St. Louis Post-Dispatch - September 23, 1980

Phils Chalk Up ½-Game Lead


By Rick Hummel Of the Post-Dispatch Staff


It was not a question of how for Keith Moreland, just how much, as the Philadelphia Phillies took over first place in the National League Eastern Division race Monday night.


Moreland, a .319-hitting rookie catcher who plays behind veteran Bob Boone (.235), hit a not-so-ringing pinch double in the 10th inning that gave the Phillies a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals in a game that deserved more interest than a sparse crowd of 5,654.


Batting against Kim Seaman, Moreland, looking for an outside pitch, blooped a fly to right field that landed just inside the chalk and chased home Larry Bowa with the winning run. That capped a pitching duel between 23-game winner Steve Carlton of the Phillies and Pete Vuckovich which well could have gone into the black hours of the night had both not left for pinch hitters.


Given the Montreal Expos' 4-2 loss at Pittsburgh, the Phillies assumed the division lead by a half-game with Moreland's game-winning hit, his sixth, although he has batted just 139 times. "I think it put us in first place to stay," he said. "It's probably the biggest hit for me in my career."


Admittedly, it was something less than a rocket shot. "It was like I rolled it," he said. "It rolled to the right spot.


"I kept thinking it was going to go foul. All I know is the umpire said fair and I kept running."


While Moreland's double and Mike Schmidt's awesome 435-foot homer to dead center field were the offensive items, Pete Rose, known more for his 3,000-plus hits than his glove, provided the defensive luster with two exceptional plays at first base.


The first came when he was staggered and driven to his knee by Ken Oberkfell 's shot with a runner in scoring position in the seventh but he recovered to race to the bag for an inning-ending out. "It hit a seam," said Rose. "I was shortened up on him with two outs. I thought he might try to drag one with a good hitter (Garry Templeton) up next."


The second came in the eighth when the Cardinals had one of three bases-loaded situations they failed to convert off Carlton, who beat them for the sixth time this season and 29th in 37 career decisions against them. Keith Smith's bouncer was gloved by Schmidt at third but he threw low to first base. Rose, however, neatly gloved the ball just ahead of Smith's arrival and the Phillies were still tied.


Rose thought Smith might have had a chance to beat the play but "he sort of slowed up so he wouldn't hit me. He could have planted me out in right field."


Cardinals Manager Red Schoendienst, who has seen Rose for most of his career, said, "Rose won the game for them. He makes the tough ones when it counts, not when you're up by 10 runs."


Schmidt, a leading candidate for the Most Valuable Player award, ripped his 42nd homer, most, in the majors, off Vuckovich in the fourth inning. "That," he said, grinning, "was a good one. I've never hit a ball out of here in dead center field. Everything I hit to center here ends up getting run down."


Not this time. "It's amazing what going with the pitch adds to the ball," said Schmidt. "He (Vuckovlch) has the widest assortment of pitches in the league. You have to try to hit it where it's pitched."


The run batted in was the 111th for Schmidt, six ahead of George Hendrick, who doubled home the tying run for the Cardinals in the eighth inning. But, as, lucky as Moreland's hit might have been, the Phillies were equally fortunate on Hendrick's hit, which bounced over the right-center field wall for a ground-rule double. Hernandez, who was on first, would have scored easily but never did as Tito Landrum struck out and Smith grounded out after - an intentional walk to Ken Reitz.


"We need some breaks, too," said the Phillies' Bake McBrlde. Thus, are pennants won.


REDBIRD NOTES: Bob Forsch, who was scheduled to pitch tonight, went home to Sacramento, Calif., after being notified of the death of his mother. Al Olmsted, pitching with two days' rest, will face Bob Walk (10-5) tonight.... Cardinals rookie Andy Rincon was named National League Player of the Week for his two victories last week, in which he allowed just eight hits and two runs in 17 innings.... Carlton is the first pitcher to win six games against the Cardinals since Warren Spahn, in a 17-14 season, was 6-1 against them in 1955.... Templeton retained the batting lead at .323 with Hernandez and the Chicago Cubs' Bill Buckner at .321.