As barn burners go, this one was a blazer: After seven innings of a battle for first place in Atlanta, the Dodgers had 17 hits, four of them homers, but didn't have the lead. The Braves (4-3), who had three round-trippers, got three innings of one-hit pitching from Gene Garber down the stretch and won 12-11. Atlanta did it with three singles in the 10th—by Claudell Washington (his fifth hit of the game), Rafael Ramirez and Dale Murphy. Three more homers, one a grand slam by Bruce Benedict, carried Atlanta past L.A. 10-3 the next day. The loser was Fernando Valenzuela, who during his two seasons in the bigs has been shelled for 21 earned runs in 25‚Öî innings in Atlanta. For the week, the Dodgers (5-2) batted .315, with Dusty Baker hitting .484 and driving across eight runs and Steve Garvey getting 14 ribbies.
San Francisco (5-1) bumped San Diego out of third. Along the way, the Giants beat the Braves for the sixth and seventh times in a row, Greg Minton locking up 8-2 and 3-2 decisions with his 25th and 26th saves. Minton picked up No. 27 in relief of Renie Martin in a 5-1 win over Houston. Al Holland's four hitless innings of relief sealed an 8-3 victory in San Diego. That left the San Francisco bullpen with an 0.76 ERA for 35‚Öî innings of work during the last 11 games, nine of them wins. Furthermore, a longtime reliever, Fred Breining, went the route for his second straight triumph since being put in the rotation, this time beating the Padres 5-1. A four-hitter by Chris Welsh enabled San Diego (3-3) to defeat Houston 4-2.
Newcomers were given a shot by the Astros (2-5) and Reds (1-6). The most impressive was Frank DiPino, one of three players Houston got when Don Sutton was traded to Milwaukee on Aug. 30. DiPino whiffed the first four Padres he faced and 10 in all during his five innings as the Astros won 4-3. Outfielder Gary Redus, who fittingly plays for the Reds, swiped four bases in his first six big league games, two as Mario Soto sidetracked the Braves 4-3.
ATL 80-63 LA 80-64 SF 74-68 SD 74-69 HOUS 65-78 CIN 53-90
St. Louis (3-3) clung to first as Joaquin Andujar and Bob Forsch were 1-0 winners over Montreal. But Ozzie Smith, who's suffering from a hemorrhage in his right thigh, may be out for the rest of the season.
The Phillies (3-3) batted .327 and got three homers from Mike Schmidt and two game-winning hits from Bill Robinson and one from Garry Maddox. Two saves by Jeff Reardon kept Montreal (4-2) rolling.
"Get out there and play ball. You're not retired yet." After hearing those words from President Reagan during a phone call on Willie Stargell Day, Stargell went 2 for 4 last week as a pinch hitter for the Pirates (4-2). His two-run pinch double helped defeat Philadelphia 10-9.
With his latest homer, Leon Durham of Chicago (1-5) became the first Cub since Frank (Wildfire) Schulte in 1911 to reach the 20s in both homers and steals in one season. The Mets (3-3) began a drive to escape the cellar as Dave Kingman had 10 RBIs and, with three homers, took over the major league lead with 36. No. 35 was the first inside-the-park home run of Kingman's career.
ST.L 79-62 PHIL 79-63 MONT 77-65 PITT 76-66 CHI 61-82 NY 56-84
More than ever, Fred Lynn of the Angels (4-2) didn't want to swing and miss when he pinch-hit in the eighth against the Blue Jays. A miss, Lynn knew, might aggravate his fractured rib, which had caused him to miss seven games. So Lynn slammed the first pitch for a three-run double that helped make Geoff Zahn (16-7) a 6-2 victor. Brian Downing had five RBIs in an 8-6 defeat of Chicago, and Ken Forsch beat Toronto 4-1 on four hits.
As usual, the Kansas City offense came through for Dennis Leonard, enabling him to breeze past Minnesota 9-3. During Leonard's 17 starts the Royals (3-3) have scored an average 6.6 runs. A 5-0 loss to the Twins (2-5) was doubly painful. One reason was that the Minnesota pitcher, Bobby Castillo, an erstwhile infielder-outfielder, was dropped from the Royals' minor league system in 1974 when K.C. refused to give him a tryout as a pitcher. The other reason was Gary Ward's apparently routine single, which became a three-run homer when the ball rolled past Rightfielder Steve Hammond and went to the wall. On Sunday, the Royals pained the Twins, slamming four homers while winning 18-7.
