It was one of the most memorable lines ever to grace a major league box score:
The day after Rennie Stennets of the Pirates (5-3) wrote it, however, it was virtually forgotten. It should not be, nor should Pittsburgh's 22-0 destruction of Chicago at Wrigley Field that day, the most lopsided shutout since Providence trampled Philadelphia 28-0 in 1883. Stennett's feat was rarer than slugging four homers in a game (that has been done nine times) or pitching a no-hitter, of which there have been 102 in the NL and 80 in the AL. Only once before had anyone had seven hits in seven at bats in a nine-inning game, and that was back in 1892 when Catcher Wilbert Robinson and Baltimore drubbed St. Louis and a 25-year-old named Cy Young by a score of 25-4. Robinson's hits were six singles and a double. Stennett, in his first six times up, had four singles and two doubles. Then in the eighth he hit an opposite-field liner to right for a triple. And Stennett was not through. In Philadelphia the next day he legged out infield hits in his first two at bats and, after finally being retired, singled to right in the seventh. Stennett's nine straight hits in two games tied a modern mark, and his 10 hits in those two contests established a post-1900 record that fell two short of Cal McVey's alltime high in the league's first season, 1876. Although just 24, Stennett is already one of the smoothest-fielding second baseman in the majors, and his hitting spree helped raise his average to .291, exactly what he hit a year ago.
As for the race, the Mets and Cards were eliminated; the struggling Phillies (4-3) trailed the Pirates by six games. The Phillies lived and died by the home run. They beat the Pirates 4-1 as Mike Schmidt hit his 37th and Greg Luzinski his 33rd. Then, despite Schmidt's 38th and Luzinski's 34th, the Phillies lost to the Mets 9-7 when Ron Hodges slugged a two-run homer in the 11th. More homers—Dave Kingman's club-record 35th and Rusty Staub's 18th—carried the Mets (4-3) past the Cubs 7-5. And New York's Mike Vail tied the league mark for rookies by hitting in 23 consecutive games.
Doubles by Jerry Morales and Jose Cardenal in the ninth enabled Chicago (2-6) to beat Pittsburgh 6-5. Another double, by Reggie Smith of the Cardinals (3-4), brought a 7-6 defeat of the Phillies. After losing three one-run games, including a 4-3 affair to the Mets on an 18th-inning walk, the Expos took four in a row.
PITT 88-65 PHIL 82-72 ST. L 79-75
NY 79-76 CHI 73-83 MONT 69-85
It's been this kind of a year for Atlanta (1-6): Dusty Baker, who had four hits and five RBIs in a 12-0 laugher over San Francisco, announced he wanted to be traded. In Atlanta that is not so surprising. The Atlanta Journal reported that 11 Braves have asked to be traded. Oh well, it is said that the Braves' management wants to trade 18.
Pitching news: Randy Jones of San Diego (0-6) twice missed getting his 20th win. Jack Billingham, who wants playoff assignments for Cincinnati (5-2), may have lost the chance. Hit hard again, he has a 7.20 ERA in his last six starts. And Burt Hooton of Los Angeles (5-1), after earning his 11th straight victory, missed getting a club-record 12th in a row when he was yanked after 11 innings against Houston. The Dodgers went on to take the game 5-4 in 13 innings on Lee Lacy's single and Jim Wynn's run-producing double.
San Francisco (5-2) zapped Atlanta 7-6 on a ninth-inning single by Willie Montanez and put down San Diego 3-1 on Gary Matthews' three-run homer in the first. A pinch single in the 12th by Ken Boswell lifted the Astros (3-2) past the Dodgers, 6-5.
CIN 102-53 LA 85-70 SF 76-79
SD 68-86 ATL 66-90 HOUS 61-93
Oakland (4-3) romped to a 16-4 defeat of Kansas City that clinched a tie for first place. Vida Blue earned the win, his 20th; Rollie Fingers pitched the ninth inning, his major league-leading 71st appearance; and Billy Williams hit his 23rd homer.
The Royals were also 4-3 on the week but there was no fire left in Chicago (2-5), which was bumped out of fourth place by Minnesota (5-2). One of the better bumpers was Craig Kusick, whose three-run pinch homer toppled the Angels 4-3 and raised the team's pinch-hitting average to .314. Jim Hughes registered his 15th and 16th victories, the most for any rookie this season.
David Clyde, the phenom of 1973, returned to the Rangers (3-4) at age 20 and might have won had he not turned an Angel bunt into a two-run error. The Angels lost the game 3-2. California (3-4) beat Texas the next day in an untypical way. Andy Etchebarren sealed it with a three-run homer, only the 54th four-bagger all year for the Angels.
OAK 94-60 KC 86-68 TEX 76-80
MINN 72-79 CHI 71-82 CAL 70-85
While Baltimore and Boston battled, Cleveland clung to faint hopes of displacing the Yankees from third place. At week's end the Indians (3-3) had won 22 of their last 33 games. Most responsible for the surge was Fritz Peterson, who beat New York 3-2 for his 10th consecutive triumph. Catfish Hunter of New York (3-2) gained his 22nd win by downing Cleveland 6-2. And later the Yankees frustrated the Brewers 6-5 by scoring two runs with two out in the ninth to tie the score at 2-all and then adding four more in the 11th inning.
Gerry Augustine of Milwaukee (1-5) beat New York 5-2 in his big-league debut but flunked the rookie test given him by team prankster Jim Colborn. Told to report to it by Colborn, Augustine showed up for a post-game TV show that never was.
On Appreciation Day the Tigers (2-4) paid tribute to their five 10-year players: Gates Brown, Mickey Stanley, Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan. Alas, the Tigers lost to the Orioles 9-3. But Lolich gave Tiger rooters something to appreciate when he stopped the Red Sox 5-1.
BOS 91-63 BALT 87-66 NY 79-74
CLEV 74-76 MIL 64-91 DET 57-97