Montreal Gazette - October 4, 1980
Expos one defeat away from elimination
Philadelphia Phillies took a one-game lead in the National League East race here last night when they nipped the Expos 2-1.
The Phillies can clinch the Division title by winning one of the two remaining weekend games.
Expos, on the other hand, must win both this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon to win. their first title of any kind.
The 57,121 fans, fourth largest crowd in Expos' history, gave their favorites a rousing 2½ minute standing ovation when they took to the field.
However, the Phillies quieted them quickly as Pete Rose and Bake McBride opened with a single and a double on Scott Sanderson's first, three pitches.
The Phillies scored once in that inning and again on Mike Schmidt's major league leading 47th home run in the sixth inning. The home run tied the all time major league mark for home runs by a third baseman. Eddie Matthews hit 47 in 1957 with the Milwaukee Braves.
Dick Ruthven went 5⅔ innings to gain his 17th win of the season while Sanderson suffered his 11th loss in 27 decisions.
Tug McGraw finished for the Phillies and earned his 20th save as he struck out five while facing just six men in the final two innings.
Pete Rose silenced the fans quickly when he bounced a single up the middle. Bake McBride followed with a looping double to left and the place was like a morgue.
Mike Schmidt flied to medium right and increased his league-leading runs-batted-in total to 118 when Rose scored easily on the play. Sanderson struck out Luzinski and Unser.
Ruthven started strongly with Jerry White popping to the catcher and Rodney Scott looking at a third strike. Rowland Office singled and Andre Dawson walked.
The fans stood and cheered the scoreboard announcement that Gary Carter was both the National League and Expos' player of the month for September. Then Carter gave the fans a huge thrill as he lined two balls with home run distance just foul before finally flying out on Ruthven's 12th pitch to him.
Recovers in time
After the Phillies went down in order in the second, Chris Speier singled with two away for the Expos. Ruthven lost Sanderson's bouncer to the mound but recovered in time to make the out at first.
The Phillies had a chance again in the third when Rose singled with one away, stole second and went to third on Schmidt's infield single. Scott saved a run by stopping the ball which went past Speier. The Phillies then tried a double steal but Carter played it perfectly and eventually ran down Rose.
Scott walked with one away in the Expos' third but was caught stealing. Office flied out.
Both sides went down in order in the fourth.
Expos gave the Phillies a golden opportunity in the fifth. Larry Bowa singled to left and then White's throw into the infield skipped past cutoff man Speier and Scott, with Bowa winding up at third with nobody out.
Bounces to third
Boone bounced to third and then on an 0-2 pitch, Ruthven missed the bunt on a squeeze. Carter ran down Bowa. Ruthven then singled to right but Rose lined to short.
Expos went down one-two-three.
With one out in the sixth, Schmidt hit a towering home run to left. It was the major league-leading 47th home run of the season for Schmidt The home run equalled the major league record for third basemen in a season. The mark was set by Eddie Matthews with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957.
Expos cut the deficit in half in their sixth. White doubled to right and Scott walked. Office sacrificed the runners ahead and White scored on Dawson's liner to centre.
Trillo singled to lead off the seventh but was thrown out by Carter as Bowa tried to sacrifice. Boone hit into a third-second-first double play.
Queen group invited here if Expos make it to Series
If the Expos become the kings of baseball, they may have Queen to help them celebrate.
According to Warren Cromartie, local music promoter Donald K. Donald is sending a telegram to the rock group Queen, asking it to perform its hit and the Expos' unofficial theme song – "Another One Bites the Dust" – if the team reaches the World Series.
Considering the nature of their three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies, maybe the Expos will settle for Meatloaf’s "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."
• • •
The Ron LeFlore-Ellis Valentine update:
Expo manager Dick Williams said there's a 90 per cent chance LeFlore will be kept on the 25-man roster should the team reach the playoff, even though the cast on his left wrist is not scheduled to be removed until next Friday.
"If things go as we hope," Williams said, "Ron will be a pinch-runner during the championship series, and maybe we could use him hitting lead-off as a DH in the World Series."
Williams, who appeared annoyed when Valentine did not take the field with the rest of the players during pre-game workouts, said he doubts Valentine will be available unless his ex-right fielder makes rapid progress in the batting cage.
• • •
The Yankees may have Cary Grant and Robert Merrill and the Dodgers may have Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles, but the Expos have Donald Sutherland as their designated star.
Sutherland, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce in the movie MASH, has been sending the Expos congratulatory telegrams almost daily for the past three weeks.
But Williams' favorite telegram comes from a student in Ontario.
"The telegram said, 'Please win it Friday and Saturday because I have to study for my exams Sunday,' " Williams said. "I just wonder if he didn't send the same one to Phillie manager Dallas Grren."
• • •
Bob Boone, who has been shuffled back and forth the entire week, regained his starting batcher's role last night even though rookie Keith Moreland had driven in the go-ahead run in the Phillie win Thursday against the Cubs.
Boone had two hits Wednesday, snapping an 0-for-18 streak, although Moreland had started two previous games at the Olympic Stadium this season, going four-for-nine with two home runs.
• • •
More than 225 members of the media, including representatives from most major Eastern papers, were accredited for the game last night. Also watching were Chub Feeney, National League president, and league umpire supervisor Blake Cullen.
• • •
Prior to the game last night, the only time the Phillies had beaten Sanderson in six decisions came in relief last August on a home run by, you guessed it, Garry Maddox.