Chicago Daily Herald - October 8, 1980
Phils Top Astros
By United Press International
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) - Greg Luzinski may want to forget much of the 1980 season but if he maintains his usual playoff form, the post-season could be something to remember.
"I'm not worried about the season," said Luzinski, who despite being benched late in the season with hitting woes, crashed a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night to rally the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the first game of the National League playoffs.
"I'm always charged up in the playoffs," continued the slugging leftfielder. "I forget the past. I always get charged up for the playoffs and I was charged up tonight."
The Astros will try to even the best-of- five series at one-game apiece Wednesday night with the teams traveling to the Astrodome for the remaining games.
GARRY MADDOX, also benched in the late season but playing despite his dispute with Manager Dallas Green, contributed a single and scored a valuable insurance run in the seventh.
Steve Carlton, despite allowing seven hits and walking three, allowed only one run over seven innings to register Philadelphia's first post-season victory at home since the first game of the 1915 World Series.
Tug McGraw, virtually unhittable down the stretch, relieved in the eighth and overpowered the Astros to gain the save.
Ken Forsch, whose only mistake was the gopher ball to Luzinski, took the loss.
Luzinski credited some late season practice with helping hin gain the form that has made him one of Philadelphia's top playoff performers.
"I took a lot of hiting in Montreal during the rain when I went down in the cage," said Luzinski referring to the rain-delayed game on the last weekend of the season. "I flattened out my swing and made for a quicker approach. The adjustment worked."
LUZINSKI SAID he could not even be sure what pitch he hit for the homer.
"I really don't know," he said. "I hit 19 home runs and almost all of them were with two strikes. I have quick hands and I was really not using my hands during the season."
The home run, naturally, represented a blow to Houston manager Bill Virdon, who said that a long all-night, cross-country flight following a 7-1 victory over Los Angeles in the NL West tie-breaker, had little affect on his team.
"I don't think it had much affect," Virdon said. "I thought they played quite well. We just got beat. We haven't had time to let down. The playoffs take care of themselves as far as getting up is concerned. It was typical championship play."
Philadelphia manager Dallas Green praised Luzinski for gradually returned to the things he does well at the plate.
"He has become more aggressive," Green said. "He's standing in better."
Green also explained why he removed Carlton for Mcgraw in the seventh inning.
"I felt he was sluggish," the manager said. "We got the Chief (McGraw) down there and there's no sense wasting him. It was also an opportuniy to get another run."