Wilmington Morning News - September 26, 1980

Phils nudge Mets to reclaim 1st


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – For Greg Luzinski, it was a night of rehabilitation. For Lonnie Smith, it was a night to prove himself all over again. For the Phillies, it was a night to move back into first place in National League East.


Lonnie Smith singled home what proved to be the winning run in the mist and fog at Veterans Stadium last night as the Phils squeezed out a 2-1 decision over the New York Mets.


The victory, coupled with Montreal's 5-4 loss at Chicago, vaulted the Phils back on top by a half-game in the division and set the stage for the crucial weekend series here with the Expos.


Rookie Marty Bystrom, brilliant for six innings, lost his edge in the seventh when the Mets narrowed the Phils' gap to a run, but outstanding relief by Dickie Noles and Sparky Lyle preserved the youngster's fourth triumph in as many decisions.


The Mets, however, gave the season's smallest crowd (20,525) at the Vet some anxious moments before they finally lost their 10th game in a row to the Phils.


With a run in, runners on first and third with two out, Noles got pinch-hitter Joel Youngblood to line out to shortstop Larry Bowa to end the seventh. Then, in the eighth, the Mets put runners on second and third with two down, but Lyle worked out of the jam and one-two-threed them in the ninth.


"Another nail-biter," Manager Dallas Green said, flashing a grin when it was finally over. "We haven't been putting very many runs on the board, but we have been making the most of our hits. I think that is a good sign of a championship team."


"We had our chances but were unable to cash in," said Mets' Manager Joe Torre. "There's not much else I can say."


When asked of his appraisal of the National League East race, Torre said: "I picked the Phils to win it in spring training. There's no reason for me to change now, right?"


Green, who has been refusing to say any specific game or series is crucial, admitted the three with Montreal beginning tonight are the most important for the Phils to date.


"I am finally willing to say the next three days are critical," said Green. "We're ready for them and I'm sure they're ready for us. If we get the pitching I expect to get, we'll win it."


Green has said for the last month he feels the Phils need Luzinski's bat in the line-up if they are going to win. He's been saying that even though the Bull has been hitting just .198 since returning from the disabled list and knee surgery on Aug. 24. And before last night, Luzinski had just one hit in his last 12 at-bats and had fanned six times.


"I decided not to use him tonight," said Green. "He will be in there Friday night, but tonight I wanted him to go down to the batting cage, work on his mechanics and do some thinking. I thought a relaxing night would be good for him, plus the fact the field was slippery."


So, Smith got a chance to start for the first time since Sept. 14. He had not played at all in the last seven games, even though he was hitting .336.


Bystrom allowed just one hit, a no-questions-asked double by Hubie Brooks leading off the third. Brooks went to third on Manny Trillo's error and Bystrom was in trouble, with starting pitcher Pat Zachry up to bunt.


Zachry, however, hit the ball back to the mound, Bystrom wheeled and threw Flynn out at second and Bowa turned it into a double play.


As Zachry ran to first, he stumbled and pulled a muscle in his left leg. He tried to come out and pitch the bottom of the third but was unable to continue. Roy Lee Jackson took over and became the loser.


The Phils scored their two runs oin the fifth when Trillo tripled to right and scored on Garry Maddox's single to left. Bowa followed with a single, but after Bob Boone f lied out. Bystrom forced Maddox at third with a bunt. Smith then ripped a 3-2 pitch through the middle and' it was 2-0.


"I thought I would be playing more," said Smith, "but I know Green feels he has to have Luzinski's bat in the line-up for the playoffs. It hasn't really bothered me that much, but I thought I was going to get more of a chance to play. I was back sitting and watching and hoping I'd get a chance. In a way, I thought I didn't deserve to sit."


A single by Wally Backman started Bystrom's trouble in the seventh. After Lee Mazzilli lined out to left, Steve Henderson singled to center and both runners moved up on Claudell Washington's single to deep shortstop that loaded the bases.


The count went 3-2 to Alex Trevino, who then fouled off three pitches, including what could have been a third strike that Boene dropped.


"I came in then with a fastball and I thought we had the double-play," said Bystrom, "but Washington took Trillo out. I thought Green was going to let me pitch to Youngblood, but he didn't. I still felt strong."


EXTRA POINTS – Dave Palmer (7-5) goes against Dick Ruthven (16-10) tonight... The Phils have won seven of their last 11 games and 12 of 17. They have won 16 games this month and nine of them have been by one run... The Phils ended season play with the Mets with a 12-6 record... Mike Schmidt was hitless in the two games... The Phils are 16 over .500 for the first time this year... Not counting the first two days of the season, they have been in sole possession of first place nine days... The last time they played the Expos was June 30, July 1-2 at Olympic Stadium, taking two of three. Overall the clubs are even in 12 games.

An assist to Cubs


Expos’ rally in 9th falls short by run


Associated Press


CHICAGO – It was one character-building exercise the Montreal Expos would like to have skipped.


"There's no question this was a blow to us." Gary Carter said yesterday after the Montreal Expos' ninth-inning surge fell one run short, leaving the Chicago Cubs a 5-4 winner. "But that rally proved we've got some character. It ought to give us a lift going into Philadelphia."


"We just ran into some good pitching today. (Cub starter) Lynn McGlothen has a great breaking ball, and even when he was behind, like 2-0 on somebody and one time when he was behind Larry Parrish 3-0 he was bringing in the curve. That showed me what kind of pitcher he was today."


McGlothen, 11-13, worked 7 innings to earn the win. He needed relief help from Bruce Sutter, who almost let the Expos in the back door in the ninth, and last-out help from Dick Tidrow.


"I'm glad Carter thought I threw Parrish the curve," said McGlothen, who struck out a season-high nine batters. "Actually, it was a cut fastball."


Trailing 5-1 going into the ninth, the Expos scored three runs off Sutter. Parrish's RBI grounder made it 5-2 and then Jerry White drilled a two-run single.


Tidrow relieved with runners at first and third and retired Rodney Scott to end the game.


The Cubs built their lead on a two-run single by Steve Dillard in the sixth and Bill Buckner added three hits and an RBI.

Sports Briefs (excerpt)


Compiled from dispatches


N.L. sets fan record


For the first time in National League history, all clubs have passed the one million mark in paid attendance, the league office said. Atlanta became the final club to reach the plateau Wednesday night.


The league expects to pass the 20 million mark today and needs crowds totaling 1.254,000 for the remainder of the season to pass last year's record total of 21,178,419.


Los Angeles leads the league with 2,926,000 and the largest increase belongs to the New York Mets, up 365,000 over last year.


The Phillies have drawn 2,412,490 through last night's game.