Wilmington Morning News - October 20, 1980
Phillies flatten Royals
Schmidt smokes in 4-3 win
Mike Schmidt powered a two-run homer, then triggered a ninth-inning Philadelphia rally with a single as the Phillies, true to postseason form, came from behind for a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals in yesterday's pivotal fifth World Series game. The Phils scored twice in the top of the ninth and then watched Tug McGraw strike out Jose Cardenal with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning to lock up the win. The victory, after two straight losses, sends the Phils home for tomorrow's sixth game with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven-games series. They will bid for their first World Championship with ace Steve Carlton facing Kansas City's Rich Gale.
McGraw saves Phillies again
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent
KANSAS CITY – Tug McGraw felt he was having a heart attack, but in Philadelphia they were getting ready to dance in the streets for an imminent World Series celebration.
Tug McGraw saved the Phillies for another day – and won a big game in the process – as the Phillies overtook the Kansas City Royals 4-3 with a dramatic ninth-inning rally and an equally dramatic ninth-inning snuff job by McGraw.
Winning the one game they had to have in Royals Stadium, the Phils lead the Series 3-2 with Game Six scheduled for Veterans Stadium tomorrow night.
Steve Carlton is scheduled to pitch Game Six against the Royals' Rich Gale.
"This was the pivotal game for both clubs and I'm glad we won," said McGraw, who had to strike out Jose Cardenal with the bases loaded to end the game. "This was typical Phillies' fashion – come from behind."
And once the Phillies scored twice against loser Dan Quisenberry on Del Unser's double down the right field line that scored Mike Schmidt, and Manny Trillo's infield single off Quisenberry's arm that got Unser home, McGraw went to work.
Frank White walked, which McGraw called "a mortal sin for a relief pitcher." But then, on a miracle of sorts, George Brett was fooled by McGraw's two-strike fastball and looked at strike three for a very key out.
"I felt he expected me to waste one," McGraw said. "I figured he wouldn't expect a strike. It was just one of those confrontations where I came out on top."
But Willie Aikens, who let Unser's double skip past his glove and earlier had taken his foot off the base to help the Phillies to an unearned run, walked on four pitches and Hal McRae came up to give McGraw his heart problems.
McRae drilled McGraw's first pitch high and far down the left field line, with all the earmarks of a dramatic three-run homer. At the last instant it curved foul and McGraw let out a breath, fluttering his hands over his heart.
"I saw all that CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) advertising here all week,' said McGraw, "and I thought they'd have to come out and get me if that ball goes out. My heart was jumping out into my hand.”
But McGraw got McRae on a shot to shortstop Larry Bowa, who forced pinch-runner Onix Concepcion at second for the second out before McGraw semi-intentionally walked Amos Otis, who'd homered in the sixth to start Marty Bystrom to the showers when Kansas City jumped ahead 3-2.
"If I missed on a pitch to Otis, I wanted to miss bad, not into the strike zone," Tug said.
"Once I got deep in the count, I felt I'd be better off facing Cardenal, not because he can't hit, just because I know him a lot better."
And Tug's "knowledge" paid off as the ex-Phil swung and missed a fastball to end the game and quiet the 42,369 fans.
Up until the Phils' rally, which has been their trademark since the beginning of September and particularly in the NL playoffs against Houston, the Royals Stadium crowd figured the Royals would sweep the three games here and put the pressure on the Phillies to win two straight at the Vet.
But the shoe's on the other foot now.
"We've definitely been the 'Cardiac Kids,"' said Unser, who doubled off Quisenberry in Game Two to spark a four-run rally that beat the Royal relief ace in Philadelphia.
"We come from behind and we won't give up. There isn't a clock on baseball – you can play till you win.
"As for being in the driver's seat, if I were in Philly and had to come to Kansas City and win two games, I'd say they were in the driver's seat. So they probably think we're in the driver's seat now. But we still have to drive it."
Somehow, driving a stake through the Royals' hearts won't be that easy.
"We can't think it's a lead-pipe cinch with this team," said Bowa. "They've battled our butts all the way. They're a good team. We wanted to win two here and end it, but we'll take the one and go home."
Asked about the Phils' supposed "magic" in these frantic post-season tournaments, Bowa just sneered.
