Cincinnati owed its woes to former college stars. The Giants' Jim Barr, from USC, beat the Reds 3-2 and ended their win streak at four. Then Dave Roberts, the Padres' No. 1 draft choice from the University of Oregon, got three hits, including a key double in the 13th inning, to hand the Reds a 4-3 loss. But the Reds' West Coast swing was not a total failure. Gary Nolan beat L.A. for his 10th win and his seventh on the road against no losses.
Houston was winning through pure power. The Astros were sixth in the league in hitting and pitching, and eighth in fielding, but through Friday night they had 71 homers, matching their total for all last season. Even little Second Baseman Tommy Helms had four homers, exceeding his last year's output by one. Los Angeles gave Houston one of its victories by committing two errors in the ninth. Earlier in the week the Dodgers had five errors and lost to the Reds 5-4. "We manage to get our errors together, but not our hits," said Manager Walter Alston.
With youngsters Darrell Evans and Dusty Baker in military service, Atlanta's bats were mostly muffled, though Henry Aaron hit homers 14 and 15 and passed Lou Gehrig on the major leagues' alltime RBI list. He is now second to Babe Ruth in that category, too. With Orlando Cepeda gone to Oakland, Aaron is now at first base permanently.
Bobby Bonds and Willie McCovey started hitting again for San Francisco, but Infielder Chris Speier was hottest. His run-scoring single helped Jim Barr beat Cincy and he had three hits against Atlanta. He insisted it was just "luck." In any case, the Giants climbed out of 24th place in the majors, passing San Diego by winning four of five at home. There were rumors that Owner Horace Stoneham would sell the attendance-poor Giants. Stoneham denied them.
CIN 41-27 HOUS 41-28 LA 36-32 ATL 31-36 SF 28-46 SD 24-44
Returning to Three Rivers Stadium after losing two to the Mets, the Pirates found their field high and dry following the flood, but the club offices were damaged. Worse, Pirate bats were soggy all week except for two noteworthy shows: 12 hits in a 9-2 win over the Cubs and 11 hits (four by Manny Sanguillen) in a 9-0 romp over the Expos.
Though Daniel Joseph Staub rusted in press boxes nursing his sore hand, New York still managed to creep up into a virtual tie with the Pirates. Good pitching made up for the absent slugger. Jerry Koosman struck out nine Pirates in winning his fifth straight game, Tom Seaver looked strong beating the Phils 3-2 and forkballer Danny Frisella had three scoreless innings of relief to help beat the Expos 7-3.
Rookie Rick Reuschel, a farm boy from west-central Illinois, won two games for Chicago, giving up only eight hits in 16‚Öì innings against the Phils and Pirates. "He may change the outlook around here," bubbled Leo Durocher. The Cubs also resumed their system of fines for blunders, known as Rockhead Roulette. And not necessarily speaking of rockheads, Joe Pepitone came out of retirement and got himself a hit.
St. Louis was on a tear. The Cards' 4-1 victory over the Phils Friday night was their 10th win in 11 games. "Pitching and better luck with our hitting has been the answer," said Manager Red Schoendienst, but the fans were answering, too. Helping Joe Torre protest a decision Tuesday, they showered the field with cups, scorecards, shoes and a small pocketknife.
One of Montreal's few happy moments was Mike Torrez' ninth victory, one that came against his old Cardinal teammates in that debris-delayed game. The Philadelphia front office gave Manager Frank Lucchesi a vote of confidence, but even better for morale was the work of lefty Steve Carlton, who won two games and ran his major league-leading strikeout total to 159 in 144‚Öì innings. Lucchesi started giving some of his regulars a day or two of rest, and the result was spectacular. Don Money went 10 for 24, Larry Bowa got four hits in one game and the same day Greg Luzinski hit two singles and a double for three RBIs.
