San Francisco Examiner - September 3, 1980
Bristol spots a silver lining
Pilot notes ‘progress’ after Giants lose in 13
By King Thompson
Given the circumstances, Dave Bristol could have been forgiven if he had ranted and raved a bit.
But that isn't the Giants manager's style. In fact, even after an extremely frustrating 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Philadelphia Phillies last night at Candlestick Park, Bristol was able to lean back in his office chair with beer in hand and talk in positive tones.
"Out of that something good may come," he said. "We had some young guys in there tonight who were getting some experience in a pennant race. You've got to look past just one game.
"I think there's something good in the making. I knew when I took this job it wasn't going to be easy and that I was going to have to work my ass off. I think there's been some progress made."
Of course, it might be hard to find many Giants fans who can see much progress in a group that can't score with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 11th. This was a game that the Giants should have won, plain and simple.
"All it comes down to is A-B-C. Execution," Bristol said. "It's that simple. But we had a lot of young kids out there against a veteran ballclub."
Through the first 10 innings, Vida Blue had pitched a masterful game for the Giants. From the third to the eighth he retired 18 men in a row, and he finally left for a pinch hitter in the 10th after having allowed only two hits and one unearned run.
"It's shame when your stud pitches that well and you can't win," Bristol said. "Under the circumstances, that's as good a game as I've seen Vida pitch."
But it was all for naught. And for that you can blame what has been a common malady for the Giants this year – anemic bats.
With the score tied 1-1, Jim Wohlford led off the 11th with a sharp single to right, and Johnnie LeMaster followed with a walk on four pitches off Phillies reliever Warren Brusstar.
When Darrell Evans then bunted and Brusstar was unable to make a play at either third or first, it looked like the Giants were a cinch to climb two games oyer .500 for the second time this year.
But as quickly as Brusstar dug a hole for himself, he filled it back up, and in the process buried the Giants' chances for victory.
First Brusstar induced Mike Sadek, who had replaced Milt May as a pinch runner in the ninth, to bounce to shortstop Larry Bowa for a force-out at the plate. Then he got Rennie Stennett to dribble the first pitch back toward the mound, and the only reason it wasn't a 1-2-3 double play was that it wasn't hit hard enough.
With the bases still loaded and two outs, Bristol pinch hit Joe Strain for Joe Pettini. Strain worked the count to 3-1, and then 3-2, as the crowd stood and roared for ball four. But it never came. Strain fouled off three pitches before he finally grounded out to second to end the inning.
"We've all been in baseball long enough to know that those situations are virtually impossible to get out of," Phillies manager Dallas Green said. "But we have enough faith in our people that we know if they make the right pitches we can do it. You've got to give him (Brusstar) all the credit."
Brusstar said he couldn't remember having gotten out of such a jam before.
"I can remember messing up quite a few, though," he said with a grin.
The victory was a big one for the Phillies, who kept pace with the Montreal Expos for the lead in the National League East. And manager Green agreed that such a triumph may have residual effects that are far more important than just one more number in the win column.
After the drama of the 11th inning, the winning run was almost anticlimactic. Manny Trillo led off the top of the 13th with a hustle double to right-center that right fielder Larry Herndon was able to cut off but did not return to the infield in time to catch Trillo going to second.
Bowa then laid down an excellent sacrifice bunt to send Trillo to third, and rookie catcher Keith Moreland delivered a high fly to center field that scored the Phillies second baseman easily.
"That was an outstanding baseball game," said an excited Moreland afterward. "I've never had so much fun in my life. I was jumping up and down like a little kid. Even if I'd had nothing to do with winning the game it would have been a pleasure to watch."
So much so, in fact, that even the Giants manager was able to see a silver lining.
NOTES: The Phillies scored their first run in the top of the ninth after starting catcher Bob Boone was able to slide safely into first on a high throw from third baseman Darrell Evans. Jay Loviglio then made his first major league appearance as a pinch runner for Boone, and he was sacrificed to second by Ramon Aviles, who was batting for starting pitcher Larry Christenson. Center fielder Lonnie Smith, who entered the game with a.349 batting average, hit one through the hole into left field to bring home Loviglio. who easily beat Terry Whitfield's throw home. Loviglio was fortunate, however, that Milt May dropped the ball, because he missed the plate on his initial slide and had to scramble back to tag it with his hand while May was pursuing the ball some eight feet away... The Giants retaliated in the bottom of the ninth when May singled in pinch runner Johnnie LeMaster, who was running tor Mike Ivie. Ivie had singled to left with one out and LeMaster had moved to second on a walk to Evans. Evans reached third on May's single to right, but Stennett whacked Brusstar's first pitch to second for an inning-ending double play... Christenson allowed only one hit in his eight innings of work, striking out four but walking three... Ron Reed got credit tor the win, his seventh against four losses, by pitching one-hit ball over the last two innings. Al Holland took the loss... Guy Sularz, who just arrived in San Francisco yesterday, made his major league debut for the Giants at third base in the 12th. Bristol said he asked Sularz what his best position was and he replied. "All of them.". The series ends tonight with Allen Ripley (7-7) going against Dick Ruthven (13-8).