Chicago Daily Herald - October 9, 1980
Astros Beat Phils In 10th
By the United Press International
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — Jose Cruz could likely walk down the street on virtually any baseball town in the country and pass unrecognized. On the field, however, opponents know him only too well.
The unheralded power source of the Houston Astros singled in two runs Wednesday night, including one to ignite a four-run 10th inning that enabled the Astros to even their National League playoff series against Philadelphia at one game apiece with a 7-4 victory over the Phillies.
Cruz, who labors quietly out of the limelight in Houston and apparently prefers it that way, singled home Terry Puhl in the 10th to start the four-run burst.
BILL VIRDON, true to the tradition of baseball managers, refused to agree his team is now in good position.
"When we go home, we play well," said the Houston manager. "I came here for a win but I wanted it to be the first one so we had a chance to win two. It's a pleasure to be going home.
"I don't feel you're ever in the driver's seat when you're playing a good major league ball club and Philadelphia is a good major league ball club. We won. We were ahead when the game was over. The game goes in the right column."
Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green also appeared to be unfazed by the fact his team must now win two out of three games in enemy territory.
"We were in the same position in Montreal and we didn't do too bad up there," said Green, referring to the series last weekend in which Philadelphia took two of three to clinch the NL East. '
"We had a chance to win the game but we did not. We'll get them down there. I thought we were going to win the game and we didn't. We were 9-3 against them on the year, so we had to beat them down there somewhere along the line."
The best-of-five series switches Friday afternoon to Houston, where all remaining games will be played. Philadelphia won four of the six games between the team during the regular season in the Astrodome. Larry Christenson will pitch for the Phils against knuckleballer Joe Niekro.
A playoff-record crowd of 65,476 watched Cruz drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to give Houston a 3-2 lead and then bounce a single through the right side of the infield to deliver Puhl in the 10th for a 4-3 lead.
PUHL LED off the 10th with his third hit of the game, a sharp single to right, and was sacrificed to second by Enos Cabell. Joe Morgan was intentionally walked and Cruz, a 33-year-old native of Arroyo, Puerto Rico, delivered Puhl. Morgan took third on the throw to the plate and Cruz went to second when right fielder Bake McBride's throw, eluded catcher Bob Boone.
After Rafael Landestoy ran for Morgan, Cesar Cedeno produced an insurance run by hitting a fielder's choice grounder to Larry Bowa, who failed in an attempt to get Landestoy at the plate. Kevin Saucier then replaced Reed and allowed a two-run triple to Dave Bergman.
The Philadelphia fans, knowing only too well that the Phillies have never won a postseason series and must now win 2-of-3 in Houston, began leaving by the thousands.
FRANK LACORTE, the fourth Houston pitcher, worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth but was taken out with none out in the 10th after the first two runners reached base and be went 2-0 on pinch-hitter George Vukovich. Joaquin Andujar came on to get the final three outs to preserve LaCorte's victory. Philadelphia's fourth run scored in the inning of a throwing error by shortstop Craig Reynolds. Ron Reed, the third of four Philadelphia pitchers, took the loss.
The Phils tied the score 3-3 in the eighth with Garry Maddox singling in the tying run. Greg Luzinski led off with a single and pinch-runner Lonnie Smith moved to second on Manny Trillo's second sacrifice of the game.
MADDOX THEN lined a single to center to score Smith. Houston snapped a 2-2 tie in the top of the eighth, giving reliever Tug McGraw his first rough outing since the beginning of September. Morgan, revitalized by an injection into his aching left knee, lined a double to rightcenter and Cruz delivered him with a single.
After its first seven batters went out in order, Houston reached starter Dick Ruthven for a 1-0 lead in the third. Reynolds walked on four pitches and moved to second on pitcher Nolan Ryan's sacrifice. Puhl then drove the first pitch into left field for a single to score Reynolds.
Luzinski, the hero of the first game, helped Philadelphia take a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Schmidt led off with a double off the right-field wall and scored when Luzinski, trying to avoid a pitch, accidently sliced the ball down the first-base line for a double. The slugging left fielder, who has now hit safely in each of the 13 playoff games in which he has played, moved to third on Trillo's sacrifice and scored on Maddox's single.
With two out in the seventh, Ruthven made the mistake of walking the opposing pitcher and it allowed Houston to tie the score 2-2. Ryan walked on a 3-2 pitch and scored on Puhl's double to right-center.