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Phillies Win NL East But Not Pennant
So, when was the last time the Phillies won 100 or more games in a season? Well, never; in 1976, the U.S. bicentennial year, they did it. They did it with a thunderous attack that netted 16 games on the season when they scored 10 or more runs in a game. The signature game came early; on April 17th to be precise, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Down by 13-2 in the fifth inning, Mike Schmidt went to work; he hit a two-out, one on, home run off Cubs’ righthander, Rick Reuschel. In the seventh, he got Reuschel again; in the eighth, a two-out, two-on bomb made it 13-12, and Schmitty topped his day in the 10th with his fourth home run, and an 18-16 Phillies win. Four home runs and eight runs batted in – some day, Mister Schmidt.
Danny Ozark had five pitchers with 10 or more wins, led by Steve Carlton (20-7). Jim Lonborg won 18 and lost 10. Tug McGraw was 9-3 out of the pen with 11 saves. The team got off to a fast start and never loooked back; They were 30-11 at the end of May, and held a nine-game lead for most of the season. They won their last three games from New York to edge over the 100-win mark.
Philadelphians were excited, and they came out in big numbers to support the team – nearly two and a half million, first time in franchise history to top two million. But with two divisions, facing a best of three series with Cincinnati to reach the World’s Series, the anxiety level in Ben Franklin’s town was higher than the statue of Billy Penn on top of City Hall. The Phillies had taken the season series from the Reds, 7-5, but that was only mild comfort facing that well-oiled machine in a short series with so much at stake. Cincinnati swept the three-game series and advanced to the World’s Series where they swept the Yankees.By max blue