Chicago (4-2) had the Laws on its side while beating California 7-4 and 5-3, Rudy and Vance Law combining for seven hits in those games. Salome Barojas saved both games for the White Sox, who have won 10 of their last 13 outings. The second win over California went to Rich Dotson; it was his eighth victory in a row. Barojas later chalked up his 18th save when he preserved a 2-0 shutout of Oakland for Jerry Koosman.
One of Koosman's former teammates on the Mets also needed a hand to complete a 2-0 victory. Jon Matlack of Texas (4-3) pitched seven innings of one-hit ball against Minnesota before requiring relief. Rookies George Wright and Pete O'Brien both homered in successive games, the second time in aid of Charlie Hough during a 5-2 defeat of the Mariners.
Four RBIs by Dave Henderson of the Mariners (4-2) carried Gaylord Perry to a 5-2 triumph over the Rangers. Bill Caudill got his 24th save by fanning three straight Royals with the bases loaded in the ninth, to sew up another 5-2 win.
Billyball didn't quite turn into Billybrawl, but Manager Billy Martin of Oakland (1-5) did get in a few licks. Actually, they were kicks that showered dirt on an umpire with whom Martin disagreed. Meanwhile, the A's, who have lost 34 of 56 games, continued to dig their own hole.
KC 81-61 CAL 80-62 CHI 76-65 SEA 67-74 OAK 60-83 TEX 57-85 MINN 50-92
Strokes and streaks—the Orioles (4-3) lost both before resuming their high-flying ways. The Birds, who saw their 10-game win streak go down the tubes when they went 15 innings without a run, finally scored, against the Indians, and won 3-2 in the 13th on Eddie Murray's home run. Mike Flanagan won twice, and Scott McGregor, who'd been 0-5 with a 9.12 ERA in his previous six starts, beat the Yankees 8-2. Four homers gave New York (4-3) a 10-5 triumph that broke Baltimore's streak and Jim Palmer's string of 11 wins. Jerry Mumphrey's four-bagger in the 10th jarred Milwaukee 5-4 and was part of a 12-home run barrage last week by the Yankees. The Bombers have slugged 48 dingers in their last 33 games, 13 by Dave Winfield, who raised his total to 32 with three last week.
Division-leading Milwaukee (3-4) lost two extra-inning games and sorely missed Reliever Rollie Fingers, who has an ailing arm. But Don Sutton shut out Detroit 4-0, and Mike Caldwell ran his career record against New York to 11-3 when he won 5-3.
Three shutouts bolstered Cleveland (4-3). Ed Whitson beat Boston 2-0, Johnny Denny and Bud Anderson combined to whitewash Baltimore 3-0 and Rick Sutcliffe cooled off the Orioles 3-0.
Tight pitching also helped Toronto (3-3) to two victories. Dave Stieb's 14th win was a nine-strikeout, two-hit performance that stymied Oakland 3-1. Jim Clancy and Dale Murray then held off the A's 2-1.
It was a pitcher's dream come true for Mike Torrez of the Red Sox (3-3) as his teammates' bats enabled him to breeze past the Indians 10-3 and the Tigers 13-3. Jim Rice had five RBIs in the first of those games and Gary Allenson five in the second. The latter game was a nightmare for the Tigers (2-4), who made seven errors and issued 11 walks. Detroit, though, was twice a spoiler, beating Milwaukee 6-5 when Tom Brookens homered in the 10th and jolting Boston 6-4.
MIL 84-59 BALT 80-61 BOS 79-62 NY 73-68 DET 71-69 CLEV 68-72 TOR 65-78
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CLAUDELL WASHINGTON: The Atlanta outfielder had nine RBIs, batted .387, belted two homers, beat L.A. 12-11 with a 10th-inning run and jolted Cincinnati 4-3 with a two-run single in the ninth.