Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
The first time Ross Grimsley, the Expos' millionaire pitcher via Baltimore played a game in the Olympic Stadium, he parked his van outside and promptly disappeared into the labyrinth beneath the playing field.
"The stadium has 40,000 doors," Grimsley said. "Most of them lead to nowhere and half of them are locked. It's like a maze in here. Next time I have any problems, I'm getting into my van and going home, whether I'm scheduled to pitch or not."
Last night Grimsley was scheduled to pitch. Unfortunately, he easily found his way into the stadium.
Grimsley faced six Cincinnati batters. After an initial out, he yielded a single to Ken Griffey, a walk to Joe Morgan, a two-run double to George Foster, a two-run homer to Johnny Bench and an infield single to Dave Concepcion.
On Concepcion's grounder to first baseman Tony Perez, Grimsley stood mesmerized at the mound. The failure to cover first was more than Manager Dick Williams could stand. He waved to the bullpen before he reached the first-base line.
Although Grimsley's earned run average ballooned from 1.85, the National League's best, to 2.45, his 6-1 record was unaffected. The Expos, moving within three percentage points of first-place Philadelphia, tied the game with four runs in the seventh and beat the Reds, 5-4, on Dale Murray's wild pitch in the 11th.
The winning pitcher, contributing four of the Expos' 10 2/3 innings of scoreless relief work, was 36-year old Darold Knowles. This is the Knowles who toiled for the Washington Senators, posting a 9-2 record with 2.25 ERA in 1969 and going 2-14 with an improved 2.04 in 1970.
Knowles is making considerably less than Grimsley's $1 million payment over the next five years. There are enough high salaries, however, to demand a 1.6 million attendace as a break-even-figure and last night's crowd of 11,826 left the Expos 84,283 behind last year's 1,433,757 mark after only 17 games.
Grimsley's early success - he won his first five - had some folks predicting a 20-victory season, but he was quick to cool their ardor.
"If you have any baseball sense," he said, "you know I'm not going to win 20. I've averaged 12 wins a season and I expect to win between 12 and 15 this year."
The consesus of the experts is that he is probably right. Grimsley throws what is generously termed "junk" and it takes a while to get used to it. His best season in Baltimore was his first, in 1974, when he was 18-13 against unfamiliar American League batters. The next three seasons he barely topped .500 before becoming a free agent and crossing the border.
The first time around in his National League reunion he has fooled all except his old pals, the Reds, who know him best. They pasted Grimsley with his only defeat and last night they liked his floaters even better.
Possibly, though, Grimsley threw them off balance for everyone who followed. And, even if he doesn't win 20, he could help the Expos stay close to the top of baseball's sorriest division. Dodgers 10, Pirates 1
Southpaw Tommy John breezed to his sixth victory and aided his own cause by doubling home two runs during a five-run outburst by the Dodgers in the fourth inning. Ron Cey and Dave Lopes added two-run homers for Los Angeles. John, now 6-1, yielded only four hits. Astros 2, Phillies 1
Catcher Bob Boone's throwing error allowed two unearned runs in the third inning, while Joachim Andujar and Tom Dixon combined for a five-hitter. Boone's error, his third in three games, came on a throw to first base after the Astros loaded the bases. Andujar yielded only two hits over five innings but left the game with a muscle tear in his rib cage. Mets 1-3, Braves 2-1
Steve Henderson drove in one run with a third-inning double and scored another to key the Mets' victory in the nightcap behind the six-hit pitching of Nino Espinosa.In the opener, Jerry Royster's RBI single with two out in the 10th inning gave Phil Niekro his third win in nine decisions. Niekro went all the way on a four-hitter. Tigers 5, Brewers 3
Ron LeFlore, who collected four hits, including his fourth homer of the year, doubled with one out in the seventh, setting the stage for Jason Thompson. The 24-year-old first baseman hit his ninth homer of the year off loser Jerry Augustine, 4-6, to put Detroit ahead, 4-3. Parrish provided the insurance with his fourth homer in the eight. Indians 5, Yankees 4
Rick Manning drove in three runs, the third with a two-out, game winning single in the 10th inning to lead Cleveland over New York. Paul Dade slapped a triple off loser Sparky Lyle, 2-1, and scored when Manning, who had singled in a pair of runs in the fourth, hit an 0-2 pitch for the game-winner, giving Sid Monge, 1-0, the victory in relief. Monge worked 6 1-3 innings of one-hit relief. Rangers 4, A's 3
Jim Sundberg's third single of the game scored Al Oliver with the winning run and made Jon Matlack, 4-4, a winner. Oliver ahad doubled down the left field line with one out and, after Richie Zisk was walked intentionally, reliever Elias Sosa was greeted By Sundberg's hit with the runners going. Sundberg had extended his hitting streak to 16 straight games earlier off starter and loser John Henry Johnson, 3-3. White Sox 9, Angels 6
Jorge Orta and Bill Nahorodny hit two-run homers as Chicago took a 9-1 lead into the ninth inning and then held on as California scored five times. Steve Stone, 2-2, was the beneficiary of the hitting attack while Nolan Ryan, 2-3, suffered wildness and took the loss. Both Orta and Nahorodny hit their homers during a five-run rally in the eighth inning.