Smiling through the rain, two guys lucky to be with the Los Angeles Dodgers carried them to a 4-1 victory over the Phillies tonight.
The Dodgers thought of trading outfielder Dusty Baker this spring because he'd played poorly in 1976, and pitcher Tommy John was still an uncertainty after arm surgery in 1975.
Baker's two-run homer tonight off Phillies' ace Steve Carlton and John's precise pitching gave the Dodgers their fifth National League championship in 15 L.A. seasons, their 16th in a proud history that began in Brooklyn and, certainly, their wettest ever.
Becoming only the second team in playoff history to win the series after losing the opener at home, the Dodgers did it with three straight Victories - tonight's done in a rain that began two hours before the game and never stopped.
Through three innings, the Dodgers led, 2-0, on Baker's home run and John's unshakeable poise.
Carlton, who had completed only one of three previous starts against the Dodgers, walked Ron Coy leading off the second inning. After Steve Garvey flew to center, Baker flew one through the raindrops and over the fence in left center.
The Phillies threatened in their part of the second. With one out, Richie Hebner and Garry Maddox singled, Tim McCarver struck out, but Ted Sizemore's unplayable chopper, fielded by John, loaded the bases for Carlton, perhaps baseball's best hitting pitcher.
Nibling at the corners, John Suddenly found himself at a 3-and-2 count. The 60,000-plus fans then did a reprise of their vocal heroics of the day before when their roar so unnerved Dodger pitcher Burton Hooton that he walked in three runs.
John didn't crack. He threw a third strike past the swinging Carlton and trotted off the mound, a fist raised in answer to the yowling.
A pair of Larry Bowa-Sizemore-Hebner double plays set the Dodgers down in the two innings after Baker's homer, and the Phillies reached John for a run in the last of the fourth.
Greg Luzinski led off with a line-drive single to right and Hebner moved him to third with a double into the right-field corner.
Once again, John escaped serious damage. Luzinski scored on Maddox groundout, but John again struck out McCarver, loaded the bases with an I-don-t-care walk to Sizemore and then left Carlton swinging pathetically at a third strike.
With the rain coming harder, the Dodgers made it 4-1 in the fifth when they used one solid hit and assorted Carlton difficulties to make a rainout seem the Phillies' best hope.
Baker led off with a walk. After Glenn Burke fanned, Steve Yeager singled to center. The runners were left at first and second as John bunted foul on a third strike.
Only one pitch from safety, Carlton bounced a 3-and-2 curve ball, walking Lopes. Worse for the Phils, McCarver, who catches only when Carlton pitches, couldn't block the bouncing ball. It bounded off the backstop at a crazy angle and eluded the pursuing McCarver long enough to allow Baker to score from second.
Yeager moved to third on the wild pitch. Russell put down a two-out bunt that Carlton, slipping on the muddy mound, couldn't get to. Another run for L.A.
And when the Phillies went down in order in the bottom of the fifth, the game was official. No longer could a rainout save the Phillies and the fans, who spent part of the fifth anxiously rooting for rain, booed the umpires for letting the game go on.
As the Phillies took the field for the sixth inning, Bowa stopped to deposit harsh words on plate umpire Bruce Froemming. Manager Danny Ozark talked about the weather, too, and Froemming, whose controversial call at first base the night before figured in the Dodger win, ordered the skipper, into the dry dugout.
Struggling with his control all night, Carlton left the game after walking Cey, the leadoff man in the sixth. It was Carlton's fifth walk. Ozark replaced the 23-game winner with Ron Reed, who promptly put down L.A., 1-2-3.
With two out in the last of the sixth, John hit Maddox with a pitch but pinch-hitter Ollie Brown, in for Reed, grounded weakly into a force play.
The new Phillies' pitcher was Tug McGraw, who made it through the seventh suffering only the indignity of a John line single to right.
Bob Boone's poke-single in the seventh was the sixth hit off John, but it, too, amounted to nothing. Bake McBridge fanned, John's seventh strikeout, and Bowa tapped into an inning-ending force play.
Reggie Smith led off the eighth with a walk and stole second. But McGraw struck out Cey, passed Garvey intentionally and got Baker on a short fly ball and Glenn Burke on a whiff - a performance that caused McGraw, running to the dugout, to do a celebratory dance of sorts designed to pick up the Phillies sagging and soggy spirits. But the Phils failed to score in their half of the eighth.
The ninth inning was scoreless.