New York briefly returned to the lead for the first time since July 11 with Tommie Agee driving in the go-ahead runs in the go-ahead game. The last time Agee had made an RBI was the day the Mets fell from the lead. Tom Seaver then helped the Mets stay in first place by pitching a three-hit, 13-strike-out victory which brought his record for the year to 16-5. It looked more like a game between the Steelers and the Falcons, but the 20-10 PITTSBURGH-Atlanta score last week was indeed from a scrimmage between the Pirates (page 18) and the Braves. "They gave us the two-minute warning and it broke our momentum," said Steve Blass of the Pirates' failure to rack up any more touchdowns in their big win. "I thought our end-around play was the turning point," added the Bucs' Bill Mazeroski. "It was safer on the field than in the stands," said a Brave after the teams blasted eight home runs. Pirate Willie Stargell had two of the homers and added three doubles, and teammate Bob Robertson also had five hits. The Pirates batted around in three different innings as both teams combined for 37 hits and 75 total bases. "I want to help as long as I stick around," said wandering Joe Pepitone when he was waived to CHICAGO last week from the Astros. Pepitone, who has taken flight from his teams—the Yankees and the Astros—the past two seasons, may have been hinting at further unauthorized excursions, but for the moment he could not have made Leo Durocher and the Cubs happier. He drove in the winning run in his first game with them. An over-the-hill tennis player outslugged the world heavyweight champion in PHILADELPHIA. The Phillies invited eight athletes from other sports for a home-run contest, and Joe Frazier claimed before the swinging began, "I can clear the roof easily. I can hit that ball a mile or more. They might have another Richie Allen on their hands." Then he hit exactly one of 10 balls out of the infield. The winner was 46-year-old former tennis champ Vic Seixas, who hit five balls, one of them carrying 300 feet, into the outfield, ST. LOUIS recovered from a brief dip to sixth place as Steve Carlton ended a personal five-game losing streak and pitched his eighth complete game of the season. Rusty Staub hammered five home runs for MONTREAL. In one game, he homered to break a tie and then saved rookie Pitcher Carl Morton's 14th win with a leaping one-handed catch over the fence in right field. After making the grab Staub pegged a strike to first to double up a base runner. Later he belted four homers and drove in six runs as the Expos swept both games of a doubleheader from the Dodgers.
PITT 58-48 NY 56-48 CHI 54-51 PHIL 49-54 ST. L 47-58 MONT 46-60
"We will win our division—people, don't get worried," CINCINNATI Manager Sparky Anderson told a luncheon audience last week. Anderson was hardly going out on a limb with his team 12 games ahead, but there was some cause for concern. Pitchers Jim Merritt, Wayne Simpson and Jim McGlothlin were all showing signs of wear. Merritt, who was considered the ace of the staff, was battered by the Cubs last week. He has lost seven of his last II decisions. Simpson is bothered by a muscle inflammation in his arm, and McGlothlin has not won since July 4, 10 days before the All-Star Game. One very healthy item for the Reds is attendance, which added up to 1,174,081 last week, already the highest in the club's 101-year history, LOS ANGELES, which had never lost a game at the Expos' Jarry Park, muffed an opportunity to gain ground on the Reds. After nine straight victories in Canada the Dodgers did a damaging turnabout and lost both games of a doubleheader. ATLANTA fans are understandably disappointed over the Braves' performance this season but, surprisingly, some Georgians are calling for Henry Aaron to be traded because, they maintain, The Hammer no longer drives in the important runs. They could not be more wrong. When Aaron defeated the Cardinals with a two-run home run last week it marked the 28th time he has put the Braves ahead in games this year, 10 more than any other hitter on the club. He has also knocked in 48% of the runners who were in scoring position when he came to bat. SAN FRANCISCO'S Ken Henderson, returning to the lineup after suffering a muscle pull, collected nine hits, drove in eight runs and was on base 12 times in his first three games back in the starting lineup. HOUSTON sent controversial author-reliever Jim Bouton down to the minors and then called in Sybil Leek, a self-proclaimed "good witch," to straighten out the Astros. In a pregame rite Miss Leek brewed magic powders in her cauldron and mumbled winning incantations at the home team. She, too, may now be headed for Oklahoma City to join Bouton, since the Astros lost their first game under her spell 5-1. "There's something wrong, but I can't quite put my finger on it," said SAN DIEGO President Buzzie Bavasi after his team lost lour straight. The Padres also were having trouble putting their fingers on anything. They committed seven errors during the slump, including three in the first inning of one game before the opponents had made an out.
