Memory Lane: 1980 NLCS Game 5

nolan-ryan

astros-1980

The 1980 Houston Astros

The date was October 12, 1980. The Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros were in the process of finishing Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at the Astrodome. The winner of today’s game will advance to the World Series with historical stakes mixed into the ceremonious grab bag. If the Phillies win, it will only be their 2nd appearance in a World Series. They lost to the Boston Red Sox in 1915 and are hungry for their first title in history after an absence in The Show that now spans 65 years. If the Astros win, it will their first World Series appearance in the 18 years that have passed since first 1962 season.

The wonderful Bill Virdon manages the Astros. Dallas Green is the skipper of the Phillies. Future Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and and 2nd baseman Joe Morgan play for the Astros, but “Little Joe” is in the twilight time of his career as a veteran back up guy. On the Phillies side, future Hall of Fame 3rd baseman Mike Schmidt and future all-time hit leader Pete Rose are the biggest names.

Going into the bottom of the 7th, the score is tied 2-2. Larry Christenson has now entered the game for the Phils as the 3rd reliever for starter Marty Bystrom, following appearances by Warren Brusstar and Lonnie Smith. Starter Bystrom pitched the first 5 and 1/3 innings and was charged with both Astros runs. Astros starter Nolan Ryan is still in the game and looking good.

Let’s pick up the play-by-play now for the rest of team innings in which scoring took place:

Bottom of 7th, Larry Christenson pitching, Astros Batting, Score: Astros 2 – Phillies 2.

  • Terry Puhl singles to RF
  • Enos Cabell sac bunts Puhl to 2nd base on a 3-4 putout at 1st; OUT 1
  • Joe Morgan retired on a 5-3 ground out; Puhl holds at 2nd; OUT 2
  • Jose Cruz walks; runners at 1st & 2nd
  • Denny Walling singles to RF; Puhl scores; Cruz to 3rd; Astros lead 3-2
  • Art Howe batting; a wild pitch scores Cruz from 3rd; Walling to 2nd; Astros lead 4-2
  • (Ron Reed replaces Larry Christenson as the Phils pitcher)
  • Art triples to RF; scoring Walling; Astros lead 5-2
  • (Dave Bergman pinch runs for Art Howe & will replace him at 1st base on defense)
  • Alan Ashby lies out to LF; OUT 3

Bottom 7th Totals: 3 Runs; 3 hits; 0 errors; 1 LOB; Score: Astros 5 – Phillies 2

Top of 8th, Nolan Ryan pitching, Phillies Batting, Score: Astros 5 – Phillies 2

  • Historical Note. The Astros begin the top of the 8th inning under these jubilant home fan conditions: The Astros now have a 3-run lead with Nolan Ryan pitching, courtesy of their 7th inning 3-run production; they are only 6 outs away from their first ever World Series appearance. What now follows is the reminder of baseball’s most important redundant lesson. ~ The games are won or lost on the field in real time. They are not won on paper, or in the cells of the brain that contain our fondest wishes, nor are they assured by the record and reputation of whomever you have playing for you. All that matters is what happens – and doesn’t happen – in the only time zone that carries with it the real rewards and consequences of all human endeavor. It’s called “the present”, but that only real time zone we have, is probably better described in these terms: “The here and now is that infinitely small point in physical possibility where time and space intersect to dictate what is possible – and what is not. And no sport proves that point any better than baseball. Think of Bobby Thomson’s 1951 “Shot Heard Round the World Homer” as an example. If Branca’s pitch arrives a nanosecond sooner or later, or one thousandth of an inch higher or lower, it may never have left the yard at the Polo Grounds. And who normally remembers a foul ball strike two or a high pop fly to short left field over time in the larger scheme of things?
  • Larry Bowa singles to CF
  • Bob Boone reaches 1st on an infield single to the pitcher; Bowa moves to 2nd
  • Greg Gross reaches 1st on a bunt single to 3b; bases now loaded
  • Pete Rose walks; Bowa scores from 3rd; Boone moves to 3rd; Gross moves to 2nd; bases remain full; Astros lead 5-3
  • (Joe Sambito replaces Nolan Ryan for Astros on the mound)
  • (Keith Moreland pinch hits for RF Bake McBride)
  • Keith Moreland retired on 4-6 force out at 2nd; Boone scores from 3rd; Gross to 3rd; OUT1; Astros lead 5-4
  • (Ken Forsch replaces Joe Sambito as Astros pitcher)
  • (Rafael Landestoy replaces Joe Morgan as Astros 2nd baseman)
  • (Ramon Aviles of the Phillies pinch runs for Keith Moreland at 1B)
  • Mike Schmidt strikes out; OUT 2
  • (Del Unser pinch hits for Phillies pitcher Ron Reed)
  • Del Unser singles to RF; Gross scores from 3rd base; Aviles advances to 2nd base; Astros-Phillies Tied, 5-5
  • Manny Trillo triples to LF, scoring Aviles from 2nd & Unser from 1st; Phillies lead, 7-5
  • Gary Maddox flies out to LF; OUT 3

