Camden Courier-Post - September 24, 1980

Cards knock Phillies from lead


By Rusty Pray of the Courier-Post


ST. LOUIS – The Phillies' occupation of first place was hardly something to rival the Third Reich's stay in Paris. After spending just about 24 hours holding the prime territory of the National League East, the Phils last night strategically withdrew into second place.


A 6-3 defeat in their final game of the season against the Cardinals here in Busch Stadium and Montreal's crucial 7-1 victory over Pittsburgh led to the Phils' surrendering of their tenuous hold on the top spot.


You can be sure, however, that more movement will take place in the East quite soon. The Phillies, who now trail the Expos by a half-game, go head-to-head with Montreal six times in their remaining 12 games. Such direct confrontations inevitably lead to shuffling. In fact, there is little reason to believe the East will be decided before a final three-game showdown in Montreal.


A "MYSTERY MAN" named Al Olmsted three-hit the Phillies before tiring in the ninth, and produced one of two Cardinal runs in the eighth with his first major league hit off Ron Reed.


"The guys who pitch the way he pitches always give us trouble," said Pete Rose, who twice hit the ball hard but finished the game 0-for-4, the series 0-for-9. "The lefthanders who throw hard – (Jerry) Reuss (of Los Angeles), (John) Candelaria (of Pittsburgh) – we do all right against them.


"The way he (Olmsted) pitches, turning the ball over, most guys don't go the other way, and that's what you have to do with a guy like Olmsted."


WHAT THE Phillies did with Olmsted amounted to a mere single by Bake McBride through the first six innings. Mike Schmidt doubled and scored on a Manny Trillo single in the seventh, but Olmsted still had a three-hitter going and a 6-1 lead with one out in the ninth.


"That guy is a mystery man for us," said Manager Dallas Green, shaking his head. "He battles you. He's a little on, a little off. He doesn't throw many strikes... He gets us out."


The mystery of Olmsted was solved somewhat by Schmidt, who cracked his 43rd home run of the season – fourth in four days – to make it 6-2 and begin a rally that died in the vastness of Busch Stadium's center field.


GREG LUZINSKI kept it going with a double to left field. The Bull, who struck out in four of his first five at-bats in the two games here, had twice before hit the ball hard off Olmsted. But the balls were hit to center, where George Hendrick ran them down.


An error by Card shortstop Garry Templeton and a single by Garry Maddox loaded the bases and finally convinced St. Louis Manager Red Schoendienst that Olmsted had had enough.


Righthander John Littlefield was brought in to face lef thanded pinchhitters Del Unser and Greg Gross. Unser hit a ball to right-center that might have been out of some parks. But in Busch it was merely a sacrifice fly. Gross followed with a fly that was routine in any park, ending the game.


"WE WERE down, 6-1, in the ninth, but we had the tying run at the plate and the winning run on the on-deck circle. So we didn't die," said Rose. "But we didn't play well. We missed a couple cutoff men, wild-pitched a run home. I don't know, the game seemed dull. Maybe the guys wanted to go home.


"The next two days will be interesting because we know what we have to do."


The cutoff men were missed by McBride and Maddox. It was Mad-dox' misfortune that his was the more costly of the two mistakes. Maddox, who later hit a cutoff man to nail a runner at the plate, overthew Rose to allow Ken Oberk-fell to move into scoring position after he had singled in St. Louis' first run in the second.


TEMPLETON, THE league's leading hitter, immediately followed with one of his three hits on 0-2 pitch off starter Bob Walk. Keith Hernandez singled Templeton to third, then Wlk uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Templeton to score.


"Bobby said he had no feel at all," said Green. "He'd make two pitches and couldn't make the third one. Against a good hitting ballclub like the Cardinals, you've got to have your act together pretty good... Bobby didn't."


Still, relievers Kevin Saucier and Sparky Lyle kept the Phillies close until the eighth, when Reed permitted four hits and two runs.


REED SEEMED all but out of the inning when, after the first two batters had singled, he threw a double-play ball to Dane Iorg. Reed intentionally walked Tommy Herr to get to Olmsted, who singled on a 1-1 pitch to drive in a run. Oberkfell followed with another hit to ice it.


"Those two runs hurt us there and we could have cut down one, possibly two, in the second," said Green.


Yet, with his team beginning a nine-game home stand tonight against New York, Green pronounced this 4-3 road trip "fairly satisfying."


Said Green, "We played two damn good games in Pittsburgh, we could've swept Chicago and we didn't give up in this series."


PHIL UPS – Righthander Larry Christenson, who has not pitched since the first week of September because of a pulled groin muscle, will be used tonight against New York... Marty Bystrom will pitch tomorrow, setting up the following pitching matchups for this weekend's Montreal series: Dick Ruthven vs. David Palmer; Steve Carlton vs. Scott Sanderson, and Walk vs. Steve Rogers... Schmidt has been carrying more than his share of the offensive burden during the last seven games... In that time, he has driven in nine runs and has homered five times... He also has driven in at last one run in seven straight games and has an eight-game hitting streak... Over the last 33 games, Schmidt is hitting .322 with 11 homers, 26 RBIs, 24 runs and 25 walks... Starting times for the Expos series are 8:05 p.m. on Friday, 2:15 Saturday and. 3:05 Sunday.