Camden Courier-Post - October 4, 1980
Phils nip Expos, take over lead
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
MONTREAL – Tug McGraw turned in a brilliant relief performance here last night and the Phillies moved to within one victory of the National League East pennant.
McGraw struck out five of the six batters he faced to preserve a 2-1 victory for the Phillies in the first of their three showdown battles with the Montreal Expos.
The Phillies can clinch the title and earn the right to open the championship playoffs in Veterans Stadium Tuesday night by winning here in Olympic Stadium this afternoon or tomorrow.
"There's still a lot of baseball to be played," cautioned Mike Schmidt, who supplied the deciding run by tying the world record for third basemen with his 47th home run of the season. "But I'd rather be in our position than their's."
The largest crowd of the season, 57,121, turned out to support the Expos' bid, and the Phillies soured things quickly. Pete Rose opened the game with a bullet single to center, scampered to third when Bake McBride dropped a double into the left field corner and scored on a sacrifice fly by Schmidt.
But Scott Sanderson got his second wind and, with the help of some feeble swings by Greg Luzinski, pitched out of the jam and blanked the Phillies until Schmidt connected with one out in the sixth.
Luzinski, who is 3-for-31, struck out three times in three tries and now has tiptoed ,back to the dugout 1 4 embarrassing times in the last eight games.
Dick Ruthven answered the challenge and countered Sanderson's fine pitching with some classy work of his own. He got ahead of the hitters and was in command 2-0 when the Expos finally got on the board in the sixth.
Jerry White doubled and Rodney Scott walked to open the sixth and Rowland Office sacrificed both runners into, scoring position. Only a great pickup and throw by Schmidt saved the Phillies from real trouble.
"I just stayed low and tried to get it into the vicinity of Manny," said Schmidt, who got the force at first on a great pickup by Trillo. "Let's face it, you have to get a few breaks in a game like this."
Andre Dawson brought a run home with a sacrifice fly to deep center, then Dallas Green ordered Gary Carter intentionally walked and brought in lefty Sparky Lyle to pitch to Warren Cromartie.
Putting the lead runner on base in violation of accepted, baseball strategy didn't faze the manager one bit, he said later.
"That was no tough decision," Green said. "I put on a hitter that is hotter than a firecracker right now. It shows my confidence in my staff to do that in the other guy's ballpark."
Green looked good when Trillo made a nice stop behind second to get the final out and preserve the lead.
"We had the opportunities," said Dick Williams, the Expo manager. "We weren't able to cash in.
"It was a great game of pitching and defense. They had it. We had it. They just had a little bit more."
Montreal made the big plays early and it looked as if the Phillies might be letting things slip away. Singles by Rose and Schmidt had runners at the corners in the third with Luzinski up with two out.
Green called for a delayed double steal, but catcher Carter was on top of the play and nailed Rose off third.
"We knew where we were going on the play," said Williams. "They gambled there."
And also showed a complete lack of confidence in the big hitter, Luzinski.
Larry Bowa singled to open the fifth and went all the way to third when White's throw in left got past all three Expos, shortstop Chris Speier, second baseman Scott and first baseman Cromartie.
With the count 2-0 on Ruthven, Green ordered the squeeze bunt and Sanderson threw low and away. Ruthven missed the ball and Carter ran down Bowa. Ruthven followed with a single that was wasted.
But Green made the right move in the eighth, calling on McGraw to preserve the lead.
Tugger hasn't given up an earned run in his last 14 games and last night he didn't give the Expos so much as a solid foul.
"He gave them a tremendous job," said Williams. "He was just tremendous."
Pinchhitter Bob Pate was the first Expo to face McGraw and he struck out on a fast ball tight. Dawson was next, and McGraw got him swinging wildly at an off-speed screwball.
Carter went out looking at an exploding fastball and the Phillies were in control.
"I can't begin to tell you what that does," said Schmidt. "We've never had a guy like that, like Tekulve was with the Pirates and Gossage is with the Yankees. He just takes over."
Montreal had no chance in the ninth after Cromartie lined out to left. McGraw got Larry Parrish looking at a screwball and Jerry Manuel looking at a fastball and it was all over.
PHIL UPS – Phillies had won 17 of 24 prior to last night's game... How evenly matched are the two teams? Well, going into last night the Phillies were 49-35 since the All-Star break, the Expos 48-36... Phils went into contest with an 11-3 record in one-run games since Sept. 1... Phils' team earned run average going into last night was 3.43, lowest since the third game of the season... Phils had won 19 of previous 25 road games before last night... Montreal shortstop Speier went into game hitting .474 over previous 19 games... Expo catcher Carter was named plyer of the month for September after hitting .360 with 22 RBIs and seven home runs during the month... Andre Dawson carried a 14-game hitting streak into last night... Larry Christenson opposes Steve Rogers this afternoon... Tomorrow's scheduled starters are Steve Carlton and Bill Gullickson.