Top of 8th Totals: 5 runs; 5 hits; 0 errors; 1 LOB; Score: Phillies 7 – Astros 5

Bottom of 8th, Tug McGraw now pitching for Phillies, Astros Batting, Score: Phillies 7 – Astros 5

  • (Del Unser now playing RF for Phillies)
  • Craig Reynolds reaches on an infield single to 2nd base
  • (Gary Woods pinch hits for Astros pitcher Ken Forsch)
  • Gary Woods strikes out; OUT 1
  • Terry Puhl singles to RF; Craig Reynolds to 3rd on play
  • Enos Cabell strikes out; OUT 2
  • Rafael Landestoy singles to RF; Reynolds scores from 3rd; Puhl to 2nd; Phillies Lead 7-6
  • Jose Cruz singles to CF; Puhl scores from 2nd; Landestoy moves to 3rd; Phillies-Astros Tied, 7-7
  • Denny Walling hits into a 4-6 force out of Cruz at 2nd to end the inning. OUT 3; The Game is Now Tied at 7-7

9th Inning Summary. With the game now tied at 7-7, and Frank LaCorte of the Astros now pitching, the Phillies were held scoreless in the top of the 9th. The Phillies did get runners to 1st and 3rd in the top of the 9th, but LaCorte got pinch hitter George Vukovich on a 2-0ut 6-3 grounder to retire the side and save the tie. As a result of the Vukovich pinch hitting appearance in place of Tug McGraw, Dick Ruthven came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th for the Phillies. The Astros didn’t know it yet, but they had seen their last base runner for the day when Jose Cruz singled in the bottom of the eighth. Ruthven got both Dave Bergman and Alan Ashby on 4-3 ground outs in the bottom of the 9th – and then sent the tie game into extra innings by inducing a fly ball out to CF by Craig Reynolds.

Top of 10th, Frank LaCorte pitching a second inning for the Astros, Phillies Batting, Score: Phillies 7 – Astros 7

  • Mike Schmidt strikes out; OUT 1
  • Del Unser doubles to RF
  • Manny Trillo flies out to CF; Unser holds at 2nd; OUT 2
  • Gary Maddox doubles to CF; Unser scores from 2nd; Phils lead, 8-7
  • Larry Bowa lines out to 2B; OUT 3; Phils Lead, 8-7

Bottom of 10th, Dick Ruthven still pitching for the Phillies, Astros Batting, Score: Phillies 8 – Astros 7

  • (Danny Heep pinch hits for RF Gary Woods)
  • Danny Heep hits a pop fly out to shortstop; OUT 1
  • Terry Puhl lines out to CF; OUT 2
  • Enos Cabell flies out to CF; ) OUT 3

Game Over. Series Over. Season Over. For the Astros, that is. The Phillies will go on to defeat the Kansas City Royals, 4 games to 2, in the 1980 World Series, winning their first title and ending the 65 year skein that had passed since their  first appearance, a 4 games to 1 losing match with the Boston Red Sox in 1915.

