All anybody needs to know about why the powerful Philadelphia Phillies are in fifth place and why the patchwork Cincinnati Reds are a half-game out of first place was on display in the ninth inning of the Reds' 4-2 win tonight.
The Reds were down to their final out, trailing 2-1 in the top of the ninth. They had men on first and second base, when the Phils struck with characteristic self-destructiveness.
First, manager Danny Ozark, that symbol of star-crossed fortune, allowed reliever Ron Reed, a righty, to pitch to left-handed Dan Driessen despite the fact that his ace southpaw, Tug Mcgraw, was ready in the bullpen.
A groan went up from those few faithful from the original 28,482 who were still in Veterans Stadium until the 12:23 a.m. conclusion of thih marathon that was delayed for 2:32 by national TV and the rain.
Driessen slashed a liner over the second baseman's head into right center. Phils center fielder Garry Maddox should have known that his only hope was to cut the ball off before it could skip to the wall. That way, he might hold the Reds to one run on the play.
Instead, Maddox made his usual nonchalant cruising glide for the ball and let it skip past him to the wall for a two-run triple.