Camden Courier-Post - September 10, 1980
Phils squeeze out win over Bucs
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – The clock last night was about to strike midnight, a mystical hour reserved for the unexplained, the unusual, the never before.
It seemed a particularly fitting time for what was to unfold between the Phillies and Pirates, antagonists familiar to anyone caring to glance at the September standings of the National League East. An appropriate time, it seemed, for the resurrection of one team and – perhaps – the burial of another.
On the mound for the Pirates was their seventh pitcher, Mark Lee. At the plate for the Phillies was their eighth hitter, catcher Bob Boone. Garry Maddox was on third. There was one out in the 14th inning.
LEE LET go of a fastball that Boone bunted toward the mound as Maddox broke from third. The ball bounced slowly toward the Pirate pitcher, who fielded and fired toward the plate. But his throw sailed past catcher Ed Ott as Maddox slid safely home to give the Phillies a 5-4 win, easily their most dramatic, not to mention important, of the season.
It kept the Phillies a mere one-half game behind first-place Montreal in the East and, at the same time, sent the slumping Pirates (13 losses in their last 15 games) a full four games off the pace in the loss column.
"It was a tough game, an important one for both clubs," said Boone. "We're excited to come back the way we did against some tough relievers. Of course, the advantage was ours hitting in the bottom of the inning. To get in front of Pittsburgh by four in the loss column is real important for us."
BOONE EMERGED as the central figure of a drama in which several members of the cast deserved applause from the 43,333 combative fans in Veterans Stadium. Third baseman Mike Schmidt, for instance, turned in a couple of splendid defensive plays while tripling in one run and scoring the tying run in the eighth. Greg Luzinski, who beat the Pirates with a clutch base hit on Monday, again delivered with a single in the eighth that made it 4-4 and got lefthander Steve Carlton off the hook.
Maddox was the guy who set the stage for Boone by opening the 14th with a double to left-center field. And Larry Bowa, failing twice to bunt Maddox to third, nevertheless moved him over with a ground ball to the right side of the infield.
"The big hit was Garry getting on," said Boone. "And Bowa was bunting in a tough situation (the Pirates were using a rotation play). They're big plays I don't think you can overlook in that situation."
BOONE PERHAPS was being overly modest. He had, after all, caught the final eight innings with a right hand swollen and sore from a foul tip off the bat of Dave Parker. And Boone had, after all, prevented Pirate pinch runner Matt Alexander from scoring with a roadblock tag in the 12th.
"Boonie's got a crushed hand and 'he's still in there battling like the devil," marveled Manager Dallas Green. "It's (Boone's hand) about twice (its normal) size now. Seg (trainer Don Seger) says there are no bones broken and he (Boone) can withstand pain as well as anyone. Don't sell Boonie short."
The condition of Boone's hand was on Green's mind as the Phils came to bat in the 14th. In fact, as the inning began. Green turned to Coach Bobby Wine and said, "If we get to Boonie, we're squeezing. It's just a matter of what pitch."
AS IT turned out, it was the first pitch. "I was just trying to get it down," said Boone. I know I got a lot of speed on third base. I would have liked to have gotten it out farther and make it easier on Garry. I guess that's what you get for being I fast.
"I got the signal from third base when I got up there. I think he (Green) was thinking about my hand when he put it on. It's do-or-die. I'm a pretty good bunter. I thought they might walk me to set up the double play, but I guess they saw me swing the other four times."
No less vital than the run Boone scored with his bunt was the run he helped prevent in the 12th, the inning in which this game turned.
RON REED was in the first of his two innings of work when Tim Foli beat out a one-out single to deep shortstop. Pirate Manager Chuck Tanner immediately replaced Foli with Alexander, the Bucs' designated sprinter. Alexander, who has only three at bats this season, stole second, and Reed intentionally walked Mike Easier.
Bill Madlock followed with a tough ground ball to the right of Schmidt, who in the ninth had made a stunning, over-the-shoulder catch of an Ott foul ball. Schmidt back-handed and got his throw to second baseman Manny Trillo in time to force a hard sliding Easier.
Trillo had to leap to get out of Easler's path and, as he jumped, lost the ball. But Trillo recovered the ball and fired home to just nail Alexander.
"I REALLY didn't feel it was as close as they made out," said Boone. "I saw the replay and it seemed he didn't get there. But (home plate I umpire) Doug Harvey told me he got to the plate. That kind of surprised me."
Added an effusive Green: "I knew he was not going to score. I knew Boonie was not going to open the gates."
PHIL UPS – Warren Brusstar worked the 14th to get the win... Schmidt's run-scoring double in the eighth gave him 100 RBIs for the season... It's the fifth time in his career be has driven in at least 100 runs... Marty Bystrom makes his major league debut against Mark Bomback tonight in New York.
Youngsters have put Phils into a ‘2nd season’
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – It has been a long time since the Phillies allowed themselves the luxury of letting their emotions and expectations truly soar. The last time they did it they were left with shattered spirits, damaged confidence and fear that if they tried to regain the common bond of emotionalism, they might once again see the dreadful disappointment in each other's eyes.
Now a tidal wave of youthful exuberance has toppled the wall that ran through the clubhouse like an invisible maze, washing away guarded egos and cautious thinking. And, like the members of a family that never said "I love you," the Phils are finally and joyously hearing what they never thought they'd hear again.
Garry Maddox heard it last night as he went to the bat rack during the 14th inning of a baseball blockbuster that had 43,333 fans at Veterans Stadium riveted to their seats as the 4-4 deadlock with the Pittsburgh Pirates moved to a conclusion.
