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THE WEEK (Aug. 17-23)



For the Pirates it was Babushka Power, for the Phillies it was raw power and for the Cardinals it was the power of persuasion as all three teams won four of six. Back home after a 2-12 road trip, the Pirates were spurred on by babushka-waving fans, and won four in a row. Jerry Reuss got them started by squelching the Giants 4-0. The Phillies tied the Pirates for first for one day, beating the Braves 6-3 behind Mike Schmidt's 27th and 28th homers. Trailing the Padres 5-1, the Phillies again muscled up for a 6-5 verdict as Schmidt and Richie Allen homered. Willie Davis was back in the Cardinal lineup after five days of persuasive discussion to straighten out alimony payments. He hit .529, Bake McBride .440 and John Denny beat Atlanta 8-1 and 7-2.

New York's Tom and Jerry act was productive. Tom Seaver (18-7) won twice, and Jerry Koosman, relieving for the first time in three years, saved two games for the Mets, who split six.

Chicago (3-3) came up with a distinctive Me and Paul brother pitching combination when Rick and Paul Reuschel whitewashed L.A. 7-0. Rookie Paul pitched the final 2‚Öî innings after Rick got a blistered finger. It was the first time brothers had ever teamed up for a shutout. Jose Cardenal tormented the Astros, getting four hits in an 11-7 win and then wrapping up a 6-5 scrap with a successful suicide squeeze in the 11th.

Montreal (4-4) made 12 errors to bring its total to 146 in 126 games. But the Expos were faultless in a 3-1 defeat of the Dodgers. Nate Colbert tied the score with a pinch homer in the ninth, Bob Bailey saved it when he reached into the left-field seats to turn a home run into an out in the 11th and Larry Parrish settled it with a two-run homer in the 12th.

PITT 71-56 PHIL 69-57 ST.L 68-59 NY 65-61 CHI 60-69 MONT 54-72


Saturday was a big day for Mike Sadek, a reserve catcher for the Giants (1-4). Before a game against the Mets he won a bubble gum-blowing contest with a 12½-inch sphere. "Your gum's got to be solid and strong, yet light and yielding," Sadek said. "You must get an even flow of air and get yourself psyched up while remaining cool under pressure. I practiced hard for two days. I was ready." Sadek was also ready in the last of the ninth, when he came up with the bases full and the score 1-1. Four pitches later he wangled a game-winning walk.

For Cincinnati (3-4), though, things got gummed up a bit. After taking two games and stretching their winning streak to nine the Reds managed just five runs in their next four games and lost them all. Dave Concepcion broke a bone in his right wrist and Johnny Bench was bothered by an arthritic shoulder. After going 0 for 20, Bench connected for a three-run homer as the Reds outslugged the Pirates 12-7. Also encouraging was the return of lefthander Don Gullett, who pitched for the first time since breaking his right thumb on June 16. Gullett was un-scored upon in five innings against St. Louis before developing a blister on his pitching hand, and was credited with a 3-2 win.

Burt Hooton, who was 0-2 with the Cubs early in the year, improved his record as a Dodger to 12-7 with two wins. Mike Marshall saved both decisions for him and had a third save as he tossed 9‚Öì innings of three-hit, runless relief before losing 5-2 to Montreal in his sixth appearance of the week.

Atlanta's new shortstop, Rob Belloir, continued to hit. Belloir batted .429 and in a 9-5 defeat of the Cardinals had four RBIs. With the score 4-all in the ninth against the Phils, Belloir singled and scored the deciding run when Dave May hit a two-run pinch homer.

For San Diego (3-4) the timeliest hit was a three-run, tie-breaking double by Enzo Hernandez that finished off Montreal 8-6. But Mike I vie managed to sprain his back while popping up and was put on the disabled list.

James Rodney Richard of Houston (3-3), a 6'8", 220-pounder, finally got it all together, blanking New York 4-0. That proved to be Preston Gomez' final game as manager; he was replaced by Bill Virdon. Cliff Johnson homered in four straight games, one a madcap 14-12 triumph over the Cubs, and also doubled in the clinching run in the 10th as the Astros toppled the Mets 5-4.

