Elyria Chronicle-Telegram - October 3, 1980

Expos vs. Phillies For All The East Marbles


By the United Press International


Well, baseball purists, just sit back and enjoy the weekend.


The Montreal Expos and Philadelphia Phillies, with sellout crowds north of the border ready to watch every move, will settle the National League East in a three-game, winner-take-all series beginning tonight.


"They've had a lot of momentum, but I'm glad we played today," Pete Rose said Thursday night after the Phillies beat Chicago 4-2 to move into a tie with the idle Expos.


"When a team (Montreal) wins five in a row, you like to go to the ballpark, not sit at home," continued Rose. "I wouldn't like to sit around all day like they did thinking about tomorrow."


GARY CARTER, Montreal's version of Rose in terms of production and desire, gives his own version.


"This is it," said Carter, who is emerging as a candidate for MVP honors with his heroics down the stretch. "And we are coming on strong right on schedule. If we hadn't had the injuries we have had just think where we might be now. The race probably wouldn't even be close."


Soon all the talk will mean nothing. All that will matter is how Dick Ruthven, 16-10, does against Montreal's Scott Sanderson, 16-10.


Saturday, the ailing Larry Christenson, 5-1, meets Expos' ace Steve Rogers, 16-11. The incomparable Steve Carlton, 24-9, touted for his third Cy Young award, draws rookie bulldog Bill Gullickson, 10-5, in Sunday's finale.


"We have a starting rotation that is going great and we are hitting now," said Montreal manager Dick Williams. "It goes down to the best two-out-pf three in a mini championship series. The Expos are relaxed and its going to be great fun."


PHILLIES' MANAGER Dallas Green likes the idea of a season-ending series for the title.


"It's certainly better than having to look at the scoreboard," he said. "At least we can see what's going on. We feel rather confident. We know what we have to do. We've played pretty darn good baseball for a long time with our backs to the wall. We're really getting the job done."


The Phillies waited out an 89- minute rain delay and two anxious innings before finally putting away the Cubs. Mike Schmidt hit his league-leading 46th homer and catcher Keith Moreland, continuing to produce in place of slump-ridden Bob Boone, broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh by singling home Del Unser from second.


Rookie Bob Walk, 11-7, pitched 7 1-3 strong innings. Tug McGraw picked up his 19th save.


THE WEST DIVISION will also bring together two contenders, but Los Angeles needs a near-miracle. With Houston's 3-2 victory over Atlanta combined with Los Angeles' 3-2 loss to San Francisco, the Dodgers need to sweep all three games to even tie.


Houston rookie Gary Woods hit a game-tying, solo homer to ignite a three-run fourth and Joe Morgan singled in two runs. Joe Niekro ran his record to 19-12. He left in the ninth after allowing a double to Gary Matthews. Joe Sambito relieved and surrendered an RBI single to Chris Chambliss before Frank LaCorte came on to record his 17th save by striking out Dale Murphy.