New York Daily News - September 12, 1980

Phils hand Mets 12th loss in row


By Bill Madden


After a famine of 24 innings, the Mets finally scored a run Thursday night, but it did not prevent them from going down to their 12th straight loss 5-1 to the Phillies.


The 12 straight losses is the Mets' longest streak of futility since 1963 and the days of Larry Bearnarth, Craig Anderson and Ed Bauta. So, with 22 games remaining, all sorts of incriminating possibilities remain for this sagging Mets' team.


The all-time record of 23 straight losses is coming within their reach as is last place which could be almost theirs if they fail to beat the Cubs over the coming weekend.


THE PHILLIES had managed just three hits until the ninth when they broke the game open against reliever Juan Berenguer with a three-run rally that was highlighted by Del Unser's pinch-RBI double and Pete Rose's two-run single.


Dick Ruthven (15-9) went eight innings for the victory, while Ray Burris, who departed after yielding just three hits and two runs in seven innings, was the hard-luck loser.


Burris had pitched perfect baseball, retiring the first 11 batters he faced, when Mike Schmidt sent a 2-0 pitch high into the Phillies' bullpen in left with two outs in the fourth. The homer was Schmidt's 38th and the RBI his 101st


The Mets, on the other hand, were having slightly more success against Ruthven, but as has been their custom in recent days, they weren't capitalizing.


IN THE FIRST inning, Mookie Wilson led off with a base hit and stole second. It was the Mets' 136th theft of the season, establishing a club record, and it subsequently went to waste.


With Claudell Washington at the plate, Wilson tried stealing third as well and was thrown out by a good three steps. That was unfortunate because after Washington struck out, Alex Trevino singled to center. He was left stranded when Lee Mazzilll filed out to end the inning.


The next inning again had the leadoff Met on base. This time it was Steve Henderson who led off with a walk – only to be thrown out trying to steal second. A pair of infield ground-outs concluded that inning.


Then in the third, after Bill Almon struck out leading off, Burris and Wilson both singled – and were left on base as Washington and Trevino each were struck out by Ruthven.


AT LAST, however, the Mets broke their scoring drought in the fifth after 24 fruitless innings. It was a struggle nevertheless. Wally Backman led off the inning with a walk and Almon moved him up to second with a single to center. But Backman was thrown out at third when Burris' attempted sac bunt came right back to Ruthven. Another single by Wilson – his third straight – looked as if it might score a run except that Almon was held up at third, drawing a loud moan from the paltry crowd. Their patience was rewarded, though, when Joel Youngblood lofted a sac fly to deep right to tie it at 1-1.


But Ruthven personally saw to it that his lead would be restored. He led off the sixth with a looper down the right-field line that went for a double. After Pete Rose advanced him to third with a single to right-center, Ruthven raced home just ahead of Wilson's throw on Bake McBride's sac fly to center.

Mets going down, but they’re giving it a fight


By Bill Madden


When you're losing, losing, losing, and not scoring runs either, you're ready to try anything to snap out of it Wednesday night, Joe Torre said the Mets needed a spark, so Thursday night, Frank Taveras and Joe Pignatano tried their best to provide one.


Prior to the game with the Phillies Thursday night, Pignatano and Taveras engaged in a clubhouse fistfight that took a half dozen players and club officials to break up. The fight began when Pignatano posted the lineup on the clubhouse wall. Taveras, upon passing by and noticing his name was not on it, tore the lineup down and ripped it to pieces.


"What are you doing?" Pignatano demanded, adding an obscenity to his question.


Taveras then charged Pignatano and threw a punch at the bullpen coach. At that point, the Met players lingering in the clubhouse rushed to break it up. However, Taveras broke loose from the grip Doug Flynn had on him and punched Pigantano (who was being held by Joel Youngblood) again. Pignatano later sported a small "mouse" under his right eye.


Ironically, earlier in the day Taveras had decided to drop the appeal of his two-day suspension for bumping umpire Dutch Rennert in Los Angeles Sunday. The suspension is supposed to begin Friday night, but Taveras reportedly told another player that if he didn't play Thursday night, he would never again play for the Mets.


Another touch of irony to the fight was that it marked the second time Pignatano has gotten into a fight with a Mets' shortstop. Back in 1972, he and Tim Foil got into a fight at the clubhouse in St Petersburg during spring training. That fight was touched off over a dispute involving tickets to a hockey game – in Florida.


It could only happen to the Mets: Dissension may cost them fifth place.