Baseball Almanac Box ScoresPhiladelphia Phillies 8, Houston Astros 7
Philadelphia Phillies ab   r   h rbi
Rose 1b 3 0 1 1
McBride rf 3 0 0 0
  Moreland ph 1 0 0 1
  Aviles pr 0 1 0 0
  McGraw p 0 0 0 0
  Vukovich ph 1 0 0 0
  Ruthven p 0 0 0 0
Schmidt 3b 5 0 0 0
Luzinski lf 3 0 1 0
  Smith pr 0 0 0 0
  Christenson p 0 0 0 0
  Reed p 0 0 0 0
  Unser ph,rf 2 2 2 1
Trillo 2b 5 1 3 2
Maddox cf 4 1 1 1
Bowa ss 5 1 2 0
Boone c 3 1 2 2
Bystrom p 2 0 0 0
  Brusstar p 0 0 0 0
  Gross lf 2 1 1 0
Totals 39 8 13 8
Houston Astros ab   r   h rbi
Puhl cf 6 3 4 0
Cabell 3b 5 0 1 0
Morgan 2b 4 0 0 0
  Landestoy 2b 1 0 1 1
Cruz lf 3 1 2 2
Walling rf 5 2 1 1
  LaCorte p 0 0 0 0
Howe 1b 4 0 2 1
  Bergman pr,1b 1 0 0 0
Pujols c 1 0 0 0
  Ashby ph,c 3 0 1 1
Reynolds ss 5 1 2 0
Ryan p 3 0 0 0
  Sambito p 0 0 0 0
  Forsch p 0 0 0 0
  Woods ph,rf 1 0 0 0
  Heep ph 1 0 0 0
Totals 43 7 14 6
Philadelphia 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 1 8 13 2
Houston 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 2 0 0 7 14 0
  Philadelphia Phillies IP H R ER BB SO
Bystrom 5.1 7 2 1 2 1
  Brusstar 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
  Christenson 0.2 2 3 3 1 0
  Reed 0.1 1 0 0 0 0
  McGraw 1.0 4 2 2 0 2
  Ruthven  W (1-0) 2.0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals
10.0
14
7
6
3
3
  Houston Astros IP H R ER BB SO
Ryan 7.0 8 6 6 2 8
  Sambito 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
  Forsch 0.2 2 1 1 0 1
  LaCorte  L (1-1) 2.0 3 1 1 1 1
Totals
10.0
13
8
8
3
10

E–Luzinski (1), Trillo (1).  DP–Houston 2.  2B–Philadelphia Unser (1,off LaCorte); Maddox (2,off LaCorte), Houston Cruz (1,off Bystrom); Reynolds (1,off Bystrom).  3B–Philadelphia Trillo (1,off Forsch), Houston Howe (1,off Reed).  SH–Boone (1,off LaCorte); Cabell (3,off Christenson).  IBB–Rose (2,by LaCorte).  CS–Rose (2,2nd base by Ryan/Pujols).  SB–Puhl (2,2nd base off Bystrom/Boone).  WP–Christenson (1).  IBB–LaCorte (1,Rose).  U–Ed Vargo, Jerry Crawford, Bob Engel, Terry Tata, Doug Harvey, Bruce Froemming.  T–3:38.  A–44,802.

Baseball Almanac Box Score | Printer Friendly Box Scores

____________________

eagle-0range
Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

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One Response to “Memory Lane: 1980 NLCS Game 5”

  1. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Points of interest about this game that added to the drama:

    This was the 3rd consecutive game played at the Astrodome. Games 3 and 4, also, had gone extra innings.

    Prior to this game, Nolan Ryan’s teams had never lost a game while he was pitching when leading by 3 or more runs in the seventh inning.

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