"There's no magic, no luck, involved," he said. "We've just got a good baseball team but nobody will believe it until we win it all. You guys write about magic. There's no magic at all. We're just playing good baseball."
It looked as if the good baseball was about to end for the Phillies, whose bats appeared to be in a coma.
The cool-headed Bystrom matched zeroes with KC starter Larry Gura for the first three innings, wriggling out of jams with poise and a good fastball.
The Phils broke through for two runs in the fourth, though Aikens' error of not keeping his foot on first base on Bake McBride's easy hopper to Gura opened the door. Then Schmidt slammed it shut with a drive over the 410-foot sign in right center for a 2-0 lead.
"The wind was blowing some," said Schmidt, "and I probably never could have gotten it out toward left-center. But the ball was over the plate and I just got under it. Yes, I thought it was going out all the way."
The Royals scratched out a run against Bystrom in the fifth when U.L. Washington singled past Bystrom's head to center field and eventually scored on Brett's bouncer to Trillo.
Bystrom didn't survive the sixth. Otis opened the inning with his third homer of the series, a shot to the grass in left center, just under the flowing Royals logo, to tie the game.
Singles by Clint Hurdle and Darrell Porter brought in Ron Reed and Washington put KC ahead with a sacrifice fly to left.
Reed wasn't out of trouble because Willie Wilson doubled over McBride's head in right and Porter circled third, heading for the plate. But Trillo encored his relay spectacular that snuffed out a run in the Astrodome, taking McBride's throw and gunning a strike to catcher Bob Boone. Porter was dead at the plate.
"The play in Houston, I was closer to the plate," said Trillo. "I knew we had a shot at Porter if he tried to score. Bake gave me a good throw and I just fired home."
Trillo called his ninth-inning single off Quisenberry's arm "very important for me because it was the winning RBI. All I was thinking was to make contact. I couldn't tell where the ball hit – all I saw it do was go down towards third base and I just ran as hard as I could run."
And ran the Phillies into what could be a Series-clinching sixth game tomorrow night at the Vet.
Time ticking away for Phillies’ Bowa
By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA – When the 1980 World Series opened at Veterans Stadium, Larry Bowa was 35 years old and running out of time.
"You have to face reality," the Phillies' shortstop said. "When you're my age and you've never quite done all the things in this game you want to, you have to begin to think about it a little."
This, of course, is Larry Bowa's first World Series. After losing the National League playoffs in 1976-77-78, the Phils finally made it this year. And after five games, Bowa was making the most of it. He was batting .438 and tied with Bake McBride for the most hits on his team, with eight.
In addition, the spunky little shortstop played his position as if he were 10 years younger. In the second game, when the Phils vaulted out to a 2-0 lead that they would later lose in Kansas City, Bowa tied a record for most doubleplays started in a nine-inning game, three.
After the Royals tied the Series 2-2 in their beautiful stadium, the Phils again had their backs to the wall. But they responded, coming from behind – again – to nip the Royals 4-3 yesterday. Larry Bowa, like most of his teammates, knows it still is going to be difficult to win the Phils' first World Championship after losses in 1915 and 1950.
But it's been that kind of year for the Phillies, and especially Bowa. Nothing has been easy, or for that matter, overly pleasant.
In spring training Bowa, who just completed his 11th season, popped off to the press about his salary. He earns about $325,000, but felt other shortstops lacking his credentials earned more and he didn't like it.
A day or two later he met with the press and said he was wrong. Owner Ruly Carpenter had been good to him and he had no right saying the things that were printed in the papers.
A week or so later, as the Phils' player representative, Bowa got deeply involved in negotiations between owners and the Major League Players Association. This put a heavy mental burden on him.
Then, on the morning of the All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Bowa and several teammates were mentioned in a story in a Trenton, N.J., newspaper accusing them of illegally obtaining amphetamines. Most of the facts in the story were later proven inaccurate and the players were cleared, but the hurt was still there.
"At that time, I decided not to talk to reporters anymore," said Bowa. "I had always been cooperative, but they never bothered to get my side of the story. So, no more interviews."
Problems were not over for Bowa. As the Phils were making their surge for the National League Eastern Division title in late September, the fans booed him after an important 15-inning game. In the clubhouse, he called the Philadelphia fans nasty things and the next day, after his remarks appeared in area newspapers, he was lustily booed.
