Wilmington Evening Journal - September 10, 1980

Phils ‘squeeze’ by Pirates in main event


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – The beer started flowing early and the fists flying about the sixth inning.


The preliminary bout was right above the right field picnic area, as drunken fans tangled with each other and the Vet's security forces.


In the seventh inning, as the Pirates scored twice to take a 4-2 lead against Steve Carlton and the Phillies, the main event shifted to the left-field side, with one bout after another spilling down the steps.


The sight of security guards hotfooting it to the scene of the latest melee was a familiar one last night. And it kept the 43,333 Veterans Stadium fans occupied until the night's scheduled combatants – the Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates – could stage a dramatic, extra-inning show that reeled into the 14th inning, long past Johnny Carson's scheduled starting time on NBC, and ended, fittingly, with a suicide squeeze bunt, and a 5-4 Phillies victory that kept them within a half-game of the Montreal Expos but, more importantly, put them three games ahead of Pittsburgh and four games up in the loss column.


The night's heroes were Mike Schmidt, who batted the Phils back into contention and made several eye-stopping defensive plays; Garry Maddox, whose double started the 14th inning and who slid home with the winning run; and Bob Boone, mashed hand and all, who got down the perfect suicide squeeze bunt that won it.


To say nothing of holding the fort when the Pirates tried to win the game against Ron Reed in the 12th.


Manager Dallas Green didn't know who to praise first, so he went for the ol' team effort.


"This was a very, very satisfying victory for the team," Green said. "That's called grinding it out. I couldn't be prouder right now."


Of his decision to order the squeeze against loser Mark Lee, the seventh Pittsburgh pitcher, Green just shrugged.


"No decision at all," said the manager, who's used the play often. "Larry Bowa got Garry over to third, which was his job, and there was no decision after that. You KNOW we're gonna squeeze... if they pitch to Boonie."


Which the Pirates did. And Boone bunted the first pitch back to Lee, whose throw to catcher Ed Ott hit the backstop on the fly.


Maddox slid through Ott's legs, and was slow getting up after the burly catcher lowered the boom. But once Maddox was up, the joint was jumping. Even the fights, which had also carried over into extra innings, shifting to center field and then back to right, had stopped.


"I guess Dallas was thinking about my hand," said Boone, who waved a right hand with swollen knuckles on the second and third fingers, courtesy of a Dave Parker foul tip in the sixth inning.


"I could swing the bat, I guess, but when he put in the bunt, it was do-or-die. I'm a pretty good bunter. I've squeezed before, though I don't remember when. I thought he (Pirates manager Chuck Tanner) might walk me to set up the double play, but I guess he saw me hit the other four times."


Boone had doubled home the Phils' second run, tying the game 2-2 in the second, but left fielder Lee Lacy lost that ball in the lights. Boone grounded out and hit three infield pops his next four times up.


The successful bunt turned the night-long boobirds into card-carrying members of the Bob Boone Fan Club, but Boone isn't convinced.


"I just got the boobirds off momentarily," he said, adding a half-smile. "I gotta earn it to get 'em off permanently."


It's been a lost season for Boone, who was haunted with thieving baserunners earlier in the season and a pathetic batting average all year long.


Winning, he said, will salve a lot of egos, including his own.


"We gotta win it all," he said. "That's the only satisfaction I'd get from this season. Winning's gonna make up for a lot of things."


Which he declined to mention. But boobirds rank high on the list.


Though the game was decided on a 40-foot bunt, Boone turned in a fine defensive play in the 12th when he, Schmidt and Manny Trillo collaborated on an eye-popping double play that bailed Ron Reed out of trouble.


The Bucs had speedster Matt Alexander at second and Mike Easler at first with one out. Bill Madlock hit a screamer that Schmidt backhanded and gunned to second, forcing Easler. Trillo dropped the ball while getting it out of his glove and Alexander broke for the plate.


Boone saw the imminent collision but stood his ground. Trillo somehow found the ball and fired a bullet to Boone that beat Alexander by several steps. Boone slammed a hard tag into Alexander's head and headed for the dugout as Tanner and Alexander argued Doug Harvey's call.


