Wilmington Evening Journal - September 18, 1980

Phils’ New York Connection stops Bucs


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PITTSBURGH – They're calling it the New York Connection. Tug McGraw, the vintage Met, and Sparky Lyle, the genuine Yankee, now wearing the same uniform.


When the Phils rescued the daffy Lyle from the Texas Rangers last Saturday afternoon, they figured he'd give the zany McGraw a breather now and then down the stretch – another stopper for the bullpen.


Last night McGraw and Lyle gave the Phils a one-two punch, but it was not what you'd expect. McGraw was the winning pitcher and Lyle recorded his first National League save as the Phils choked off the Pirates 5-4 in 11 innings.


"This is just perfect, just great," bubbled Lyle, who put the Pirates down in the 11th inning after McGraw had given the Phils two strong ones in relief of Steve Carlton. "It couldn't be better. In fact, I'm so excited I have the game ball and I have asked Tug to write something on it for me. I'll remember this for a long time."


People around Lyle's locker advised him he better get McGraw to do his writing early because Tug has a history of celebrating after such emotional victories.


Since July, McGraw has been in 24 games and allowed only three earned runs.


After McGraw put the Pirates down in order in the ninth, John Milner singled with one out and pinch-runner Vance Law stole second in the 10th. Omar Moreno flied to right and Tim Foli grounded out on a 3-1 pitch to end the threat.


"To me, Foli was the toughest out of the night," said McGraw, who won his second game compared to four losses. "I would rather face a home-run hitter in that situation. Foli always makes contact. I wanted him to hit the ball on the ground and that's what he did."


While. McGraw and Lyle put the Pirates down after they had wiped out a 4-1 deficit at the expense of Carlton, Garry Maddox and Del Unser Drovided the winning offense.


Maddox greeted reliever Kent Tekulve with a single to center, stole second with Greg Gross batting and stole third with Bob Boone at the plate.


After Boone fanned for the second out on a Tekulve sinker far out of the strike zone, Unser laced a single to left and the Phils were back on top.


"I was just trying to hit a line drive someplace for a hit," said Unser. "I am basically a pull hitter, but in that situation all I wanted to do was get a hit; I was not thinking . long ball. I didn't hit it very hard, but that's usually about all I can do with Tekulve. I guess you would have to call this my biggest hit of the year."


"When the Pirates tied against Carlton it didn't look good for us," said shortstop Larry Bowa, who lashed out three singles before leaving with a slightly strained hamstring. "You know how Pittsburgh is in this ball park."


The Phils had built their 4-1 lead against Bert Blyleven, who has never beaten them in six decisions. They scored three times in the fifth with Greg Luzinski's two-run double the big hit after Mike Schmidt had forced in the first run with a bases-loaded walk.


The Pirates got a run back on Lee Lacy's homer in the bottom of the inning, but Philadelpia bounced back to score its fourth run on Carlton's sacrifice fly.


"This was a nice baseball game to win, especially when it appeared we had it put away and they tied," said Dallas Green, the Phils' manager. "You can chalk this one up to Garry Maddox. We had him stealing second, but he went to third on his own. And then Del Unser comes through with a big hit off Tekulve."


"Tekulve has a slow, deliberate move to the plate," said Maddox. "On the steal of third, I was trying to get an extra step or two on him and I did. I knew he was aware of me on second, but was not that concerned. As it turned out, I got a good enough jump. I knew he was going to throw a sinker."


Maddox also helped his teammates in the sixth. He beat out an infield single to third and raced to third when Bowa singled to right. That brought up Boone, who hit a high chopper to third. Maddox was trapped between third and home, but danced back and forth long enough to allow the slow-running: Boone to take second and Bowa to reach third, Bowa was automatically out at third because the base belonged to Maddox. Carlton followed with his sacrifice fly.


"If Garry hadn't forced them to attempt a run-down on him, we would not have had a runner at third," said Green. "He handled that situation very well."


And so did Green's new reliever in the 11th.


"I just went out there and threw sliders," added Lyle, who has worked in three straight games since joining the Phils last Sunday. "I still am not throwing well; I just tried to keep the ball down and change speeds on my slider."


The Phils now have a 79-66 record with 17 games to go. Montreal is 81-65 with 16 games left, six with the Phils. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is 76-70, with 16 to go, including two with the Expos.


"It's going to be tough for Pittsburgh, but I don't think you can count the Pirates out," said Green, when asked if this loss was a devastating blow. "They can turn it around quickly. They can get hot."


EXTRA POINTS – Bowa said his leg was causing him a lot of pain after the game... "I am going to stay off it most of Thursday," the shortstop said... Rose tied Honus Wagner for fourth place on the all-time doubles list when he hit his 651st in the ninth inning... The Phils end season play with the Pirates with a 7-11 record... The victory last night snapped a six-game losing streak here... The Phils are now 26-25 in one-run decisions and 9-8 in overtime... They flew to Chicago today to open a three-game weekend series against the Cubs, Bob Walk vs. Rick Reuschel.