The Phillies got everybody into the act in their 9-6 Saturday victory over the Cardinals, which gave them nine wins in a row, their longest streak since 1977. They blew a 4-0 first-inning lead and entering the ninth trailed 5-4, with Bruce Sutter on the mound for St. Louis. Hayes, pinch-hitting, slapped a leadoff single, and then Matuszek, recalled from Portland, Ore. on Sept. 1 and ineligible for postseason play, went the other way to left centerfield for a double that scored Hayes. With one out and a runner on third, Rose, who had made only his second start in 11 games, laid down an exquisite squeeze bunt. Then Schmidt hit a two-run homer. "During the streak we've won games every way you can except by forfeit," said Schmidt.
Indeed, the Philadelphia victory string was extended to 10 games Sunday when Rose came off the bench to drive in the deciding run in a 10-inning, 6-5 win over St. Louis. "People who read box scores think that I can't hit anymore," Rose says. "But I'm 8 for 21 as a pinch hitter, and I'm tied for the team lead in sacrifice flies with seven." The Phillies haven't yet decided whether they want to renew his contract after this season, and rumors have Rose returning to his old team, Cincinnati. "Why would the Reds want me when I'm 42 when they didn't want me when I was 38?" Rose says. "But this is the time of the year for me. People will see me in the playoffs, and I'll show them I can still play."
It's also the time of the year for Morgan. On Sept. 19 he celebrated his 40th birthday with two home runs, a single, a double and four RBIs as the Phillies beat Chicago 7-6. The next day he went 4 for 5 with a double and three RBIs in Philadelphia's 8-5 win over the Cubs. "I don't think I've ever had a bad September," said Morgan.
The Phillies were only two games ahead of the Expos when they arrived in Montreal for a two-game set starting on Sept. 21. The game was rained out—the roof of Olympic Stadium is still stashed away in the basement—so a twi-night doubleheader was then scheduled for Thursday.
That's when the roof fell in on the Expos, and particularly Catcher Gary Carter. Lefebvre and Matuszek combined to drive in five runs, and Morgan had three doubles, a walk and was hit by a pitch as the Phillies staved off several Montreal rallies to win the opener 9-7. In the second game the Expos' season came down to the sixth inning. Trailing 2-0, they had runners on first and second with none out and the heart of the order coming up. But Charles Hudson struck out Andre Dawson and, after Al Oliver singled home a run, got Terry Francona and then Carter to pop up. It was Carter's fourth straight pop-up, not what Expo fans expect from a man making $1.7 million a year, and they booed him lustily. The Phillies ended up winning 7-1 as Hudson, an unexpected rookie bonus, pitched a four-hitter. Matuszek had two RBIs, and Morgan got two more hits, giving him 13 in four days, or more than he'd had in the 40 days between June 28 and Aug. 7.
So, in the course of less than seven hours, the Expos went from contenders to...well, Montreal Gazette columnist Michael Farber called them "Bridesmaid Revisited" one day and after the 10-1 crushing by the Pirates he labeled them "Destiny's Doormat" the next.
On Saturday the Pirates beat the Expos 1-0 behind John Candelaria and Cecilio Guante. Candelaria also drove in the winning run. On Sunday, Montreal helped out the Phillies by beating Pittsburgh 5-3. It was only the Bucs' fourth loss in 14 games.
The Pirates and Phillies, who will meet in a three-game set to end the season, actually seem to be enjoying themselves. For the Pirates it's like old times with the retired Willie Stargell back in the clubhouse, though in mufti, boosting morale and giving batting tips.
All three contending managers, Pittsburgh's Chuck Tanner, Montreal's Bill Virdon and Owens, appeared on Good Morning, America Friday, and David Hartman asked Virdon if the pennant race was fun for him. Said Virdon, "I think Paul had more fun than I did last night." Actually, Virdon doesn't believe much in fun. He has banned alcohol on team flights, has discouraged card playing and (gasp!) made the Expos take down their Nerf basketball game.
Guess what the Phillies did while the Expos paced their clubhouse during the Thursday rain? They organized the World Series of Tonk, tonk being their favorite card game. "It's a five-card rummy game," says Gross. "There's some strategy involved, but basically it's luck. Just like baseball." The entry fee was $40, and 16 players signed up for the winner-take-all pot of $640. Rose was seeded first, Morgan second, Maddox third and Schmidt fourth. The tournament was held Saturday night in a conference room at the Marriott Pavilion in St. Louis. After more than five hours, the winner of the crown of Dr. Tonk turned out to be unseeded and unsung Relief Pitcher Willie Hernandez.