Camden Courier-Post - September 13, 1980

Phils lose two, fall 2 behind


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


PHILADELPHIA – One team is a contender in the midst of a scorching September pennant race. The other is a club with nowhere to go but home.


The trouble is, it was difficult to determine just which team was which after the St. Louis Cardinals, 15 games under .500 and nearly as many out of first place, handed the Phillies, 13 games over .500 and a fraction out of first place, a damaging, 7-4, 5-0, doubleheader defeat before 44,093 fans in Veterans Stadium last night.


The doubleheader loss, combined with first-place Montreal's 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh, puts the Phillies two full games behind the Expos in the National League East Division standings.


A failing common to both games was the Phillies' bullpen – with the notable exception of lefthander Tug McGraw, who pitched three perfect innings in relief of Nino Espinosa in the second game.


Just how badly the bullpen malfunctioned can be seen by glancing at boxscores. Relievers Dickie Noles, Warren Brusstar, Ron Reed and Randy Lerch combined to allow eight earned runs and ten hits in four innings.


St. Louis leftfielder Leon Durham hit his first major-league grand slam off Brusstar after the Cardinals had loaded the bases against Noles with one out in the fifth inning of the first game. Durham, a lefthander, sliced his shot just inside the left-field foul pole after Brusstar had fanned George Hendrick for the second out.


And in the second game, after the offense had been disconnected by lefthander Al Olmsted in his first big-league game, Reed, Lerch and Brusstar conspired to permit the Cards five runs in the top of the 11th inning.


Actually, the runs that scored in the 11th were not entirely the fault of the pitchers. Reed did allow Ken Reitz a leadoff double, but John Littlefield, who got the win in relief of Olmsted, popped up a bunt attempt.


Third baseman Mike Schmidt and catcher Bob Boone converged on the ball, and the charging Schmidt gloved it But Schmidt brushed Boone and the ball popped loose for an error.


"I prefer the catcher to make that play," said Manager Dallas Green. "It was a lousy bunt that turned out great for them."


Reed threw two straight balls to lefthander Ken Oberkfell, prompting Green to bring Lerch into the no-out, first-and-third jam. Lerch completed the walk, then gave up a base hit to center fielder Tony Scott, who made his first error of the season in the first game. Keith Hernandez followed with a three-run triple to turn what had been a tight pitching duel into a rout.


The Phillies, who left 21 runners on base in the two games, had excellent opportunities to score in five of the last six innings. In fact, it looked like they had the game won in the 10th when Lonnie Smith walked, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Ted Simmons with one out.


Ex-Phillie Jim Kaat, who had relieved Olmsted after Smith walked, semi-intentionally walked Pete Rose. Littlefield entered the game and walked Schmidt intentionally to load the bases for Greg Luzinski.


Luzinski, who had struck but with runners on second and third in the sixth, made Cardinal Manager Red Schoendienst look like a genius by bouncing a perfect double-play ball to shortstop Tommy Herr.


"The Bull," said Green, "has hit a lot of line drives for us, especially lately."


The Phillies were more direct in their approach to losing the opener. Rookie righthander Bob Walk, after spotting St. Louis a 3-0 lead, had to leave the game with a contusion of his left calf. Walk was injured in the fourth when he was hit by a ball off the bat of winning pitcher Pete Vuckovich.


Noles started the fifth, sandwiching an out between a single to Oberkfell and walks to Hernandez and Simmons. That's when Green brought in Brusstar, who blew Hendrick away with a 1-2 pitch, then got two quick strikes on Durham. Brusstar wasted his next pitch, Durham fouled one off, then Brusstar gave Durham a sinker on the outside part of the plate. Except it didn't sink, Durham lifting it into the left-field bullpen for a home run that gave the Cards a 7-0 lead.


"Dickie should have shut them down... He didn't," said Green. "If we get out of the inning with only one or two runs, it's a different ballgame. And, the way he (Brusstar) was throwing, it looked like we were out of it with none.”


PHIL UPS – Pete Vukovich now is 3-1 this season, 8-3 lifetime, against the Phillies... Cardinals may not be in a pennant race, but they easily lead the league in managers... They've had four. Ken Boyer, for whom they went 18-33; Jack Krol (0-1); Whitey Herzog (38-35) and Red Schoendienst (7-8 going into last night second game). Bake McBride's 2-for-3 in the first game gave him 10 hits in his last 15 at bats (.667)... Phils had reached 13 games above .500 for the first time this season prior to the doubleheader... Rookie lefthander Mark Davis made his major league debut in the first game, hurling two innings of no-hit relief... Phillies fans may well be seeing more of the 19-year-old Davis in the coming weeks Manny Trillo 's prolonged slump reached 2-for-40... His only hit last night was a bunt single in the second game... Green had a hit-and-run backfire in the eighth inning of the second game when the Cards stole the signal and pitched out... Rose was the baserunner and an easy out at second... Schmidt, the hitter, eventually singled and was followed by Luzinski, who also singled... Luzinski made several superb defensive plays in left, helping Espinosa leave the second game after seven inning with a four-hit shutout.. Walk may miss his next turn because of the injury... The three NL East contenders went into last night with the following records since Sept. 3: Phillies, 5-3; Expos, 6-1; Pirates, 2-5... Series with Cardinals continues tonight with Steve Carlton opposing Bob Forsch.