Galveston Daily News - October 8, 1980
Carlton continues Phillies magic 3-1
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) – Greg Luzinski, benched in the stretch because of hitting woes, crash a two-run homer in the sixth inning Tuesday night, rallying the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the first game of the National League playoffs.
The Astros, making their first ever appearance in the playoffs, will attempt to even the best of five series Wednesday night in game two, with the teams then switching to the Astrodome Friday night.
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 postseason 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.
With the homer, Luzinski extended his playoff hitting streak to 12 games. It was his fifth playoff homer, tying him with Johnny Bench for second place in NL history. Only Steve Garvey, with six, has hit more.
But late in the season Luzinski, a 29-year-old native of Chicago, has not been hitting up to that standard.
In fact, at one point he was 5-for- 39, including 15 strikeouts. In the last week of the season, a week in which the Phillies won six of seven games in their dirve to the East title, he was benched twice in Chicago.
But he played the next four games and hit a home run in his first game back. And in the playoff opener, he continued to regain his form.
With the Astros leading 1-0 and the crowd of 65,277 remembering only too well that Philadelphia has failed in three previous playoff appearances, the Phillies turned it on in the sixth.
Pete Rose, a sparkplug for five Cincinnati pennant-winners, responded by beating out a grounder to short.
The crowd quieted considerably watching Bake McBride strike out and Mike Schmidt fly to center. Then Luzinski, made to look feeble in his first two at-bats, with a strikeout and a pop-out, crashed a 32 fastball by Forsch well over the fence in left-center field.
Now it’s up to Pete Rose to do his part for Philadelphia Phillies
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) – Pete Rose loves to tease people.
For two years now, or ever since he turned his back on more money from Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Kansas City to sign as a free agent with Philadelphia, he has been teasing guys like Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Mike Schmidt and Garry Maddox.
"Just get me in the playoffs and I'll take over from there," he has been telling them.
They did their part by getting the Phillies into the playoffs with the Houston Astros. Now it's up to Rose to do his, and when it comes to something like the playoffs, he has a way of taking charge of them the same way Reggie Jackson, Mr. October, does the World Series.
"I'm ready," Rose bubbled Monday.
Not only did he say it but he showed it as well with plenty of bounce and enthusiasm during the workout at Veterans Stadium where he and the other Phillies were getting ready for tonight's playoff opener with the Astros.
"I feel great and I'm swinging good right now," he said between turns in the batting cage. "I was 7-for-11 against Montreal over the weekend. It's been a long time since I last was in a playoff, four years ago, but I haven't forgotten what they're like. This is one of the reasons I selected this club to sign with two years ago. I wanna play good in the playoffs. I wanna contribute."
This is Rose's sixth playoff, and if past performances mean anything, Houston's pitchers shpuld have a bigger problem with him than anybody else among the Phillies.
For one thing, Rose's 31 hits in the five previous playoffs he's been in with the Reds constitute a National League record.
Look at the way he performed in those playoffs.
He hit only .321 against the Pirates in 1970, but then batted .450 against them two years later. Rose massaged Met pitchers at a .381 clip in the 1973 playoffs, hit .357 against the Pirates in 1975 and helped the Reds sweep three in a row from the Phillies with his .429 figure in 1976. Overall, he has hit .378 in the playoffs.
For another thing, Rose is the youngest 39-year-old you ever saw. Age may have caught up with Muhammad Ali, but it hasn't with Pete Rose yet.
"Everybody just waits for you to get old," he frowned. "I'm 39, but I haven't missed a game in a Phillies uniform yet. I played in all 163 games last year and every one of the 162 games this year.
"People ask me what happened this year because I hit only .282 compared to .331 last year. They don't take into account I batted in more runs this year than last; had more game-winning hits; more doubles; more runs scored and made three less errors. The only thing was I had less hits and less walks than last year, but my 185 hits this season still were fifth best in the league."
You never see Pete Rose pessimistic. He feels the Phillies will beat the Astros and then do the same thing against the American League entry in the World Series.
"This team has so many things going for them right now, it's scary," he said. "Our pitching is just the way we want it. The best pitcher in the league (Steve Carlton) will be going for us against Houston with six days rest. That's one plus.
"Another one you may think is a small thing, but the Astros will have to fly clear across the country to the East coast after coming off that tough four-game series they had with the Dodgers. That has to take something out of you, particularly when you have to go right into another series like this one. And we have the right guys swinging the bat right now. Schmidt, (Bake) McBride and myself."
What about the "dissension" among the Phillies?
"Sure, there's some stuff going on here," Rose conceded, "but what people don't realize is that we're not bickering among ourselves. When a ballplayer doesn't get along with a writer or has a differences of opinion with the manager, that isn't what I call 'dissension.'
"The fans here got on Bowa last week. That was because of something that was written in the paper, too. But you should have seen the way it turned him on. It actually made him play better.
"The players on this team do care for each other," Rose insisted. "This club does have emotion. You should've seen the way these guys hugged and kissed each other after they beat Montreal for the division title. That didn't look like any 'dissension' to me."
One of the first things Rose did Monday morning was call his old Cincinnati buddy, Joe Morgan of the Astros, before their game with the Dodgers.
"I called him to wish him good luck," Rose said. "I told him, 'You go beat 'em today, and we got Carlton waiting for you tomorrow.