Wilmington Morning News - September 23, 1980

Hungry Phillies grab first place in East


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


ST. LOUIS – Keith Moreland says pinch hitters are hungry batters, especially rookie pinch hitters.


"When you don't get to play very often and you get a chance to bat, you have to make the most of it," says the red-headed Phillies' catcher. "You don't go up to the plate looking for this or that. You just go up there and swing. Hard."


Moreland ripped a double to right field last night to score Larry Bowa and give the Phillies a crucial 3-2 victory over St. Louis in 10 innings at Busch Memorial Stadium.


The hard-fought triumph vaulted the Phils into first place in National League East for the first time since Sept 5. They moved a half-game ahead of Montreal, a 4-2 loser at Pittsburgh.


The Phils pulled it out just when it appeared the Cards were going to ruin Philadelphia's chances of taking first place.


Steve Carlton, who walked a tight rope most of the night, was credited with his 23d victory although it took Tug McGraw's gritty 10th-inning pitching to nail it down.


After the Phils moved in front, Ted Simmons opened the Cards' 10th with a single to left, but George Hendrick bounced into a double play and Tito Landrum fanned.


The save was McGraw's 18th of the season. In 27 games, he has allowed just three earned runs – a span of 39 innings.


Ken Oberkfell’s leadoff triple and Garry Templeton's infield out gave the Cards a 1-0 lead in the first.


The Phils tied on Mike Schmidt's 42d homer, an awesome blast off St. Louis starter Pete Vuckovich that carried at least 450 feet to the vacant seats in center field.


Bowa, who had three singles and scored two runs, lashed a single to right to open the fifth and raced to third base on Bob Boone's hit-and-run single to left. When Carlton bounced into a double play, Bowa scored to give the Phils a 2-1 lead.


The Cards kept threatening, but Carlton kept putting them down until the eighth. In that inning, the Phils received a break when George Hendrick's screaming liner to right-center bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.


That hit came with Templeton on third and Keith Hernandez on first and one out. Templeton easily scored and Hernandez would have given St. Louis the lead, had the ball not bounced over the fence. Carlton then got Tito Landrum looking at a third strike and after Ken Reitz was walked intentionally, Keith Smith hit a slow chopper to Schmidt at third. Schmidt, playing deep, charged the ball and made a brilliant, bouncing underhand throw to first base to get the runner.


"It was a tough play, a game-saver," said Manager Dallas Green. "A lot of third basemen cannot even get the ball to first on a play like that. And Pete Rose made an outstanding scoop."


"The way I was facing when I got the ball, there was nothing I could do but underhand it," said Schmidt, a leading candidate for the National League's Most Valuable Player Award. "All I tried to do was throw the ball; I knew I wouldn't get much on it."


Earlier, a double play had snuffed the Cards in the sixth with the bases loaded, two out and Landrum the batter.


But in the end, the Phils' 10th against reliever Kim Seaman was what everyone was talking about.


"We wouldn't be where we are without the youngsters on this team," said Green. "You have to give Moreland a lot of credit. He went up there and got the job done."


Bowa opened the 10th with a single to center and was sacrificed to second by Boone.


Moreland was sent up to bat for Carlton. He mashed Seaman's 2-2 delivery, a slicing double to right.


"Seaman is a sinkerballer," said Moreland, who is hitting .323. "I was looking for something down and away, and then at the last minute I wondered if he might come in on me. He didn't. I don't think it did what he wanted it to, but it was down and away. I think it was out of the strike zone; I had to go down after it.”


EXTRA POINTS The Phillies have 13 games remaining and the next 10, beginning tomorrow night with the Mets, at Veterans Stadium before the season-ending weekend in Montreal... Bob Forsch was scheduled to pitch against the Phils' Bob Walk tonight, but because of the death of his mother yesterday, Al Olmsted (0-0, 1.84) will take his place... The Phils have won five of eight games here this year, but over the years, this stadium has been tough on them... The Cards are 17-30 in one-run games, while the Phils are 27-26 and 10-8 in overtime... The Phils are 15 over .500 for the first time this year and have won 10 of their last 14 games... Schmidt has batted safely in 24 of 32 games, with 10 homers... After 149 games last year, the Phils were 77-72, in fourth place 14 games out.