Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Phils Bear Down, Never Give Up

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Phils Bear Down, Never Give Up

Article excerpt

The last-place New York Mets, a baseball team that doesn't know how to win, cruised into the bottom of the eighth inning with a three-run lead.

The first-place Philadelphia Phillies, a team that doesn't believe it can lose, scored four runs and won.

They did it because Lenny Dykstra, hitless in the three-game series and, astonishingly, also scoreless until this critical moment, worked Eric Hillman, a lefthander who seldom walks anybody, for one of those typical Dykstra, wait-'em-out, foul-'em-off, leadoff bases on balls. John Kruk, Darren Daulton, Wes Chamberlain and Kim Batiste took it from there. But Dykstra made it possible.

"He took the 2-1 pitch (right down the middle), just took it because he wanted to get a walk," Phillies manager Jim Fregosi marveled later.

There aren't many players who would approach an at-bat the way Dykstra did, and constantly does when the situation calls for it. Dykstra is a throwback, a guy who knows when to work a pitcher. He understands when a walk is as good as a hit.

The Mets don't have any Dykstras to trigger late-inning rallies. They're losers, not winners, and it drives manager Dallas Green up the wall.

The Phillies didn't play especially good ball in the series, yet they won two of the three games by rallying in their final at-bat against poor Anthony Young, who could write a book on the art of losing.

You can be sure Green didn't figure his Mets were home free Sunday when the Phillies, briefly playing like the Mets, fell into a four-run hole in the first inning. Green knows these Phillies don't pack it in when they fall behind. Only two nights before, they trailed by two in the eighth, closed the gap to one that inning, then polished off the losingest team in baseball with a five-run ninth.

Green spoke to his beleaguered troops after that one, suggested they pay attention to the way the Phillies approach the game.

"I said, `That's what bear-down, grind-out baseball's all about,' " he recalled. "I said, `That's pressure baseball, boys, and if you can't handle that kind of pressure, you can't be in a championship race.' "

The Mets have the big names - the Bobby Bonillas and the Eddie Murrays - but, as Green said, "The pieces don't fit. …

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