CIN 74-34 LA 60-44 ATL 50-55 SF 49-55 HOU 46-59 SD 42-65
The Royals had been making BALTIMORE edgy lately. The Orioles had defeated the expansion team 21 straight times to tie a 43-year-old major-league record for consecutive victories over a single opponent, but the scores of the last six games, 7-6, 3-1, 2-1, 4-3, 5-4 and 3-1, indicated that KC was apt to win one any year now. The recent closeness worried Jim Palmer, the Orioles' starter, as they tried to break the record. "I'd feel terrible being a losing pitcher after we went this far," he said. Palmer, it turned out, had no reason for concern. Led by Merv Rettenmund's four hits, the Orioles scored early six times and eased to 22 straight with a 9-1 victory. Then the Orioles won their 23rd straight, too, 10-8. DETROIT relievers found the Royals more than just worrisome, as the Tigers twice lost games by one run to them. Fred Scherman was beaten by a ninth-inning home run, and two nights later Tom Timmerman was defeated by a run-scoring single in the 10th. The losses helped NEW YORK, which won six straight, to make up 2½ games in the standings and regain a tie for second with the Tigers. Sonny Siebert, the BOSTON righthander who had already pitched a two-hitter, a three-hitter and a five-hitter this season, filled in one of the missing numbers in his straight flush by shutting out the Angels on one hit. Siebert, who had come within an out of a no-hitter in June, gave up a single in the third inning to Jay Johnstone and needed rundowns between innings by Trainer Buddy Le Roux to ease back spasms which have bothered him during his recent six-game winning streak. Steve Hargan, who returned to CLEVELAND on July 16 after a month of recultivating his pitches down on the farm, has a low-hit string going, too. In four starts since rejoining the Indians Hargan has allowed only 14 hits and won all his games. Ted Williams has made WASHINGTON an improved team—but in a way no one, least of all Williams—would have expected. The once-erratic Senator defense could set a record for fielding excellence this season. The master of hitting has not, however, had as much luck with his team's offense. The Senators, who hit .244 while losing five of six games last week, are last in the league in batting average.
BALT 66-39 DET 57-47 NY 57 47 BOS 53-50 CLEV 51-55 WASH 47-58
Minnesota avoided its first four-game losing streak of the year by scoring eight runs in the 10th inning against the Tigers. After dropping three close games in a row and struggling for nine innings to stay even with the Tigers, the Twins, led with two-run hits by Rick Renick and Cesar Tovar, broke out of their slump with their biggest rally since the fourth game of the season. Winning 11 of its last 13 games, OAKLAND tied for second place. Two Cats named Hunter and Grant pitched the A's grittiest win, 2-1 over the Red Sox. Catfish started and stayed on long enough to gain his 15th win but needed 2‚Öî innings of scoreless relief help from Mudcat. Grant, the former starter who has appeared in 50 games as a reliever this year, now has a 1.13 ERA. CALIFORNIA dropped below second place for the first time this season and, as seems to happen wherever he goes, the Angels' top hitter, Alex Johnson, who has played on four different teams in his five full years in the majors, was getting a substantial share of the blame. "I'm not happy with either his hustle or his drive," said Manager Lefty Phillips. Johnson, who has been hauled into the manager's office for long therapy sessions and has also been fined for failure to hustle in the outfield and on the base paths, has by the latest unofficial count failed to run out 15 batted balls which might have resulted in base hits. Bob Oliver hit two homers in one game and a run-scoring single in the 10th of another to give KANSAS CITY its only victories and himself some respect in his own house. When Oliver is not producing on the field, his wife greets him at home after games by saying, "Man, you really had yourself a bad night." Even though MILWAUKEE surpassed the team's attendance for all of last year, when it played in Seattle, Bernie Brewer, the man in the lederhosen who will remain atop the County Stadium scoreboard until the Brewers draw a capacity crowd, is still a piece of stranded promotional bratwurst. Grabbing the PA microphone after one game last week, he pleaded, "Good night, everybody, and hurry back. I want to get down from here." Cynical fans at CHICAGO'S Comiskey Park are calling their team the Big White Machine, which sounds more like a piece of laundry equipment than a menacing ball club. Aptly so, since the White Sox, who are installed in the basement 30 games out of first place, are clearly washed up for the season.
MINN 64-36 CAL 59-46 OAK 59-46 MIL 39-67 KC 38-67 CHI 38-70