Topeka Capital-Journal - October 20, 1980
Hentzen: Oh, this one hurt
By Bob Hentzen
KANSAS CITY -- If the Kansas City Royals don't win the World Series, Sunday's game will be remembered as the one that did 'em in.
The 4-3 loss hurt badly because they had the lead going into the ninth inning. And if they'd held it, they'd have been sitting pretty -- needing only one win in Philadelphia to become world champs. Now they've got a mountain to climb.
When you have a tough defeat, a lot of little happenings are magnified and/or subject to the second guess.
Back in the fourth inning, for instance, first baseman Willie Aikens failed to have his foot on the bag when he fielded Larry Gura's toss when Bake McBride tried to bunt for a hit. The next man, Mike Schmidt, homered.
"I thought I was on the bag," said Aikens. "I thought I had him."
But Sunday Aikens, who had starred throught the Series, was a scapegoat. "You're going to have good days and bad days," he philosophized. "It was a bad day for me. For the whole team, really, because we lost."
Manager Jim Frey was not critical of Aikens' goof. "The next guy doesn't have to hit the ball out of the bank, either," he observed. "Sometimes, when you make an error, the next guy hits into a double play."
Then in the sixth when the Royals scored twice and were on the verge of a really big inning, Darrell Porter -- for the second time in the Series -- was thrown out at the plate.
He was on first base with one out when Willie Wilson hit an uncharacteristic long ball to the base of the fence in right. But a strong relay from second baseman Manny Trillo nailed Porter at home.
"You try to do what you think is right and when he doesn't make it, you're (bleep-bleep)," philosophized third base coach Gordy MacKenzie. "If he does make it, nobody says anything about it. What it amounts to is a no-win situation."
Moving right along to the eighth inning -- the Royals leading 3-2 -- veteran Jose Cardenal was inserted to bat for Clint Hurdle with two on and two out. He flied to center on the first pitch.
And it was Cardenal who was the Royals' last hope in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two out. He struck out.
Why not John Wathan instead of Cardenal to hit against lefty Tug McGraw?
Frey said that he made up his mind Saturday night that Cardenal would be his man if this situation came up.
"I thought Cardenal would have a better chance against McGraw in the National League and has a beter idea of his stuff," explained Frey. "And he hit well (.340) for us after we got him."
Wathan, by the way, hit into a double play against McGraw the only time he's faced him. "I'd like to have had the opportunity," he said, "but I try to go along with the manager. He (Cardenal) is a good ball player. He makes good contact and had a good September for us. If he'd have got a base hit, it would have looked great."
Probably the final second guess concerns bringing in sinkerballer Dan Quisenberry in the seventh inning. He was coming out for the fifth straight Series game.
"I can't think that was a bad move," said Frey. "I wanted him in there for the same reason I've used him all year. He can get the double play and keep the ball in the park.
"I don't think he's been overworked. He did the job in the seventh and eighth. And I think he threw as well in the ninth as he did in the seventh and eighth. Except for Trillo's line drive, they hit the ball on the ground."
The what-might-have-beens also include the 13 runners the Royals left on base. But the final score is going to remain as long as a World Seres record book is printed.
Pray the Royals figure out a way in Philadelphia to keep Game 5 from haunting them and their partisans all winter.
Phils scratch out two runs in 9th to win, 4-3
By Alan Eskew
KANSAS CITY -- It was Black Sunday.
Before Kansas City starting pitcher Larry Gura arrived at Royals Stadium, his huge hunting dog clipped him and sent him tumbling.
Willie Aikens did not put his foot on first base on what should have been an easy out.
George Brett struck out his last two times at bat and had a throwing error.
Darrell Porter was thrown out at home for the second time in the World Series.
The Royals had a homer, double, two singles and a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, but that accounted for only two runs.
Reliever Dan Quisenberry failed to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning.
Jose Cardenal struck out for the final out, leaving the bases loaded.
So the Philadephia Phillies left Kansas City with a 4-3 victory in Game 5 Sunday afternoon and need only one more to win the World Series.
Let's take this from the ending.
Phils' reliever Tug McGraw walked the bases full in the ninth. McGraw walked Frank White, Willie Aikens and Amost Otis in between striking out Brett and inducing Hal McRae to hit into a grounder that forced pinch-runner Onix Concepcion at second.
