Reading Eagle - September 13, 1980
Cardinals Double-Dose Phillies
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – For guys who don’t want to be spoilers, the St. Louis Cardinals are doing a heck of an imitation.
The Cards, one of the major league baseball season’s big disappointments, lowered the boom on the Philadelphia Phillies twice Friday night, 7-4 and 5-0.
The Phillies lost 1½ games in their stretch drive with the Montreal Expos for the National League East title. The Expos beat Pittsburgh 1-0.
The first game was decided on the booming bat of Leon “Bull” Durham, who in the fifth inning lofted an opposite-field bases-loaded home run that eventually turned out to be the difference.
In the second game, a lanky rookie making his major league debut, Al Olmsted, shut the Phillies down without a run for 9-1/3 innings before being relieved. The Cards erupted for five in the 11th, Tony Scott’s single delivering the winning run,and Keith Hernandez’ triple scoring three more.
“I don’t like that word spoilers,” said Cards’ interim manager Red Schoendienst. “All we’re trying to do is play good ball.
Ted Simmons, the veteran catcher, also tried to avoid the word “spoilers.”
Simmons admitted, however, that it’s all the Cards have left this season.
“I don’t like to be a spoiler, but that’s all I can be. But it doesn’t matter what the standings are, we play to win.”
Phillies’ manager Dallas Green described the double dose as very discouraging, but wasn’t ready to take the gas pipe.
“We can’t look in the mirror and be very proud of what we did. But it’s not the end of the world. The sun will come up tomorrow. We’ll play another game.”
The Phillies lost the second game when Ken Reitz led off the 11th with a double. He reached third as relief pitcher John Littlefield’s pop bunt was botched by third baseman Mike Schmidt for an error.
After Ken Oberkfell walked to load the bases, Scott singled to snap the scoreless tie. Hernandez then tripled home three, and scored on George Hendrick’s single.
The Cards built a 7-0 lead in the opener with two in the first on RBI hits by Simmons and Hendrick, the outfielder’s 100th run driven in this season. They added another in the fourth on Durham’s single, a stolen base, infield out and sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, a single and pair of walks loaded the bases and Durham unloaded them with his eighth homer of the season.
The Phillies came back against an old nemesis, Pete Vukovich, to socre four. Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose each delivered a run, but it was too little too late.
Vukovich beat the Phillies for the third time in four decisions this season and is 8-3 against them lifetime. He was asked why he had such good fortune against Philadelphia.
“No reason whatsoever,” Vukovich began. “They’re a good club with good hitters. My defense always seems to play well, and seven runs is a lot of runs. But I can’t pinpoint anything in particular.”
Then he pinpointed something.
“I’ll tell you one thing. I don’t appreciate being called a run-of-the-mill everyday pitcher by Dallas Green. What’s he, in the Hall of Fame?” Vukovich asked. “When I hear a manager come down hard and shoot off his mouth, I’m going to do my best to beat his team.”
Durham described his big home run.
“He (reliever Warren Brusstar) was throwing a good sinker. I just wanted to hit the ball somewhere, just get wood on it. He gave me two good sinkers, but the homer was off a fastball outside,” Durham recalled.
Olmsted, who pitched this season at Arkansas and Springfield, said he thought he would be nervous in his major league debut, but if he was he could have fooled the Phillies. He showed fine control, and used a screwball as his main out pitch. He didn’t get the victory. Littlefield got that. But the Cards couldn’t have won that second game without the cool rookie.
The Phillies lost a big chance to win the second game in the 10th when Lonnie Smith walked with one out, stole second and continued to third as Simmons threw the ball into center field for an error.
John Littlefield, however, bailed out, by intentionally walking Schmidt and getting Luzinski to hit into a double play.