Even with Catcher Johnny Bench benched because of a run-in with an umpire, the Reds still proved themselves the masters of Los Angeles, beating the Dodgers 4-1 and 11-9 and forcing L.A. Pitcher Don Sutton to admit, "The Cincinnati Reds are the best team." The Dodgers sprinted into the Cincinnati series after taking two from the Giants and two from the Braves, but the Reds stole their starting blocks. Cincy Outfielder Pete Rose, a cinch for the league batting title and a strong candidate for MVP, got his 225th hit. He broke a club mark of 219 set in 1905 and the league mark by a switch hitter of 223 set by Frankie Frisch in 1923.
Manager Sparky Anderson continued to do magical things with the Reds' lineup. George Foster, who had gone hitless in eight at bats early in the week, was rested a day and then got six hits in seven trips in two games, including three home runs. Foster revealed he had undergone hypnotic treatment. "I learned I was carrying too much hatred and resentment inside of me about not playing," he said. "Now only the future counts."
The Giants beat the Reds 7-5, giving Ron Bryant his 23rd victory and making him the winningest lefty in the club's last 37 years (Carl Hubbell won 26 in 1936). "I'm not getting my hopes up about the Cy Young Award," said Bryant. "A lot of people said I'd be in the All-Star Game, too, and I wasn't." Another happy fellow on the club was Pitcher Randy Moffitt, who won a load of $2 wagers on his tennis-champion sister Billie Jean King to beat Riggs.
The Braves' Henry Aaron hiked his career home-run total to 712 against the Astros Saturday, just two short of tying Babe Ruth's record. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn invited Aaron to throw out the first ball at the World Series. Houston Pitcher Don Wilson, who has had a pretty good season (allowing 178 hits in 230 innings), is the subject of trade rumors. The Padres, 3-5 for the week, were in a state of confusion, not knowing what city they were going to be in next year and not even being sure when this dreary season would end for them. They may have to fly to Pittsburgh for an Oct. 1 makeup game if it would influence the race.
CIN 96-59 LA 90-66 SF 86-69 HOUS 78-78 ATL 74-82 SD 57-98
Chicago, feasting on Montreal, finished the week only 2½ games out in the division race (page 26), prompting Expo Ron Fairly to comment, "The Cubs were eight games in front and couldn't do anything. They turn around and go five games behind and they discover how to play baseball."
The Phils' Steve Carlton (12-19) muffled the Cardinals 3-2 by scattering 10 hits. "The incentive was that I was going for my 20th loss," said Carlton. "Well, I wasn't going for it but I was vulnerable, you know what I mean?" Manager Danny Ozark was rehired for 1974.
The Cards' Rick Wise won his first game in almost two months, beating the Phils 12-3. He had lost six straight.
NY 78-77 PITT 75-76 MONT 75-78 ST. L 76-79 CHI 75-79 PHIL 68-87
Catfish Hunter of the A's became a 20-game winner for the third straight year, besting the Angels 5-4, but Oakland got some bad news, too, while it waited for the playoffs. Bill North, who had stolen 54 bases, suffered a severe ankle sprain and there is concern over whether he will be ready for Baltimore. Manager Dick Williams is also worried about getting Reggie Jackson completely healthy from a severe groin muscle pull.
The White Sox had the big leagues' first 20-game winner this season, Wilbur Wood, and now it has the first 20-game loser, Stan Bahnsen, who gave up five runs in the first inning in a 9-3 loss to the A's. Wood might also reach that unhappy plateau; he has 19 losses to go with his 24 wins.
The Royals momentarily staved off elimination from the race Saturday when Rick Reichardt hit a two-run homer in the last of the 14th inning for a 5-3 win over Texas. Shortstop Fred Patek, mired in the vicinity of .225 most of the season, drove in four runs as Kansas City routed the White Sox 10-3.
Minnesota lost to Vida Blue, then took three straight from Oakland, giving the Twins an 11-4 season edge over the A's. Said Manager Frank Quilici, who has been rehired for 1974, "If we could have played Oakland all year, we might have been in a battle for first place instead of struggling for third."
Only 2,513 fans showed up to see young David Clyde pitch for the Rangers Friday afternoon. Texas lost to California 6-1, but the rookie lasted 8‚Öî innings, and just three of the runs were earned. The Rangers were 3-6 for the week. The Angels' Nolan Ryan continued his hot pitching, striking out seven Rangers and pushing his season total to 355. During the week he broke Bob Feller's all-time American League strikeout record of 348. He also improved his won-loss record to 19-16.
OAK 91-64 KC 84-71 MINN 77-77 CHI 75-80 CAL 73-81 TEX 54-101
Al Bumbry tied a 34-year-old league record by hitting three triples, and Tommy Davis went 4 for 5 as the Orioles clinched the division title with a 7-1 victory over Milwaukee. It was their fourth division championship in five years. "I felt all along we had the best talent and today we proved it," said General Manager Frank Cashen. "Earl Weaver is the guy I'm particularly happy for. He stuck with guys like Earl Williams and Brooks Robinson earlier in the year when they were going bad, and he was vindicated." Said Weaver: "The team we have now is capable of winning six divisional titles in the next 10 years—easy. That would make 10 in 15 years, and if anyone doesn't think that's a dynasty...." After a modest pause Weaver continued, "Winning this title is like '69 all over again, because we've got so many kids on the team who haven't gone through it before."
Tommy Harper stole his 49th base Saturday for second-place Boston, but the talk in the Hub was more about the possibility of Manager Eddie Kasko being replaced by Darrell Johnson, whose Pawtucket Red Sox won the Junior World Series from Tulsa. Ken Aspromonte will stay on as Cleveland's manager, but Coaches Rocky Colavito, Joe Lutz and Warren Spahn will be replaced. Ex-Indian hero Colavito hopes to get back into TV work.
Milwaukee's Don Money raised his average to .286 and brought big smiles to the faces of Manager Del Crandall and the rest of the Brewmasters, who had been criticized for tearing apart their pitching staff in the trade that brought Money from the Phillies. As late as June 16 of this season, Money was batting, if that is the word, .198. Crandall not only raved about his hitting, but his throwing and base running, too.
The Yankees were 1-5 for the week, and it might have been worse except for two days off. Boston beat them twice in Fenway Park and upped its season record against New York to 14-4 (8-1 in Fenway). Tiger John Hiller, who suffered a heart attack early in 1971, broke Clay Carroll's major league record for saves with his 38th, holding off the Red Sox for 3‚Öî innings in a 5-1 game. He has figured in 47 of Detroit's 82 wins. "Just coming back was the big thing," says Hiller. "I figured anything I could do after that was a plus I had no right to expect." Al Kaline, out of the lineup since Aug. 30 because of a muscle pull, returned Friday and hit a homer his first time up. He also got two doubles on Saturday.
BALT 92-62 BOST 83-71 DET 82-72 NY 75-79 MIL 72-82 CLEV 68-86