At the same time, Bowa and Manager Dallas Green got into an exchange (through the newspapers) that left the shortstop fuming.
"Dallas Green is a lot like me," said Bowa. "He says something one day and wishes he hadn't said it the next. He even said if he told people some things about me I wouldn't be able to play another game in Philadelphia. I don't know what he meant. He says things i when he's mad. We're not best friends, but I respect the job he has done as manager."
It took a long meeting in Carpenter's office to get that squabble cooled down.
But from the moment the fans turned on Larry Bowa, he has played as well, if not better, than anyone on the team.
"You have to give the little guy credit," said Green after the final Series game in Kansas City. "He has battled everything this year and played above it. I said all along when people have problems other than on-the-field baseball problems, they have to put them out of their mind. I didn't think Larry was doing this earlier in the year, but he certainly has the last six weeks."
"Being in the World Series is something every player dreams of. I'm no different," said Bowa. "It's just that this means so much more to some of us because of the things we have been through. We didn't do well in the playoffs before this year and everyone is always bringing up 1950 and 1964, the year the Phillies blew the pennant."
Bowa, however, has not patched up all his differences with the fans. During the Phils' 5-3 loss in the fourth game, the Kansas City fans became ugly.
When asked to compare the Royals' fans with Philadelphia fans, Bowa said: "They don't know how to be mean here; they know how to be mean in Philadelphia. Maybe that's part of being from the Midwest."
Happy end to Schmidt ‘fairy tale’
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent
KANSAS CITY – It was a big day for Mike Schmidt. There was the two-run homer that sliced through the wind, the blistering single off George Brett's glove that ignited the Phils' winning rally in the ninth, the usual sparkling defensive effort.
But Mike Schmidt was thinking about fairy tales yesterday with the Phillies on the brink of victbry in the rubber game of this World Series tournament in Royals Stadium.
Jose Cardenal was batting for the Royals, who were trailing 4-3 with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth. Schmidt snuck a peak at the scoreboard and, suddenly, he was thinking of something from the Brothers Grimm.
"I looked at the scoreboard and saw that Jose didn't have a hit in the Series," Schmidt said of his former teammate. "I was just praying that this wasn't going to be one of those fairy-tale stories where Jose Cardenal came back to haunt the Phillies with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth. Thankfully, that plot wasn't written."
It was Tug McGraw, not Mother Goose, out there and Cardenal chased an inside fastball to end the game.
Schmidt exhaled, then headed for the Phils' surprisingly restrained locker room and a horde of interviewers.
"Tug came in, walked Frank White, and had to face Brett, Aikens, McRae and Otis in a row," Schmidt gee-whizzed. "There's not a hole in that lineup. But we just got out of it. We won and that's the important thing."
Schmidt thinks the key was McGraw's three-pitch strikeout of George Brett, though not for the reason you're thinking.
"The key was their (KC's) unwillingness to have Brett bunt," Schmidt said. "Maybe they'll have reason to regret it, but I guess he (KC Manager Jim Frey) was just letting a. 390 hitter hit."
Schmidt was asked if HE considered a bunt to open the Phils' ninth – which he actually started with a shot off Brett's glove.
"There was no way I bunt leading off that inning," said Schmidt, who did exactly that starting the fourth inning in Saturday's 5-3 loss. "We're down one run. I'm looking for a good pitch to drive it, hit it out of the park or whatever we needed.
"I did notice Brett was playing me in and maybe that helped me get on. If he was playing me in normal position, he might have had more time to get my ball."
Schmidt said he was happy to leave Kansas City with a victory.
"We very easily could have been 0-for-3 here," he said. "I felt if we went back to Philadelphia with an advantage, it would put us in a good position. Now they have their backs to the wall. They nave to win two in our place and that won't be easy."
EXTRA INNINGS – Dan Quisenberry's been in all five games for Kansas City and has been the losing pitcher in both games Larry Gura started... Unser's second pinch hit leaves him one short of the World Series record, shared by five players... Amos Otis has hit in all eight postseason games for KC and, now 11-for-20 (.550), he is two hits short of the Series hit record shared by Bobby Richardson and Lou Brock.