Camden Courier-Post - September 18, 1980

Win puts Phils 1½ back


Maddox’ speed is key as Pirates bow


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


PITTSBURGH – The Phillies finally did something right in Three Rivers Stadium. It took all of 11 innings and all the swiftness of Garry Maddox, but the Phillies at last defeated the Pirates on their own artificial turf, 5-4.


The Phils are now finished with the Pirates after having gone 2-7 in Three Rivers Stadium and 7-11 overall against the defending world champions. The rare win broke a five-game losing streak and moved the Phils within 1½ games of first-place Montreal in the National League East standings.


"You can damn near give this game to Garry Maddox," said Phillies Manager Dallas Green.


MADDOX BEGAN claiming the game in the 11th, after Steve Carlton had blown a three-run lead in the seventh to send the game into extra innings tied, 4-4. The Phils' fleet center fielder greeted Pirate reliever Kent Tekulve with a single to center. Then, on Green's command, Maddox stole second.


Greg Gross, who entered the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement for left fielder Greg Luzinski and contributed to the evaporation of the lead, grounded back to Tekulve for the inning's first out.


It was then that Maddox decided to take matters into his own hands, or feet, as it were. On his own, Maddox stole third before Bob Boone struck out.


"TEKULVE'S STYLE – the way he drops down to throw – is something he can't alter just because I'm on base," said Maddox. "All I had to do was get as good a jump as I possibly could. I was doing it as an offensive move to help us score a run."


As it turned out, it helped immeasurably. Del Unser, pinchhitting for reliever Tug McGraw, who got the win, followed with a soft line drive that found its way into left field for a hit. Unser later described it as his biggest hit of the season.


Maddox bad performed another bit of artful baserunning in the sixth. After singling and going to third on a single by Larry Bowa. who went 3-for-3 but left the game after the sixth with a pulled hamstring muscle, Maddox stayed in a rundown long enough for the Phillies to come out of it with runners on second and third.


"SIXTEEN TOSSES," said Green of the rundown. "Garry was running (from third) on contact. The worst you can get out of that is first and third, but Garry stayed in long enough to get us second and third."


Maddox remained the runner at third because Bowa, who had been on first, was already on the bag when the Pirates allowed Maddox to get back to it safely. Boone, who had hit a chopper to third to begin the rundown, meanwhile moved up to second.


That set up a sacrifice fly by Carlton, which gave the Phils their 4-1 lead.


"THERE'S NO technique to it." said Maddox. "You just try to stay in it as long as you can."


The game might have been over then. But the Pirates rallied in the seventh, first getting a leadoff home run by Bill Robinson. Two outs later, Phil Garner and Steve Nicosia put together back-to-back singles before pinchhitter Kurt Bevacqua lined a 3-2 pitch into left-center. Gross first broke in on the ball, then, realizing his error, raced back toward the warning track. But Gross never caught up with the ball and both runners scored.


Carlton pitched through the eighth without incident, then McGraw worked through the ninth and 10th. Sparky Lyle. acquired from Texas on Saturday, pitched the 11th for his first save in the National League.


"IT JUST felt good to get into a game that was close," said Lyle. "I threw all sliders. One of them backed up and went the other way. That's okay, as long as they move."


They moved, and they helped the Phils take a game as crucial as any they have played this season.


PHIL UPS Pete Rose doubled in the ninth to move into fourth place on the all-time doubles list with 651... Phils are off today, then open three-game series in Chicago tomorrow, with Bob Walk opposing Rick Reuschel... Other matchups: Marty Bystrom vs. Lynn McGlothen and Dick Ruthven vs. Dennis Lamp...Carlton went into the game having won 14 times after the Phils had lost the game before his start.

Victory over Pirates may be turning point


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


PITTSBURGH – Over the course of a baseball season, some six months long, few games – or even series – can actually be singled out as truly critical. Of course, some games have more meaning than others. But games that can have as much impact on a team's psyche as its position in the standings are rare indeed.


Usually, the crucial few – call them turning points – if you will are recognized only in retrospect. The Phillies played such a game on Aug. 11 in Chicago after they had lost five straight to the Pirates here.


Fans will recall that the Phillies blew a lead in the late innings to the Cubs on that day and the score was tied when the game was suspended. But the next afternoon, the Phils pulled it out and went on to sweep New York to suddenly assert themselves as a bona fide contender in the National League East.


It will not, however, take the passage of time to qualify last night's game against the Pirates as one of those in the category of crucial. It was vital not only because of the bearing it might have on the East pennant race, but because it was the Phils' best – and last – chance to leave Three Rivers Stadium with some measure of self-respect.


The Phillies' decade-long frustrations in this nightmare of a ballpark are well documented. They had, since 1970, lost 68 of 98 here prior to last night. And this season they had lost five straight, six of seven. Twice before, in 1970 and again in 1977, they had gone 1-8 against the Pirates in Three Rivers. They did not want to repeat that humiliation in 1980.


As for the Pirates, who went into the contest in third place, trailing division-leading Montreal by five games, winning was all but mandatory. Despite all their wins of the past over Philadelphia, the Bucs knew this was the one they needed to remain a part of the pennant race.


Monday's 3-2 victory over the Phillies would mean little if the Pirates could not win again. In that game, the Phils had the Pirates on the ropes, but failed to deliver a knockout punch. Much the same thing happened last night.


The Phils cruised into the seventh inning with a 4-1 lead, only to watch in horror as the Pirates tied it against . Steve Carlton, the National League's most dominant pitcher. Carlton had not blown a three-run lead all year, but last night be gave up a home run to Bill Robinson and a two-out, two-run pinch double to Kurt Bevacqua.


Clearly, more was at stake than the mere outcome as the game went into the 11th inning, when Garry Maddox singled, stole two bases and scored on Del Unser's pinch single to give the Phils a 5-4 win.


"That," said Phillies Manager Dallas Green, "was a nice game to win, especially since we had it and couldn't put it away."


Added Unser, whose single made a loser out of Pirate reliever Kent Tekulve, "This is probably my biggest hit of the Season as far as pinchhitting goes. Sooner or later, everybody will pick each other up. Tonight, I got my chance.


"Maybe this will motivate us. But we still have to play well in Chicago (the Phils' next stop on this seven-game road trip). You have to take one day at a time, believe in yourself one day at a time."


Maddox, who stole third on his own before Bob Boone fanned for the inning's second out, seemed more relieved that the Phils had put three games between themselves and the Pirates than ecstatic over a win he all but created alone.


"I'm glad we won," he said. "And, I'm glad I contributed. To have them come back and tie the game off Steve Carlton definitely put it in their favor. Then, to come back and win a game like this... You can't help but look at the scoreboard and see Montreal losing and know how fast things can change around. Now, the Pirates are going to need help to catch us – that's why the three games are so important.


"It's nice to establish early in a season how you're going to play in a certain park. But, this late in the season, you're not trying to win just because of the park."


But the park, and the timing, and the team the Phillies beat, all meant something. And there is more than a good chance that some time before spring training next year, someone will point to this game and call it a turning point.