"I didn't think it was that close," said Boone, "but Harvey told me Alexander got to the plate. I didn't think he did."


He didn't and, two innings later, Boone got Maddox there with a dandy bunt.


"I knew Alexander wasn't going to score," said Green. "Boonie wouldn't open the gates. Schmidty made a play only Schmidty could make, Manny did a helluva job just finding the ball and Boonie, with a crushed hand, just battled like hell. If the play's close, I knew Boonie just wouldn't give in."


The Phillies almost did. Twice. The Pirates took a pair of two-run leads off Steve Carlton, 2-0 in the second on two sacrifice flies and, after the Phils knotted it on Boone's double, 4-2 in the seventh as the Battle of Veterans Stadium raged in the rafters.


The Phils again tied the score in the eighth against Kent Tekulve, who's been hit hard in his last five appearances. Schmidt got the third run home with a triple off the left field fence and Greg Luzinski singled Schmidt home.


The extra-inning dramatics, which included the Bucs' storming of Boone in the 12th and' a Phils' bases-loaded threat in the 13th, made it a night to remember.


Or for the Pirates to forget.


Tanner, of course, tried to downplay any tragedy.


"That was the toughest loss of the year for us," he said, "but we'll ounce back. We've got a long way to go yet. We still play the Phillies again, and we play Montreal. It's not over. We just start tomorrow, that's all."


But since the Pirates have lost 13 pf their last 15 games, tomorrow might seem like a long time off.


The Phillies, who'd lost six straight to Pittsburgh before sweeping this two-game set, were happy that it was the Bucs, not themselves, shaking their heads when the game ended.


"This was a tough game and a big one for our ball club," said Boone. "We fought to come back and we felt very confident. Batting last, the advantage was ours. It was a typical Pirates' game but it's important to get four-up on Pittsburgh in the loss column."


Dallas Green refused several offers to shovel the first load of dirt on the Pirates' coffin.


"The Pirates are in a slump right now," he said, "but it just takes one or two wins to get 'em going. I've said all along that this is gonna be a three-team race and we'll be in it right to the wire. And so will the Pirates."


EXTRA INNINGS – Carlton allowed four earning runs in eight innings, but Pirate starter John Candelaria surrendered just two in seven innings...Tanner said he removed Candelaria because of back problems... Dave Parker left the game in the sixth after his left knee stiffened – and he hit Boone with the foul tip... Pirates used seven pitchers, the Phils four, with Warren Brusstar winning it... Schmidt got his 100th RBI for the fifth time in his eight-year career... Phils left for two-game set in New York this morning... Marty Bystrom makes his first major-league start tonight against the Mets' Mark Bomback... Dick Ruthven vs. Ray Burris tomorrow night... All the Phils' remaining road games will be telecast on Channel 17.

Maddox back from the depths


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – The day after Garry Maddox lost two routine fly balls in the San Diego sun he went to Dallas Green and, apologized. A


fter all, the Phillies' Secretary of Defense is not supposed to butcher easy fly balls. When he does, and it appears he's doing it in nonchalant fashion, he's letting everyone else on the team down.


"I told Dallas I would like to talk to the team, that I would apologize to them," Maddox said. "Dallas told me that wasn't necessary."


A few moments later, however, Player Personnel Director Paul Owens delivered his much-publicized tongue lashing. He singled out Garry Maddox and Larry Bowa for sub-par performances.


That was Sept. 1 in San Francisco, the day after the embarrassing 10-3 loss to the. Padres. When the Phillies took the field against the Giants. Maddox was not in the line-up. He was not in there the next day, or the day after. In the four-game series with the Dodgers that followed three victories in Candlestick Park, Maddox started just twice.


"I thought after I went into his office, things were OK," said Maddox. "Then, he benched me for all those games. I assumed that was because of San Diego, but we had no communication whatsoever."