"We've been a low-key team for as long as I can remember,' said Garry. "But, it isn't now. We're excited. We've been getting help from the kids on the bench, and their excitement has been contagious."
Maddox, who would rip a double into the gap in left-center field, advance to third base on Larry Bowa's well-executed grounder and score the winning run in a most fitting way, sliding home in a cloud of dust on Bob Boone's suicide squeeze bunt, remembers different times.
"You'd sit on the bench and nothing was happening (in the dugout) and it was easy to get into like a mental lull," he explained. "But, with these guys yelling and screaming all the time, it keeps you in the game. And, you say to yourself that if the others guys are doing it, you're going to root, too."
The Pirates have traditionally been the backslapping, cheering, fun-loving gang of cockeyed optimists in the National League's Eastern Division. Yet, it was the "Fam-i-lee", with its struggling bullpen and injured stars, who played witness to the mounting passion of the Phillies for the second straight evening.
"Everybody is pulling together," said slugger Greg Luzinski. "We've scuffled for a long time. But, more and more, guys are getting the feeling that we can win it all.
"This is a Pirate team that was 10-4 against us coming into this series. Beating San Francisco in their park, where they always give us trouble, was a lift for us. But, we knew the fans were leery about what seemed to be happening. That's why this was so important to us."
Luzinski is not alone in his belief that the 1980 season is already over, at least statistically. And that a much different Phillies team has already begun a second season that he explained by saying, "My feeling is, let's win this sucker and make it our year."
The Bull drove in the winning run during Monday night's victory over the Bucs. And, with the Pirates winning 4-3 in the eighth inning last night, he stepped to the plate with two away and Mike Schmidt on third base and cracked the single that would send the game into extra innings.
He smiled when he thought of how his teammates can't seem to wait nowadays to rush onto the field with congratulations. And, in their exuberance, the team keeps improving its performance.
"What a super game!" said Luzinski. "We got great relief pitching. When the pressure was on they really executed. And, some guys who were struggling at the plate got big hits."
It would be a mistake to think that there is no relationship between the club's improved play and the radical change in atmopshere that is taking place within the Phillies family.
The ironic part is that the September arrival of the youngsters from the minor leagues has not only bolstered the bench, but has also rekindled the fire of youngsters like Keith Moreland.
“It's true," said the kid from Texas. "The rest of the guys (from the minors) show up and start talking it up... you remember what it was like and it carries you away.
"My job here is to scream my butt Off and to help whenever possible. This stuff about these guys (veterans) not caring is a farce! You should see them.
"Just being here is meaningful. Can you imagine what it's like for rookies to finally get here and see a chance to go to the World Series? Heck, young guys will carry on automatically. They need the money.
“But seriously, this is what we've dreamed about since we were kids. You bet we're excited."
Obviously, the Phils never planned to start wearing their hearts on their sleeves once more. Relying on talent and fate was so much simpler and safer than hopping on a bandwagon of emotion.
The kids left them no choice, however. They just started the fun and suddenly, no one wanted to remain a wallflower. A little happiness is sure going a long way.
"I know I like to have excitement Coming from the other guys when I'm hitting," explained Moreland. "It somehow gets your bat moving quicker."
Now that's a statement worth cheering about. And, they are.
Defeat crushing to proud Pirates
By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post
PHILADELPHIA – As uplifting as last night's 5-4 win was for the Phillies, so was the loss crushing for the Pirates.
The defending world champions watched their bullpen blow a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, saw the go-ahead run nailed at the plate in the 12th, and stood helplessly by as Bob Boone's suicide squeeze bunt beat them in the 14th.
"That was," sighed Manager Chuck Tanner, "our toughest loss of the year."
If the Pirates found it hard to swallow the fact that the Phillies had come from behind to beat them on successive nights, there was reason. The Bucs went into the Veterans Stadium series with a 10-4 record and a six-game winning streak against the Phils.
True, the Pirates were in a slump. They had lost 12 of 14 and 16 of 21 going into last night's game. But losing streaks are something the Bucs have traditionally discarded with a few hits and a couple of renditions of "We Are Family."
By now, however, it's obvious that any song short of the "Lord's Prayer" isn't going to cure what ails the Pirates, who trail the Expos and Phillies by four games in the loss column in the National League East.
Last night they gave the Phillies a gift run that tied the score, 2-2, in the second when leftfielder Lee Lacy lost Boone's two-out line drive in the lights. The ball, which sailed under Lacy's glove, fell for an RBI double.
And in the eighth, after a triple by Lacy, a double by Phil Garner and a single by Omar Moreno gave them a 4-2 lead off Steve Carlton, relievers Grant Jackson and Kent Tekulve permitted the Phils a game-tying rally.
Keith Moreland greeted Jackson with a pinch-hit double to right Two outs later, Tekulve allowed Mike Schmidt to triple off the top of the left field fence and Greg Luzinski to make it 4-4 with a line single to left.
Tekulve, one of the premier relievers in baseball, has fallen on hard times. In his last eight appearances, covering 13⅓ innings, the righthander has allowed 14 hits and 11 runs. Many of the Pirate players feel Tanner should give Tekulve a rest. But Tanner continues to use Tekulve in the perhaps misguided hope that Tekulve will snap out of it.
"No matter what happens," a dejected Ed Ott said after last night's loss, "we'll go down swinging. We'll be there. It ain't over yet. There are a helluva lot of proud guys here..."
To be sure, in the coming weeks fans will get a chance to observe just how much pride the Pirates have left.