New York Daily News - September 11, 1980

Phil rookie sends Mets to 11th loss in row 5-0


By Bill Madden


In their role of obliging losers to one and all down the September stretch, the Mets sank, to new lows of futility Wednesday night while providing the Phillies a shot in their depleted arms and rookie Marty Bystrom the dream of a lifetime.


Bystrom, a 22-year-old righthander who was given his first major-league start because of a groin injury to Larry Christenson, shut the Mets out 5-0 on five hits to keep the Phillies just a half-game back of the Expos in the NL East pennant chase. It was the Mets' 11th straight loss and you have to go all the way back to June 13, 1965 to find the last time they did that, and the shutout extended their scoreless-inning streak to 20. You have to go back to the seventh inning in San Diego last Sunday to find their last run.


"Obviously," said Joe Torre, "we need a spark. Something's gotta happen. I'll probably have some sort of lineup change if for nothing else a psychological thing. You can't pack your bags and go home, but it's tough to see anything positive after two straight shutouts."


TORRE DID NOT want to take anything away from Bystrom, whose only other major-league appearance was a one-inning relief stint Sunday against the Dodgers. Nevertheless, as well and as poised as the rookie pitched, the Mets did not offer much resistance. Of their five hits – all singles – only two were out of the infield and never did they manage any more than one hit in an inning.


Still, it was an inspiring performance even against the Mets since this is a pennant race and the Phillies are definitely in it. And if they are to win it, Bystrom undoubtedly will be called upon for further heroics since the Phillies right now can claim only three other healthy and effective starters in Steve Carlton, Dick Ruthven and Bob Walk.


"The first time out there as a starter is always a hairy, helluva feeling," admitted Phillies' manager Dallas Green. "But he (Bystrom) truthfully pitched like I knew he could pitch." And fortunately, the Phillies gave the youngster an immediate three-run cushion.


THE MEAGER CROWD of 6,748 (smallest since June 3) who had come in hopes of seeing the Mets snap out of their losing and scoreless ways, had much of the suspense removed in the first inning when the Phillies teed off on Mark Bomback for four hits and three runs.


Pete Rose, who came into the game collared with an 0-for-10 and 1-for-15 slump, led it off with a double to left and was promptly driven home by Bake McBride's single to center. Bomback was able to get Mike Schmidt on an infield groundout, but Greg Luzinski rocked him again with a liner just inside the third-base line that went for a double and scored McBride. After Manny Trillo tapped out to Bomback, Garry Maddox completed the first-inning scoring with a single to center on the first delivery from Bomback.


About all that was left for the crowd to ponder now was whether the Mets would score. Not a whole lot remained around until the end to find out.


"If there was anything positive," said Torre, "I guess you could say it was the pitching. Bomback pitched well after the first inning and (Roy) Jackson did okay."


"It was a lack of concentration on my part in the first inning," said Bomback, who departed for a pinchhitter after five innings. "I was too concerned with my windup. Once the second inning started I was able to relax and forget what had happened. But right now, our pitching can't afford to be giving up runs early because we need to get a lead for a change.”