Reading Eagle - September 10, 1980
Boone Does Its Again to Pirates
By John W. Smith, Asst. Sports Editor
PHILADELPHIA – Sending Bob Boone to bat against the Pirates, with Garry Maddox on third carrying the winning run, may not be a sure thing.
But it’s a lot safer bet than, say, boarding an airplane with a Cuban refugee.
Bob will get you home safely without any detours.
He scored Maddox with a one-out suicide squeeze in the 14th inning Tuesday night to give the Philadelphia Phillies a thrilling 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh, and keep them a half-game behind Montreal in the Eastern Division pennant chase.
Pittsburgh, rapidly becoming the only emergency area in the commonwealth not caused by a lack of rain, lost for the 13th time in the last 15 games. The Pirates fell three games behind the Phils (four in the loss column).
The last time the Pirates were in Philadelphia, Boone stepped up in the ninth inning of a tie game with Maddox perched on third and one out.
That time Chuck Tanner played it cute with his five-man infield, but Boone found a hole in it on the first pitch.
This time he played it straight. Boone didn’t find any holes with his first-pitch bunt, but on the suicide squeeze all you’ve got to do is get the ball down. Boone did.
And so the Pirates have dug themselves a deeper hold than Ozzie Myers. Presumably Chuck will try the intentional walk next time.
Twice Down by Two
The squeeze climaxed a double comeback by the Phils, who had tied the game at 2-2 with two in the second and 4-4 with two in the eighth.
“Everybody got their money’s worth,” said two-way star Mike Schmidt – “even those who got their rears kicked.” (The security people saw more action than the bullpen late in regulation.)
“We’re not setting the world on fire,” continued Schmidt, “but I don’t care if we do, as long as we keep on winning.”
“It was our toughest loss of the year,” said Tanner, still optimistic, of course.
“This was a very, very satisfying win,” stressed Dallas Green. “That’s called ‘grinding it out.’ I couldn’t be prouder of this team.
“We knew we were gonna squeeze with Boonie; it was just a question of what pitch,” said Dallas, adding that his decision was influenced by the fact that Bob had taken a foul on the back of his right hand early in the game. Bob had popped up on his last three at-bats.
“The squeeze is a gamble anytime,” Dallas continued. “But I just didn’t think they thought we’d squeeze. That play works, and we do it about as good as any team in baseball.” (Tug McGraw worked it for an insurance run in the eighth Monday.)
Maddox opened the 14th with a gap double, and took third when Larry Bowa grounded to first after bunting foul twice. “Give him credit; he got him over,” Green emphasizes.
Because the bunt was right back to reliever Mark Lee, he had a shot at Maddox at the plate. But his hasty throw sailed high and wide of Ed Ott and Maddox slid between Ott’s legs.
“It didn’t really surprise me that he put on the squeeze,” said Boone. “I’ve done that before. But I don’t think the injury affected my swing. It was my stroke which was affecting it.”
Maddox, though, said he was “really shocked” to get the verbal sign from Coach Lee Elia that the squeeze was on. “It took a lot of guts to call it,” Garry felt.
“I just didn’t want to get a big lead; if they had any idea it was on, they would have pitched out,” he stressed.
“He played it just right,” said Green.
Connected in Second
Maddox and Boone also collaborated in the two-run second, when Garry doubled inside third and eventually scored on Boone’s line double which sailed under the glove of a dazed Lee Lacy in left.
It was fitting they should be the pair to close the book on the Bucs, since Boone has been drawing boos for his .227 batting average, and Maddox was unhappy at being benched for five out of six games after his foul-up in San Diego.
“This win makes up for a lot of things,” said Boone.
“This has been the toughest time of my career,” said Maddox softly.
Garry indicated that he would have accepted a rest because he realized he wasn’t producing, but not one of that length right after a problem game. “In another situation I might not have taken it,” said Maddox, without rancor. “But I couldn’t do anything to disrupt this team.”
Fourth Loss for Pen
The Maddox-Boone connection meant that the proud Pirate bullpen suffered its fourth loss in the last five games. Unlike Monday, though, it played to mixed reviews this time.
Yes, ace Kent Tekulve (loser to the Braves on Friday and Sunday, surrender of the clinching hit Monday) was pounded again. He and Buck Jackson each gave up a run in the eighth, A walk in the 13 led to Solomon’s replacement by left Rod Scurry, who was followed by Lee when he hit Bake McBride to load the bases.
Lee got Manny Trillo to escape that jam. But Maddox ended the hit drought at five innings to start the 14th. (Lee, up from the Pacific Coast League, was 5-1 as San Diego reliever in 1978.)
“They ran through their bullpen, but they never give up,” said Schmidt, who picked up his 100th RBI off Tekulve in the eighth, and made three excellent defensive plays.
The Phils had managed just four hits off John Candelaria through seven innings (three in the second). But Jackson was called in to start the eighth and pinch-hitter Keith Moreland greeted him with a double to right.
Just Missed Homer
Two outs later, Tanner went to Tekulve to face Schmidt. Mike missed a homer by a little over a foot, settling for a triple and the gap RBI. Then Greg Luzinski tied the game with a soft line single to left.
“Tekulve’s tough even when he’s struggling,” said Schmidt. “He threw me five straight sliders; the one I hit I didn’t hit good – I got under it. His ball wasn’t breaking as good as it can, and he didn’t throw my any of his sinkers. But Tanner has to keep using him to get him back in game form.”
Meanwhile, the Phils’ bullpen was superb, after Steve Carlton, bidding for No. 22, left for Moreland in the eighth. Dickie Noles allowed two singles in three innings, Ron Reed one in two, and winner Warren Brusstar just a walk in one. McGraw was to have been next.
Double plays helped, after the leadoff walk in the 14th (Ott grounded to Trillo), and especially in the 12th.
Tim Foli got an infield hit with one out in the 12th on a very questionable call at first, and pinch-runner Matt Alexander stole second. Mike Easler was intentionally walked. Schmidt made a backhand stab of Bill Madlock’s shot and got the force at second. Alexander, trying to go all the way home, had a shot because of Trillo’s fumble, but Manny quickly recovered and uncorked a super throw.
The last time Matt Alexander was racing home with the winning run against the Phillies, he reached the plate backwards. Boone made sure he never reached this time.
PHIL-PHILLERS – Lacy doubled to set up two runs for Pittsburgh in the second (both scored on sacrifice flies), and tripled off the top of the center-field fence to start a two-run flurry in the seventh… Bowa’s sacrifice fly scored the Phils’ first run in the second, meaning three SFs in the inning… Dave Parker retired after six innings because his knee stiffened… The Phils had only two runners from the third through the seventh… This is the fifth time Schmidt has reached 100 in RBIs; his high is 116 in 1974… Rookie Marty Bystrom goes tonight in New York because of Christenson’s groin pull.