PITT 40-25 NY 41-26 CHI 37-29 ST. L 34-33 MONT 29-38 PHIL 24-42
Oakland's Vida Blue was chased in Chicago after giving up three home runs in 5‚Öì innings. He was sporting a 2.93 earned run average, which isn't bad, but the club's overall pitching has been so good that Vida's ERA ranks ninth on the nine-man staff. While Charlie Finley was trading off Denny McLain for a new first baseman, Orlando Cepeda, his present one, Mike Epstein, was battering Chicago with three hits, including a game-winning home run.
Carlos May's mother traveled from Birmingham to Chicago to see him play—for the first time since he became a pro—but Manager Chuck Tanner had left him out of the lineup because of a sore hand. Finding out about mama, Tanner put May back in against Oakland and May proceeded to drive in two runs in a 6-4 White Sox win. Home is where the wins lie for Chicago. As the week ended, the White Sox were 27-5 on the South Side, 12-22 abroad. Dick Allen hit home run No. 14 Friday as the Sox again defeated Oakland, 6-5, denying the A's Ken Holtzman his 12th victory.
Tony Oliva, of no help to Minnesota this season because of an injured right knee, finally gave up and went on the disabled list. "It's no use," said Twins Manager Bill Rigney. "Tony just can't run." The knee, which was operated on last fall, will be doctored again. Pitcher Ray Corbin improved his record to 4-0 with a 2-0 shutout of Kansas City. The Royals continued to get sensational hitting from First Baseman John Mayberry: he batted .600, drove in 11 runs, had four homers and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Recently he has been averaging one broken bat a game. "If I'm breakin' 'em," he said, "they're dyin' in style!" And who was the batting leader of the American League? Outfielder Richie Scheinblum, at .331.
California had a triple play against the Twins, helped by some bonehead base running, and a sudden rash of power and runs gave Rudy May a 12-4 victory over Texas. "That's the most runs they've scored for me in seven years," May said. Texas suffered through severe heat and disappointing hitting. "If [Rich] Billings doesn't drive in the runs, no one does," lamented Manager Ted Williams.
OAK 43-23 CHI 39-27 MINN 35-29 KC 31-33 CAL 31-37 TEX 27-38
Detroit managed to cling to first place despite anemic hitting, and Tiger Manager Billy Martin credited "execution, working hard for our runs. We've scored five times already on the suicide squeeze." His pitching wasn't bad, either. Mickey Lolich got his 12th victory and Bill Slayback made an impressive major league debut. Called up from Toledo, Slayback had a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Yankees. John Callison broke it up with a line-drive single, but the rookie went on to win 4-3 with relief help. Later in the week, Willie Horton's poor execution under a fly ball helped Slayback lose to Baltimore 3-2.
New York shifted out of reverse, ending its five-game losing streak and Oriole Jim Palmer's eight-game winning streak by beating Baltimore 4-3. It was Sparky Lyle's 15th save of the season. Roy White made up for some poor glove work by beating the Indians with a ninth-inning, two-out single that drove in the game's only run.
Manager Eddie Kasko had an up-and-down week watching his Red Sox split with Milwaukee, Cleveland and Detroit. He celebrated his 41st birthday the night his club bombed the Indians 8-2, but he must have felt 20 years older when rookie Pitcher Lynn McGlothen held the Tigers scoreless eight innings, then fell apart in the ninth to lose 8-4.
Every left-handed pitcher there is seems able to handle Cleveland. The Brewers' John Stephenson did it to bring the Indians' record against southpaws to 4-23. "By now it's all over the league," moaned Manager Ken Aspromonte. "Alex Johnson and Ray Fosse must hit the lefties," said veteran Tommy McCraw. "Also, Graig Nettles must hit them for some power. We'll see lefties all year. We've got to get something from our right side." Milwaukee was playing without suspended Outfielder Billy Conigliaro and did not seem to mind. The Brewers beat Boston once, the Orioles twice and Cleveland three times, extending their hot streak to eight wins in nine games. The six-game win streak is the best in the franchise's short history.
DET 36-28 BALT 35-29 NY 28-34 BOST 27-34 CLEV 27-36 MIL 26-37