CIN 84-43 LA 68-60 SF 62-65 SD 58-69 ATL 57-72 HOUS 49-82


The Indians and Tigers may not have the last laugh, but at least they had a few chuckles last week. Detroit (4-2), which ended the previous week by snapping its celebrated 19-game losing streak, won its first three games. "What's the record for consecutive victories?" inquired one Tiger wag. Detroit then lost twice before slipping past Minnesota 6-5 in 12 innings when Aurelio Rodriguez hit his second homer of the day and the Tigers' fifth. Cleveland (6-1) had the best record of any team in either league and rookie Rick Waits and Fritz Peterson were two-time winners. Waits hurled seven innings of shutout relief as the Indians overcame the Rangers 4-3 and then, in his first major league start, downed the Royals 7-1. Given abundant batting support, Peterson frolicked past the Twins 14-5 and the Royals 9-5.

Milwaukee's Henry Aaron all but said this would be his final season when he stated, "You can only milk a cow so long, then you're left holding the pail." As for the rest of the Brewers (0-7), they were pale indeed.

New York (2-4) ended a five-game losing skid when Catfish Hunter put down California 5-2 for his 17th win.

Boston (3-3) slowed down a trifle but beat Chicago 4-3 on Denny Doyle's 11th-inning hit and trimmed K.C. 5-0 as Bill Lee won for the 16th time. But injury-prone Carlton Fisk was sidelined when a foul tip split the ring finger of his right hand and Rico Petrocelli was out on the disabled list because of an inner-ear problem.

Jim Palmer of Baltimore (4-3) pitched his third shutout in his last four starts and ninth of the year when he stifled Texas 4-0 for his 19th win. He later hurled 12 innings against the Rangers and gave up just five hits but left with the score 2-2. Brooks Robinson doubled in the go-ahead run in the 14th as the Orioles finally won 4-2. And Mike Torrez notched his 15th, beating Texas 8-5.

BOS 76-51 BALT 69-57 NY 64-62 CLEV 58-66 MIL 56-72 DET 51-76


Minnesota Third Baseman Eric Soderholm started the week on top of the world by slugging his 10th and 11th homers. Then he sampled the bottom. Soderholm fell into a sewer hole while inspecting some property he had bought near Burnsville, Minn., broke two ribs and will be out for the rest of the season. Brought up to replace him was Dave McKay. Before joining the Twins McKay was urged by Tacoma teammate Rick Renick to "hit a homer your first time up like I did." And just as Renick had done seven years earlier, McKay homered in his first big-league at bat to help the Twins (3-3) defeat the Tigers 8-4.

"We're still trying to catch Roger Maris," said Angel Manager Dick Williams. California's 43 home runs in 129 games was the lowest total in the majors and put them 14 games behind Maris' 61-homer pace of 1961. Last week the Angels (3-3) did get five homers, all during a three-game sweep of the Brewers. The Angels, who had not had two homers in a game for seven weeks, accomplished that feat two days in a row. Both times their unaccustomed power resulted in 5-4 wins, first when Lee Stanton cracked a three-run drive in the last of the ninth and then when Mike. Miley cleared the fence in the 15th. Adrian Garrett homered in a 6-1 victory in which Nolan Ryan pitched for the first time in 12 days. Ryan, who went 7‚Öî innings and got the win, gave up just three hits and one run, struck out nine and retired 19 batters in a row during one span.

Rich McKinney, Tommy Harper, Larry Haney, Jim Holt and Ted Martinez. All of them got into the starting lineup for the A's, who were hampered by assorted injuries. Still, Oakland (5-2) kept winning. Billy Williams, hitless in 15 previous trips to the plate, had four hits, including his 17th and 18th home runs, as the A's defeated the Brewers 9-3. Oakland's redoubtable relievers continued to excel. In 22 innings they yielded just one earned run and 15 hits, walked four, struck out 16 and chalked up a win and four saves. Ken Holtzman was the only starter to go the route, beating Milwaukee 5-2 for his 15th victory.

"It ain't going to happen again," said Manager Whitey Herzog as he promised Kansas City would not collapse the way it did a year ago. Nonetheless, the Royals (2-4) began to crumble, and fell 8½ games behind the A's.

Chicago (5-2) regained third place from Texas (2-5). Jim Kaat of the White Sox beat the Yankees 2-1 for his sixth sub-two-hour game and 18th win and Rich Gossage earned his 19th and 20th saves. Ferguson Jenkins became a 15-game winner for the Rangers when he muffled the Orioles 1-0.

OAK 78-50 KC 68-57 CHI 63-64 TEX 62-67 MINN 59-69 CAL 58-71