Wilmington Morning News - September 3, 1980

Phils still in 1st with 2-1 victory


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


SAN FRANCISCO – The Phillies walked a first-place tightrope in cold, foggy Candlestick Park last night and even though they wavered at times, they never fell.


The Phils pulled out a tense 2-1, 13-inning victory over San Francisco that kept them in first place in National League East by one percentage point over second-place Montreal, who defeated San Diego 2-1 much earlier in the evening. Idle Pittsburgh fell a half-game back.


Manny Trillo's double, a sacrifice bunt by Larry Bowa and a sacrifice fly by Keith Moreland produced the winning run after the Giants repeatedly had the Phils on the ropes.


Reliever Ron Reed, who has been ineffective of late, pitched out of a 12th-inning jam, then put the Giants down in the 13th to record his seventh victory compared to four defeats.


The marathon started with Vida Blue and Larry Christenson turning in superb efforts. Blue, who gave up the Phils' unearned run in the ninth, allowed just two hits over 10 innings. Christenson, who injured his groin in the fourth inning, allowed just one hit over eight.


"It took some grinding tonight and we had it," said Manager Dallas Green, his hands trembling. "You saw a lot of the character I have been talking about out there tonight. That was a very important victory.


"Brusstar was superb and I couldn't be happier. He came in and got an important doubleplay, then pitched out of that big jam. His sink-erball was outstanding, just outstanding. That's exactly what we needed."


"I feel as good right now as I did before the injury," said Brusstar, who did not pitch much at all last year because of a shoulder problem. “Tonight did a lot for my confidence. Once I loaded the bases, I just tried to relax and get them to hit ground balls. There was nothing else I could do. I had to keep in mind, too, the condition of the infield. It's the worst in the National League. My ball was tailing off a lot and I felt if I got the first out with the bases loaded, I had a chance."


"Bru set the tempo for the whole night," said Reed. "His pitching made what I did possible. But the victory is an important one for me because I have not been pitching well. It was very important."


"You have to give Christenson a lot of credit," said Green. "He pulled that same old groin in the fourth, but battled them after we wraped it. He gave us a fine performance."


Trillo, who turned what appeared to be a single into a double, said once he saw the ball bounce on the wet turf, he never hesitated.


"I was going all the way," said Trillo. "I didn't think he had a chance to get me."


Warren Brusstar turned in a scary, but fantastic 11th inning.


After loading the bases with nobody out, Brusstar wiggled out of the jam and looked every bit as good as he did when he was a middle-innings gunfighter in 1977 and 1978.


Jim Wohlford opened with a sharp single to right. Brusstar then walked LeMaster, putting runners on first and second for Darrell Evans.


Evans, a left-hander1 against right-hander Brusstar, dropped a bunt down the third base line. Brusstar fielded it, hesitated a moment while thinking of going to third, then was too late to get Evans going to first.


With the bases loaded, Mike Sadek hit a chopper that Larry Bowa rifled to the plate for the first out. Rennie Stennett then hit a bouncer back to the mound that Brusstar easily threw to the plate for another force.


Up came pinch-hitter Joe Strain, batting for Joe Pettini. Strain took a ball, then fouled off a pitch. Brusstar's next pitch was low and outside.


Strain looked at a third ball, and the small but vocal crowd began to scream. The 3-1 pitch was down the middle of the plate.


Now, it came down to Bru's 3-2 delivery. Three pitches were fouled off before Strain grounded out to end the threat.


While the Phillies' only baserunner through eight innings against Vida Blue was Larry Bowa, who opened the third with a single, the Giants kept mounting mini-threats all night against starter Christenson.


Christenson retired the first seven batters in a row before Pettini singled to center. Blue, up to bunt, was hit in the back by Christenson's throw on the sacrifice but was ruled out for interference.


In the fourth, with one down, Terry Whitfield hit a bouncer to Pete Rose, who was playing on the grass first base. He underhanded the throw to Christenson covering and it was here the pitcher appeared to injure his groin.


Trainer Don Seger examined Christenson, who remained in the game.


Mike Ivie followed with a walk, but Evans grounded out to end the threat. In the fifth, Milt May was safe on Manny Trillo's error, but Christenson got the next three batters.


He one-two-threed them in the sixth, but dug a hole for himself in the seventh when he walked leadoff batter Ivie on four pitches. Ivie was sacrificed to second by Evans and May was walked intentionally. Rennie Stennett flied out to right and Pettini grounded out to shortstop on a 3-2 pitch.


Christenson aggravated his groin again in the eighth when he covered first on Blue's bunt that Rose fielded. The right-hander got Bill North to ground out and fanned Larry Herndon.


Blue had retired 18 Phils in a row when Boone led off the ninth, hitting a chopper to Evans at third. Evans bobbled the ball, then made a poor throw to first that pulled Ivie off the bag as Boone slid safely into the base.


Green immediately went to his new crop of rookies, sending the speedy Jay Loviglio in to run for Boone and Ramon Aviles up to bat for Christenson. Aviles put down a perfect bunt, Loviglio stopping at second.


Lonnie Smith then drilled a single to left. Loviglio jarred the ball loose from catcher May, then scrambled back to touch. the plate for the game's first run. Smith took second on the throw before Rose grounded out and Bake McBride flied to right.


McGraw took over for Christenson and got pinch-hitter Wohlford on a fly to right to start the Giants' ninth before Ivie singled over Mike Schmidt's head at third.


Johnnie LeMaster was sent in to run for Ivie, with Evans the batter. The count went 3-2 on the third baseman and, after he fouled off a pitch, McGraw walked him.


Up came the dangerous May, lefthander vs. left-hander. The first pitch was a ball. May sent the next delivery to right, LeMaster scoring and Evans racing to third.


McGraw was replaced by sinker-ball specialist Brusstar and the Giants sent Mike Sadek in to run for May.


Stennett, whose two errors on Monday helped the Phils turn back the Giants 6-4, was the batter.


With most of the 6,135 fans standing, Stennett hit a grounder to Trillo that Manny quickly turned into an inning-ending double play.