Allentown Morning Call - September 9, 1980

Phillies rip Pirates, 6-2


By Ted Meixell, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – After losing three straight games to the suddenly potent Atlanta Braves (11 of 12 this year) and falling two games off the pace in the National League East, the Pittsburgh Pirates came to Veterans Stadium last night. The two-game stopover in Philadelphia must have looked for all the world like a get well card. 


After all. the Phils were in the midst of a three-game losing streak themselves, the Bucs had won 10 of 14 prior meetings this year and they'd swept a four-game set in the Steel City when the teams last tangled. 


A funny thing happened, though – the Phils got well and – for the time being at least the Pirates' malady lingered on. Philadelphia broke a brief team-wide batting slump in time to stage a four-run, eighth-inning rally: reliever Tug McGraw tossed 2''3 innings of shutout relief, and the Phils moved to within a half game of idle Montreal with an exciting 6-2 win. It was the first win for McGraw. 1-4. since Sept. 18, 1979, although his 17 saves are by far a team high. 


"We were shut down in Los Angeles," Manager Dallas Green said, "but we were swinging the bats pretty good tonight. We haven't done well against the Pirates this year, they just keep scratching and clawing. But tonight they didn't get the big hits. 


"Hey, we're all tired now. Whoever hangs . tough will win it. It was a nice win for us. We've gotta' beat the.right teams – and they're one of 'em." 


With the score 2-2 in the eighth, Bake McBride – one slumping Phil – slapped a single to right off reliever and loser Enrique Romo. (His 4-for-4 performance would indicate the slump's over.) Mike Schmidt, who'd earlier slapped his 37th home run, flared a soft liner to right, with McBride hot-footing it to third. 


Greg Luzinski, who made two nice catches in left double-clutched on a Romo changeup and lashed the game-winning single to left. After Manny Trillo sacrificed, Kent Tekulve replaced Romo and walked Garry Maddox intentionally.


But Larry Bowa crossed up the strategy by bouncing a two-run double over first baseman John Milner's head. After Bob Boone was walked intentionally. McGraw provided himself with additional breathing room by squeezing in Maddox. 


McGraw. ever dramatic, permitted the Pirates to load the bases in the ninth with two outs before getting Phil Garner on a called third strike to end the game. When he did so, he leaped off the mound in what was – even for him – a more than normally-exuberant victory celebration. 


With Phils' starter Bob Walk and the Bucs' Don Robinson razor sharp, neither club appeared ready to end any batting slumps in the early going. 


Walk matched Robinson zero for zero through four innings. Then, with one out in the fifth, he ran afoul of – and a full count on – Milner. The free-swinging Buc lefty sat on a fast ball and lined it over the fence in right. 


But Robinson's downfall began in the sixth. The Phils went ahead 2-1 and, had circumstances been a bit different one way or another, it could have been more. Or less. 


Here's why: It might have been 3-1 had hot McBride, who singled, been thrown out stealing just two pitches before Schmidt unloaded a prodigious clout about 420 feet over the fence in center. 


But there was some question as to the validity of the Phils' second run, so it could just as easily have been just 1-1. Trillo broke an 0-for-17 slump with a bloop double to left. Mike Easier appeared to make a fine diving catch but, when he rolled over, the ball popped loose. Although it appeared on instant replay Easier held the ball long enough, second base ump Andy Olsen ruled otherwise.


Not too surprisingly. Easier and manager Chuck Tanner lost the ensuing argument and Maddox – who'd been in an horrendous slump himself – made it hurt by lining a single to right-center. Trillo slid in ahead of a strong throw by Dave Parker.


Pittsburgh tied it again – and sent Walk to the showers – in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Parker and Easier. McGraw, who owns the hottest left arm in the Phils' or any other bullpen these days, came on to short circuit the uprising. To the delight of 40.576 Phils' fans, he stayed around to the end.


Pirate catcher Ed Ott, who makes his home in Allentown, had a postgame altercation with plate umpire Jerry Crawford and. strangely enough, was ejected after the game had ended. 


With a 3-0 count on Ott in the ninth, Crawford called two strikes on Ott, who objected to both quite strenuously before lining a single off McGraw's glove to load the bases. 


As the Phils celebrated, Ott con- fronted Crawford in the tunnel leading to the umpires' dressing room. Crawford, who was involved in an incident with the Pirates' Bill Madlock earlier this year, said Ott charged him and that he'll file a report to the league office.


"He called me a bleeping bleep bleep." Crawford said, "and I don't have to take that kind of bleep from anyone."