Maddox, quiet and sensitive at his best, became withdrawn. On the night of Sept. 2 in the sixth inning, Green was preparing to make three defensive changes and when he looked for Maddox, Garry wasn't on the bench.


An inning or so later, he slowly walked from the right-field clubhouse to the dugout, a cup of coffee in his hand.


Friends and teammates who know Maddox well predicted he was finished for the season. If, in fact, Green had given up on the five-time Gold Glove winner, he would become even more withdrawn and not be able to help the team in its quest for the National League Eastern Division title.


They were wrong.


Maddox was back in the line-up on Monday night as the Phils opened their important two-game series with the hated Pittsburgh Pirates. He singled home the tying run in the sixth inning and the Phils went on to crush Pittsburgh 6-2.


Last night, in one of the most exciting games the Phils have played in years, Garry was in the middle of the 5-4, 14-inning triumph that left the Pirates in third place, four games back in the all-important loss column.


Maddox made several brilliant catches in center field, the last on Bill Robinson's sinking liner leading off the 13th.


In the second inning, after the Pirates had stormed to a 2-0 lead against Steve Carlton, the Phils came right back to tie. Maddox doubled over third base and later scored the second run.


But the decisive 14th belonged to Garry Lee Maddox. The Phils had not had a hit since the eighth inning against the Pirate bullpen. Maddox, however, led off the 14th with a screaming double to the gap in left-center, moved to third on Larry Bowa's infield out to the right side and scored on Bob Boone's suicide squeeze.


When Maddox slid between catcher Ed Ott's legs to end the marathon, he set off a war dance by his teammates. Not since the Phils clinched their first division title in 1976 have they showed so much emotion.


"I knew I was not going to be able to slide around Ott; he had the plate blocked too well," said Maddox in the wee hours of this morning. "I decided to go through his legs and when I did, he started to close them. I got the plate, then he came down hard on me. I'm OK.”


When Maddox dropped an easy fly ball in Dodger Stadium in the fourth game of the 1978 playoffs, he stood up and talked about it. He refused to hide or make excuses.


The same is true this time.


"I had never been benched before," he said. "I have been struggling at the plate all season; I have been trying to get my stroke back. When you're in there every day, you can always think ahead to the next at-bat. But when you're on the bench, there's nothing you can do.


"Yes. it bothered me. I am sensitive and did not know how to handle it. We did not communicate."


The Phillies gave Maddox a lucrative, long-term contract this past spring, an estimated $675,000 a year. It contains a no-trade clause for the first four years.


They did it because they know they need Maddox and were fearful of how he would handle the pressures of playing out his option.


"No, I don't think I have been trying too hard this year because of the contract," said Maddox. "If that has been the case, I have been doing it subconsciously. If the fans had been on me or my teammates had been on me, it would have been different. The benching was just a tough thing for me to go through."


There is probably a personality conflict between Maddox and his manager. Green is brash, a yeller and a shouter. You'd have to say his personality is the exact opposite from Garry's. But Green is not without compassion.


"I never worried about losing Garry," said Green. "I recognize his feelings, his sensitivity, and we had two talks about the situation. The most recent was last week in Los Angeles.


"Garry Maddox is a guy who has a lot of pride. He wants to do what the rest of the players do to win ball games, but at times he recognizes he has not helped the team offensively and that has hurt him.


"He takes great pride in his defense and we count on him for that even when he's in a slump at the plate. In San Diego, he failed and that hurt him deeply inside. I told him I had a great deal of faith in his abilities."


Green paused for a moment, choosing his words carefully.


"I told him I am concerned at times about his approach to my managing and thinking when it comes to running the ball club. But I emphasized that it did not bother me to the point of playing or not playing him. I told him he had to show me on the field.


"I sat him down because I thought the days would give him a chance to get his act together mentally. I think he did that well because in the last two games he has shown me what I wanted to see.


"As a hitter, he has worked hard – on his own and with Billy DeMars. He's swinging the bat well right now."


Green then said what everybody else knows.


"To win this thing (division), we need Garry Maddox. Period."