St. Louis Post-Dispatch - September 13, 1980

Olmsted, Durham Help Cards Sweep Phillies


Special to the Post-Dispatch


PHILADELPHIA – Maybe the season ended a while back for the Cardinals, but they're not about to roll over and die... not for anybody.


Last night they went after the Philadelphia Phillies like hungry wolves after a piece of raw meat. The Redbirds ripped and tore, snarled and walked away with a doubleheader sweep, winning the first game, 7-0, and the 11-inning nightcap, 5-0.


It was a costly double jolt for the Phillies in the National League East race.


They did it because Leon (Bull) Durham flexed his muscles, belting an opposite-field grand slam in the first game. And because rookie lefthander Al Olmsted, making his major debut, pitched like a seasoned veteran in the second game.


St. Louisan Olmsted, from Hazelwood East High, pitched 9 innings, allowing just five hits and no runs while striking out two. John Littlefield was credited with the victory in relief.


The twin setbacks dropped the Phillies two games behind the division leading Montreal Expos when they might have gained ground.


"That's all we can do right now," said catcher Ted Simmons of the Cardinals' role as spoilers. "I don't really like to spoil anything, but that's all we can do, play to win."


"I don't like to use that word, spoilers," said interim Manager Red Schoendienst. "We had our chances all year. All we like to do is play well right now.”


That the Cardinals did, to the dismay of a Philadelphia Veterans Stadium crowd of 44,093.


The Redbirds took a quick 1-0 lead in the first game against Phils starter Bob Walk on a leadoff single by Ken Oberkfell and Simmons' two-out RBI single. George Hendrick singled home Simmons to make it 2-0 in the first. This was Hendrick's 100th RBI of the season.


Durham's single, stolen base and Ken Reitz' sacrifice fly gave the Cards a 3-0 advantage in the fourth, but the real damage was done in the fifth when Durham unloaded his first grand slam in the major leagues.


"I hit three in the minor leagues," Durham recalled, "but this was my first up here. It was also my first home run to left field this season, but I heard the ball carries pretty good here."


Durham said Philadelphia reliever Warren Brusstar threw two good sinkers for strikes. "Then he threw me a high fastball away," Durham said. "I didn't even know if it was a strike. I was just looking for something I could make hard contact with."


John Vuckovich did the rest, gaining his 11th victory of the season (against nine defeats) with help from reliever John Urrea in the seventh. Urrea earned his second save.


In the second game, the laurels belonged to Olmsted, 23, and just up from Springfield of the American Association. Olmsted used his screwball and slider almost flawlessly, frustrating the Phillies for 9 innings.


"He was a helluva prospect before he hurt his arm," said Schoendienst, referring to the muscle tear Olmsted suffered two years ago. "Now he's learned to pitch better. He has a screwball and slider. He doesn't overpower you, but he gets the ball where he wants it.


"Freddie Norman stayed in the big leagues a long while with the screwball and slider. This guy's the same way," added Schoendienst.


"I wasn't as nervous as I thought 1 would be," said Olmsted as he received congratulations in the St. Louis clubhouse. "I just wanted to go out and' throw strikes, not embarrass myself."


Olmsted ran into trouble in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but. each time reached back and retired the side without any damage being done.


Schoendienst thought the youngster showed a lot of poise under pressure.


"I did give up a lot of hits," said Olmsted. "I'm used to pitching out of jams. I did it with my fastball and screwball. My curve was OK, but I just showed it to them. The screwball was my out pitch tonight."


The Cardinals took game number two when they scored five runs in the 11th off relievers Ron Reed and Randy Lerch.


Reitz opened with a double and was replaced by pinch-runner Mike Ramsey. Littlefield followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt which third baseman Mike Schmidt played into an error, allowing Ramsey to reach third and Littlefield to be safe at first.


Oberkfell followed with a walk,, filling the bases. Tony Scott singled up the middle to score Ramsey. Keith Hernandez followed with a triple to right-center field, clearing the bases. Hendrick's single scored Hernandez with the fifth run.


All of a sudden the Phillies were two games behind in the NL East title chase.


"It's disgusting, no question about it," said Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green. "I don't think we can look in the mirror and say we're very proud of what we did tonight. But it's not the end of the world. The sun will come up tomorrow...."