Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - September 18, 1980

Phillies hang tough, nip Pirates in 11, 5-4


By Charley Feeney, Post-Gazette Sports Writer


The big play of the Pirates' 5-4 loss in 11 innings to the Phillies last night was a play the Pirates didn't make.


The Pirates botched a rundown play in the sixth inning. It helped the Phillies score a run. One run was the difference.


If the Pirates didn't make that one mistake, they could have formed a Heroes, Inc., because they battled back against Steve Carlton.


Lee Lacy homered in the fifth. Bill Robinson homered in the seventh. Kurt Bevacqua's two-run, pinch double capped a three-run seventh.


The comeback gave the Pirates a 4-4 tie. The mistake in the sixth was the difference after the Phillies clipped Bert Blyleven for three runs in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk to Mike Schmidt and a two-run double by Greg Luzinski.


In the sixth, Garry Maddox, the eventual 11th-inning star, singled and Larry Bowa singled.


First and third, none out. When Bill Madlock one-handed Bob Boone's hopper, Madlock had a play on Maddox at the plate.


Big-league execution on the play would have meant one out and Philly runners on first and second.


But the Pirates misplayed the rundown and by the time they got a runner out (Bowa), Boone, who huffs with each step, was on second base and Maddox was on third.


Steve Nicosia made a bad throw during the rundown. There were four throws; Little-League style. Big-league style calls for one throw.


A moment later, Carlton hit a fly ball that became a sacrifice fly.


Down, 4-1, the Pirates battled and Carlton lost his chance to win his 23th game.


When Carlton was gone, Tug McGraw did the job in relief. In the 10th, the Pirates had the winning run on second base with one out.


The "out" was a home run swing by Nicosia that Greg Gross caught on the warning track.


"I thought it was out of the park and so did a lot of other people," Nicosia said.


After John Milner hit a pinch single, Vance Law ran for him and stole second. This didn't bother McGraw, whose only two wins are over the Pirates.


McGraw nailed Omar Moreno on a pop to short right and Tim Foli on a grounder to third.


Kent Tekulve came out to start the 11th and Maddox greeted him with a single. Tekulve let Maddox get a big jump off first base, and he stole second.


Maddox stayed there as Tekulve threw out Greg Gross. Maddox stole third when he got a big jump again. Tekulve answered by striking out Boone.


Then Del Unser batted for McGraw and looped a single to left-center. That was it.


The Phillies chopped a game off the Expos' first-place lead, which is now 1½ games. The Pirates, with 16 games to play, are five games back.


Tekulve later said that Unser hit a good pitch... "low and away."


On Maddox' thefts, Tekulve said: "Give him the credit. He is a good baserunner. I wanted to concentrate more on the hitters than on him. He took advantage. That's why he is a good baserunner."


Chuck Tanner came up short of baserunners last night. His specialist, Matt Alexander, has a bad knee.


In the seventh, when there was an apparent need for a sub runner, Tanner stuck with Nicosia. In the 11th, when Bill Robinson drew a one-out walk of Sparky Lyle, Tanner stuck with Robinson, who has a sore Achilles tendon.


"Robinson," Tanner said in the clubhouse, "is a smart baserunner. I felt it would be better to go with him."


The runners available were no speedsters: Manny Sanguillen, Bernie Carbo, Bob Beall, Tony Pena and Dale Berra.


"Berra probably is the fastest, but I decided to stick with Robinson," Tanner said.


Robinson stood near the first-base bag when Madlock lined to Bake McBride in right. He ran toward second when Lacy bounced into the game-ending force.


The Phillies saw the last of Three Rivers for 1980. Happier days may be ahead for them; they were 2-7 there.


NOTES – Madlock in the fourth inning was caught stealing and when he threw his helmet, umpire Terry Tata told him it would cost him a $100 fine... Pete Rose's double in the ninth was career No. 651, moving him into a tie with Honus Wagner for fourth place on the all-time doubles list... Phillies' Manager Dallas Green refuses to write off the Pirates. "They have 12 games left with the Mets and Cubs," Green said. "They can handle those clubs even though the Mets have given them trouble."... The Pirates open a three-game series tomorrow, night against the Mets at Three Rivers.

McGraw gets revenge with relief work


By Bruce Keidan, Post-Gazette Sports Writer\


Tug McGraw says he loves to visit Pittsburgh because the Pirates send a limousine to the airport to get him. When he attended the Dapper Dan banquet here last winter, he says, he found himself listed on the program as the Pirates' batting practice pitcher.


"I wouldn't have accepted the invitation," he says, "except I knew the Pirates would have been disappointed not to have their Most Valuable Player there."


It is getting progressively easier for Tug McGraw to joke about the way the Pirates battered him down the home stretch of the 1979 pennant race because the Philadelphia Phillies' veteran relief pitcher is returning the favor this September. He beat the Pirates last night, 5-4, in relief of Steve Carlton, which gave him a total of two victories this year – and both of them have come against the Bucs in the space of 10 days.


It was an 11-inning carnival of thrills, and when it was over, the Pirates found themselves beaten – and quite probably shoved firmly from pennant contention by a cast of graybeards. Sparky Lyle, who is 36, saved the Phillies' victory with an inning of hitless relief. Del Unser, who will be 36 any minute now, drove in the tie-breaking run with a bloop single off Kent Tekulve. And then, of course, there was McGraw. Who is 36. Going on 17.


He still experiences the same little-boy thrill, the same little-boy sense of wonderment every time he takes the mound in a major-league stadium. "Absolutely," McGraw admits. "As much as ever." It is that youthful exuberance coursing through him which accounts for McGraw's distinctive habit of drumming his right leg with his glove as he strides off the mound at the end of a successful inning. It is a habit which some National League batters find less than enthralling. Some have even threatened revenge.


"I was afraid I was going to have to face Dave Parker," McGraw explained last night after leading the second-place Phillies within 1½ games of Montreal's East Division leaders. "He said the next time he hit a home run off me, he was gonna slap his leg all the way around the bases."


McGraw did not have to face Parker, but he had his share of problems, nonetheless. After hurling a perfect ninth inning and retiring Steve Nicosia to start the tenth, McGraw gave up a pinch single to John Milner.


"If there's one thing in my career that I'd like to have worked on more and done better, it's getting out left-handed batters," the left-handed McGraw said of Milner's hit. "The ball has a habit of not making it to the catcher's glove against them when I pitch."


Milner gave way to a pinch-runner, Vance Law, who immediately stole second base. McGraw used a nasty slider to get Omar Moreno to fly out to right field for the second out; then he went to work on Tim Foli.


"I was just trying to work around, just so he couldn't sit on any one pitch," McGraw said. "He's hit a lot of jammers off me that fall in just over the infield for base hits. I had first base open, so I wasn't going to give in to him at all.


"Foil's a tough guy to pitch to in that situation. Hardly anybody strikes him out. He's a contact hitter, and you'd almost rather have a home-run hitter up there taking a big swing in that situation. But you don't get to choose your hitters."


Working with the hand he was dealt, McGraw got Foli to ground to third base for the out that paved the way to the victory. It was a victory McGraw will treasure. "Maybe now," he said, "the plane won't shake every time I fly over Pittsburgh."