Schmidt, McGraw opposites as they meet press after victory
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
MONTREAL – A little embarrassed by all the fuss, Mike Schmidt acted as if this were his first pennant race. He hesitated for a moment, then stepped onto a green wooden stage and faced a mob of newsmen waiting for his words.
"Is this," Schmidt wondered aloud to the sea of faces before him, "how it is in the World Series?"
The question was asked in the spirit of ice-breaking. It was a vehicle by which the mass interview – something that is, indeed, very much a part of the World Series and playoffs – could begin. But it also was a statement of hope, a nine-word revelation of just how close Schmidt and the Phillies are to spending their next few weeks meeting the media in stadium interview rooms.
It might seem strange that someone like Schmidt should feel uncomfortable in such situations. After all, he and a number of his present teammates have been down the division championship road before, winning the National League East three times.
But the fact remains that this is the first time Schmidt and the Phillies have been involved in a pennant race as close and tight as this one. This was the first time the Phillies had gone to an opposing ballpark this late in a season without a championship already in hand.
"We've never," said Schmidt, "been in a pennant race like this before. We've never had to play great baseball in September. All we had to do in the years we won (1976, 1977, 1978) was hold on."
This time, the Phillies must do more than merely hold on. They began a three-game showdown here in Olympic Stadium last night in a dead-heat for first place with the Expos. And the Phillies took the first round, 2-1, Schmidt driving in both runs and Tug McGraw striking out five of the six batters he faced to save it.
The Phils need only to win either this afternoon or tomorrow to reach the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. But, if the Phillies put themselves in the driver's seat with last night's win, the Expos still have one hand on the wheel.
"This (the pressure of a pennant race) is as new to us as it is to them," said Schmidt. "In fact, they might have more experience than we do, because they were in it with the Pirates until the last day last year.
"I'll tell you, before the game I was nervous. The Expos said they were relaxed, but I'm the first to admit I was nervous."
Such admissions are rare for Schmidt, who generally effects a demeanor slightly more composed than Mt. Rush-more. Of course, these are rare times for both Schmidt and the Phillies.
Next to take center stage was McGraw, whose left arm made Schmidt's sacrifice fly in the first and 47th home run in the sixth stand. McGraw was, well, quite at home in the interview room as be calmly responded to questions and delivered one-liners as crackling as his fastball.
It seemed supremely ironic that McGraw, on the surface Schmidt's emotional antithesis, would be the cooler head that prevailed.
"I tried to contain myself after the game," said McGraw, who rarely contains anything except opposing hitters. "I want to put it away tomorrow (today). Then I'll get excited."
McGraw had reason to temper his emotions. If you recall, it was just last week that the Phils beat the Expos, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game series in Veterans Stadium. Bake McBride had seemingly crushed Montreal with a dramatic home run in the bottom of the ninth. McGraw, who won that game in relief , was one of its chief celebrants.
The Expos, however, came back and won the next two games and left Philadelphia in first place, a position they steadfastly held until last night.
"This weekend," warned McGraw, "has started out very much like last weekend. I don't want what happened last weekend to happen again."
On that cautious note. McGraw left. He had been through all the fuss, felt all the pennant heat, before. Elation, he knew, was something to be held aside for a more appropriate time.
Feuding, Fussing helps Phils
By Bob Kenney, Courier-Post Sports Editor
MONTREAL – Manager Dallas Green seems to be enjoying his feud with center fielder Garry Maddox.
With the Phillies now just a win away from the National League East title, Green seems reluctant to ease up on his troops, who have earned national attention this week with their public squawking.
"We do that for excitement," Green told a group of writers after his teams 2-1 win last night. "It flushes our minds."
Does Green think the grumbling and back-stabbing will help or hurt his club?
"Some of the players are still not sure my methods are 100 percent right," said Green. "But we are whole. We're together in our desire to win this thing."
Green did not start Maddox, but inserted his veteran in the sixth inning for defensive help.
Maddox was benched after losing a line drive in the sun a week ago, then took himself out of the lineup Wednesday night via coach Bobby Wine.
It is obvious the manager and his pouting Star are not speaking.
"Not true," said Green. "I have talked to Garry. "I talked to him tonight. I said 'go in and play center field.'
"And I talked to him again, later. I said 'bunt.'"
Green may feel the feuding and the fussing will keep the team from thinking about the pressure at hand. So far. his ploy seems to be working.
If Phils win, ticket sale starts today
PHILADELPHIA – If the Phillies clinch the National League Eastern Division title this afternoon in Montreal, tickets for the playoff games will be on sale immediately following today's game at the advance windows here at Veterans Stadium.
Reserved tickets for the first two playoff games, slated for here Tuesday and Wednesday night at 8:15, will be $10. Ticket office windows will be open until 11 o'clock tonight, tomorrow and Monday. The windows will open at 9 a.m. tomorrow and Monday.
Tickets will also be available in the Girard Bank Lobby here at Broad & Chestnut Sts. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.