New York Daily News - September 26, 1980

Oldtimers carry Phils past Mets


By Jack Lang


PHILADELPHIA – Baseball, former Dodger great Roy Campanella once said, is a man's game. "But you've got to have a little boy in you to play it," he added.


Quite true, but it doesn't hurt having a few old men around to decide the game, especially in the dogfight days of a pennant race.


The Phillies remained a half game behind the first-place Montreal Expos Wednesday night with a 1-0, 10-inning victory over the Mets. Guess who decided the game?


First there was a 35-year-old journeyman outfielderfirst baseman who came off the bench to stroke a pinch hit Then there was a 38-year-old broadcaster who came up and moved him along with a perfect sacrifice. And finally, there was a 39-year-old, jack-of-all-trades with a computer for a brain who stroked the winning hit up the middle.


ALL OF THIS made a 21-year-old pitcher so confused he inexplicably cut off the throw from the outfield at the mound. What he intended doing with the ball no one knows.


"If you're going to win a pennant," said 39-year-old Pete Rose after delivering the winning hit, "these are the kind of games you have to win."


For Rose, the hit ended an 0-for-15 slump and, almost before anyone could get the question out about when Pete might have had a longer slump, he was ready with the answer.


"My previous longest? Yeh, four years ago I went 0 for 21. No, wait a minute. Make that 0 for 22. Call 513-421-2990. Jim Ferguson, the publicity director for the Reds. That's his number. He'll know."


Rose didn't even have to look up Ferguson's number. He knew it off the top of his head, just as he knows everything there is statistically to know about Pete Rose.


PETE ROSE IS hitting .282 this year and won't get his usual 200 hits. He does, however, remind people that he has 3,545 career hits and, in his eyes, is having a good season.


"I've already driven in more runs than I did last year," Rose points out, "and I'm within two of scoring as many as I did last year. I just haven't gotten as many hits, that's all.


"I hit the ball hard four times, but I was in a rut. I was in the kind of rut where even the umpire looks like he has a glove and he's smiling at you to hit it to him."


In Chicago, meanwhile, the untiring pennant race proved just that for the Expos, who followed a victory in Pittsburgh Tuesday night with an 84 triumph over the Cubs Wednesday afternoon.


"When you play a day game after a night game, there's no time to be tired," said Gary Carter, who contributed three RBI to the Expos' 15-hit attack.


"But it's exciting just being here (in the pennant race)," added Carter, whose two doubles increased his club-leading RBI total to 94. "This is what it's all about And you can bet I'll sleep good tonight"

Phils sink Mets 2-1, take lead in NL East


By Jack Lang


PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Sparky Lyle won't be around to sip any world series champagne or sit on any October birthday cakes. But if the Phillies are in the NL playoffs and the Series, he will have had a hand in getting them there.


The former Yankee Cy Young Award winner, who was sprung from h: Texas exile two weeks ago and is ineligible for any post season play, got h: second important save in that brief period Thursday night when he came on m the eighth with the Phillies leading the Mets. 2-1. and kept it that way as Dallas Green's gang vaulted over the losing Expos an into first place in the bubbling NL East cauldron.


Sparky was as close to his old game-saving self as lie has been in months when he pitched a scary eighth and then a perfect ninth to put his team on top.


"I'm still not throwing the slider as hard as I'd like," he said after the game, "but it's coming back because I'm getting work. I've been throwing it about 75 miles an hour but tonight I think I got a few up to 83.


"Coming over here gave me a chance to get that good feeling again. With Texas I hadn't pitched in 11 days when they traded me and they hadn't used me in a meaningful game since July. One of the reasons we play this game is to get that good feeling and I'm feeling better all the time."


What Lyle did the moment he arrived in the eighth was to give up a single to Doug Flynn. After Frank Taveras forced Flynn at second on an attempted sacrifice. Jerry Morales struck out batting for Mookie Wilson. But Dan Norman made it a tough and go situation by dropping a hit into left center that Lonnie Smith held on to long enough for it to be a double.


That brought up Lee Mazzilli with two runners in scoring position. After falling behind, 3-0, Maz got the green light on the cripple but fouled it back.


"I threw him a slider," Lyle related. "I ain't going to get beat throwing my second and third best pitch. My slider is my best pitch and that's what they're going to see."


After the count went to 3-2, Mazzilli popped out on another slider and Sparky breezed through the ninth, one-two-three.


"It's situations like this that get the adrenalin going," Spark beamed.


Dallas Green was ecstatic with Lyle's work.


"Sparky is an experienced guy who's been through a lot of these wars," the Philly manager said. "We knew we'd be in a dogfight and we didn't want to wear Tug McGraw out Our relief pitching had been sporadic. With Sparky's experience and acceptance of the pressure, he's an ideal guy for the job."


On consecutive nights, the Mets were beaten by Philadelphia's two hot lefthanded relievers – first McGraw and then Lyle.


They also, in the final analysis, were beaten by rookie Lonnie Smith, a replacement for the slumping Greg Luzinski, and by their own ineptness at the plate. They also may have lost Pat Zachry for the remaining nine games of the season, not that it makes much difference except that the cellar is beckoning.