That brought up Cardenal, a 37-year-old Cuban whom the Royals picked up in August just for this situation. Cardenal went down swinging.
"I like to hit in clutch situations," Cardenal said. "All my life I hit in the clutch. I'm only human.
"This game was televised back to Cuba. Castro should be mad, too."
All the blame cannot be placed on Cardnal's shoulder. Brett peeked at a third called strike with White on first for the first out.
"The count was 0-and-2 and some guys like to waste one in that situation," Brett said. "He threw a fastball away and I hesitated for one second and couldn't get to it.
I was trying to hit one in the hole between first and second and he knew it since Pete Rose was holding the runner at first."
In the top of the ninth the Phils scored twice but only one ball, a pinch-hit double by Del Unser, left the infield.
Mike Schmidt, who had hit a two-run homer in the fourth, opened the ninth with an infield single. Brett knocked the ball down at third base, but there was no throw to first.
Unser, who had doubled off Quisenberry in an eighth-inning rally in Game 2, followed with a double just to the left of Aikens at first and into the right-field corner.
Unser scored from third with two outs when Manny Trillo hit a line drive off Quisenberry's glove. Brett picked up the ball behind Quisenberry, but his throw to first was late.
"When the ball hits off the pitcher's glove, you don't know where it's going to richochet," Brett said. "I was the closest one to him. My thoughts were hurry up and get it as fast as I could. I wasn't fast enough.
"McRae hit one like that in the second inning and it went right to the second baseman. This one was just bad timing."
Quisenberry said. "I just needed more glue in my glove. The ball hit the tip of my glove. The pitch was a sinker, low and away. I thought he was lunging at the ball. He showed he's really a good hitter. He hit it harder than I could react."
This was the second time Quisenberry has lost in the Series after relieving Gura.
"Take the three balls in the ninth," Quisenberry said. "We're three inches out of being out of the ball game. All are ground balls except Trillo's."
"It's tough to lose any game in the ninth when you got them over a barrel," Gura said.
Schmidt's fourth-inning homer came immediately after Bake McBride reached first on a bunt back to Gura, who threw to first in plenty of time. Aikens' foot, however, was not on the bag. He shuffled his feet and McBride was safe.
"I thought I had my foot on the back part of the base," Aikens said. "Then I realized I wanted to get more of my foot on the bag. I thought I beat him to the bag the second time."
The Royals, who stranded 13 runners, got a run back in the fifth when U.L. Washington and Willie Wilson opened the inning with singles, White advanced them to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, Washington scored when Brett grounded out to Trillo.
But there were more faux pas in the sixth.
Amos Otis, who is the leading hitter in the Series with a .550 average, stroked a lead-off homer to left off Phils rookie starter Marty Bystrom. It was Otis' third homer in the five games and the crowd of 42,369 brought him back for a bow.
Clint Hurdle followed with a single to center and advanced to third when Porter wormed a single between first and second that finished Bystrom. Ron Reed was waved in to face Washington.
Washington hit a sacrifice fly to left-fielder Greg Luzinski, who did not try to throw out Hurdle at home, but instead threw to second, keeping Porter at first.
Wilson then banged a double off the bullpen fence in right field. Third base coach Gordy MacKenzie waved home Porter, but Trillo's relay throw to Bob Boone was in ample time for the tag.
"That was the turning point," said Gura, who limited the Phils for four hits in 6 1/3 innings. "Trillo had the ball before Darrell rounded the bag. With two outs you send him. With one out or no outs, you hold him and hope for a sacrifice fly."
The Royals never scored again, although they left two men stranded in the seventh and three in the ninth.
With two outs in the seventh, McRae doubled and Otis was walked intentionally.
Manager Jim Frey pinch-hit Cardenal for Hurdle to face the left-handed McGraw. Cardenal flied out to center-fielder Garry Maddux on McGraw's first offering.
"I'm not paid to manage," Hurdle said of the move that removed him. "I'm getting paid to play. Sure, I'm upset in that situation. It's a situation a player dreams of, a fifth game of the World Series and a chance to bust it open. It's frustrating.
"Jose has done the job. If he gets the hit, bingo, we're in there. He doesn't and there are a lot of questions."
Monday is a travel day. The Series resumes Tuesday night in Philadelphia with Steve Carlton and Rich Gale the probable pitching matchup.