Philadelphia Daily News - September 4, 1980
Phils Half to Be Happy
By Bill Conlin
SAN FRANCISCO – The count was 3-2 on Mike Ivie, a hitter who has beat a steady tattoo on Tug McGraw's pitches over the years.
It was the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies were clinging to a one-run lead and Terry Whitfield was perched on second with the tying run.
McGraw stood there in the misty night hyperventilating and thinking about Warren Brusstar and his incredible performance the night before.
"I got 3-2 on Ivie and I remembered Bru with a 3-1 count, bases loaded last night and I said, ‘That son of a gun's got iron nerves.' I said to myself, 'He's not the only one on this team with iron nerves. I'm gonna get this guy out,'" McGraw said.
Ivie fouled off a fastball Tug tried to slip by him on the inside corner. Then he fouled back two nasty screwballs. When McGraw wants to get a little extra on his out pitch, he will aim it at the batter and turn it over severely. That's what Tug did with the two-strike count on Ivie, and when he got the desired result – strike three – McGraw jumped high in the air.
HE HAD HIS 16th save in the bank and the Phillies had a 4-3 victory over the Giants, their first three-game sweep here since the 1977 season and a half-game lead over the Pirates, who clubbed the Astros while the Expos lost to San Diego and fell into third place.
Suddenly, Larry Bowa's superb suicide squeeze bunt in the sixth inning loomed large, It gave Dick Ruthven a 4-0 lead, a lead which was still 4-1 when rookie pinch-hitter Chris Bourjos, one of Dave Bristol's September callups, hammered a two-run homer in the ninth. Suddenly, it was the kind of one-run game Dallas Green says the Phillies had better get used to playing and winning the rest of the way.
"I didn't know a thing about the kid," Ruthven said after running his record to an excellent 14-8 with a professional effort he enhanced with some incredible seventh-inning footwork. "He looks like he can swing the bat, but he did hit a terrible pitch, a hanging breaking ball, the worst pitch I made all night."
With one out in the seventh, rightfielder Max Venable hit a savage line drive up the middle to Ruthven's follow-through side. If you watched the TV replay carefully and got the impression that Dick intentionally deflected the ball with the right side of his foot, you were not deceived.
THROUGHOUT HIS career, Ruthven has been unable to resist sticking a bare hand out to intercept line drives hit back through the middle. Pitching coach Herm Starrette shudders every time Dick waves at a ball which could put his hand in a cast for six weeks. This time he was unable to resist going for one with his foot. How did it turn out? He kicked it into a soft semi-liner which Bowa gloved on the fly for the second out.
"Hey, Ruthven," Manny Trillo said while the righthander iced his arm in the trainer's room, "stick to one sport Leave the soccer to us Latinos."
Ruthven grinned. "Suicide Dick, that's me. It's not the first time. I kicked one into the dugout last year," he said. "I saw this one all the way and flicked my leg out during the followthrough. I had good stuff tonight, but I had trouble with the mound. I was getting a lot of pitches up. My stuff got me through the game better than my location."
The Phillies finally caught up with righthander Allen Ripley, who had allowed them just one earned run in 22⅓ innings this season with a 3-0 record. They scored three runs in a five-hit, one-error, one-hit-batsman second inning.
"They were just due to catch up with me," Ripley said. "They're playing good, aggressive baseball. They're right in the middle of things, they're starting to smell a division title and they're all psyched up right now."
TRILLO STARTED the big inning with an infield hit. Greg Gross, who started in left, moved Trillo to second with an infield out. Bowa hit a slow bouncer to Darrell Evans at third and Trillo scored when he threw the ball wildly past first. Bowa raced to second on the error and scored when Ruthven drilled a double down the left-field line. Mike Schmidt made it 3-0 with a two-out single to left.
Trillo played a key role in the run the Phillies scrounged off righthander Tom Griffin in the sixth. The second baseman legged out his second infield hit of the game and stole second. Gross sent Manny to third with a single to left.
"Bowa's been very effective throughout his career with the squeeze bunt on grass," Green said after the Phils went 11 games over .500 for the first time this year. "We were wary of the pitchout, though."
Bowa looked at the first pitch and nothing was on. Green gambled that the astute Bristol wasn't reading his mind. Gross broke, Bowa got a fastball down and a little in and dropped a soft cue shot to the third-base side of the mound.
"Even as good as Dick was pitching – and he pitched super tonight – you never think you have enough runs," Green said. "Bowa did the job and it turned out to be the run that won the ballgame."
GREEN SAT down Lonnie Smith, slumping Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox. putting the left-handed bats of Gross and Del Unser into the lineup against Ripley. Maddox hasn't started a game since Sunday's debacle in San Diego but the manager insists he's only starting the outfield combinations he feels will be most-effective against different pitchers.
"I wanted to give the other two guys a little playing time." Green said. "This seemed like the right pitcher to do it against."
The Phillies are 5-2 on the crucial trip with four games looming in jammed Dodger Stadium against a team which is making a September move of its own.
It should be a fun weekend.
PHILUPS: Bob Walk will match up with Jerry Reuss, the 16-4 lefthander, tonight. Dallas Green hopes the rookie righthander is over his puzzlement of recent outings. “I think pitching with only three days' rest will help me," Walk says. "I won't be quite as strong and maybe my ball will move better."... Fans and press are down on Rennie Stennett and the Giants' recent swoon after signs of contention, but Dave Bristol has done a marvelous job with a patch-work lineup minus slugging Jack Clark... The Phils' Peninsula farmhands won their 102d game of the year Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead over Durham in the best-of-five Carolina League playoffs... Ozzie Virgil, Mark Davis, Bob Dernier and Dan Larson were in uniform last night. East Bay writers descended on Davis, a schoolboy legend from nearby Livermore... "The Phils have won 10 of their last 12 road games and 12 of 15 since snapping a 10-game road losing streak. They are 32-32 on the road for the season and salvaged a 6-6 season series split with the Giants...The Phils have gone 10 games since a their last homer.
There were three winners in the Daily News Home Run Payoff last night. In the third inning of the Phillies-Giants game, Helen Zaremba of Brookhaven won $10 and four tickets on a Del Unser single. Harry Miller and George Saylor of Philadelphia each won tickets.
So far the Daily News has paid out $16,695. Today's entry coupon appears on Page 57.