chris Speier's flyball Sunday – was in the original lineup, but was scratched when he complained of a sore pinky on his left hand.


Just who scratched whom was the question.


"I hurt my hand sliding in Pittsburgh," said Maddox of the finger he had x-rayed Tuesday. The x-rays were negative. "I re-injured it Sunday on Rowland Office's fly when I stumbled after the catch. Initially when I hurt it, I told Dallas after we went to Chicago that I could play defence but wasn't sure if I could swing the bat. I told him I could play this game, but I wasn't sure if I could hit. He was the one who scratched me."


Green, upon hearing the version of Maddox – who played 10 games before being benched – at first said: "I'll accept that."


Stories through Wine


But apparently all stories had been laundered through coach Bobby Wine, who told Green that Maddox had begged off.


"A communication gap," Green called it.


Well, maybe it didn't rank with the 18½ minute gap of the Nixon years, but when Carlton is dealing a no-hitter, it hurt. Bill Buckner added a second single – a two-out line single off second baseman Manny Trillo's glove; a charitable call – but if the centre fielder makes the play on Vail, Buckner never comes to bat.


So Lefty had to settle for his 45th career shutout and first since May 23. He struck out 10 (11th time for 10 or more Ks in a game) and walked two, just another night at the yard for the two-time – going on three – Cy Young Award winner.


"He had a super slider, a very fine curve and there was good pop on his fastball," Green said. "Those are no-hitter ingredients.


"For a 35-year-old guy, a power pitcher, it's amazing to me how he cranks up the innings and the strikeouts he has. He's just pitching powerful, powerful baseball. Nothing less than outstanding. There's absolutely no contest for Cy Young (Carlton is 24-9 with an earned run average of 2.34, 286 strikeouts and 304 innings pitched), and he's a candidate for the other thing (Most Valuable Player award).


"Every time we've skidded or had a scare, lose two in a row, he picks us up. Sixteen of his wins have come after losses. This is important for this team early when our pitching was sporadic."


All of which means the Philadelphia Phillies may have been St. Louis Cardinal clones if Carlton – who has more than 300 innings pitched for the second time in his career – had been merely human and started on an 18-victory pace.


He received all the offensive support he needed in the sixth when Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski bombed consecutive home runs on consecutive pitches against loser Dennis Lamp (11-14) – the sixth time this season and ninth in their careers they have hit back-to-back home runs. For Schmidt, it was No. 45, tying a career best, and marked the fifth time in eight years he has scored and driven in 100 runs. For Luzinski, it might have been even more significant.


Bull, benched with Maddox and Boone (who returned last night to catch Carlton and drove in the fifth Phillie run with a single), had been struggling. After striking out in the second and bouncing-out in the third, he had gone two-for-23 with 10 Ks.


Boom. End of slump, maybe.


"One hit," said Schmidt, "can be the catalyst for Greg Luzinski's batting stroke."


Luzinski probably will get a chance again today against the Cubs and in Olympic Stadium this weekend.


And Maddox?


"I never make the lineup," Green said, "until I come to the park."


NOTES – Bob Walk (10-7, but 2-6 with a 6.58 earned run average since August 1) opposes the Cubs' Randy Martz (1-2) tonight in the finale of the four-game series.


Dick Ruthven meets Scott Sanderson tomorrow night at the Olympic Stadium, Larry Christenson faces Steve Rogers Saturday, and Carlton goes against Bill Gullickson Sunday. If the Phillies were to tie the Expos on the final day, Marty Bystrom probably would work the one-game playoff...