Excellent relief pitching was the primary reason why the East was 22-2 against the West. Skip Lockwood helped keep New York (5-2) in first with three superb appearances, and Dave Kingman supplied 10 RBIs and hit his 10th, 11th and 12th homers.
The Cardinals (4-2) ended a 13-game road trip during which their bullpen figured in all seven wins. By yielding just one run in 15 innings last week, the relief staff of Mike Wallace, Al Hrabosky, Danny Frisella, Harry Rasmussen and Mike Proly finished the trip with a 1.15 ERA.
For Philadelphia (4-1) the bullpen ace was Gene Garber, who gave up just two hits in nine innings as he registered a win and two saves. Bobby Tolan (.412, three homers, nine RBIs) was an able replacement for injured Dick Allen.
May 16, 1976
Bob Moose Larry Demery and Dave Giusti preserved three wins for Pittsburgh (5-1). The Pirates also got strong starting pitching as Bruce Kison beat the Giants 6-1 and John Candelaria topped the Braves 3-1.
Dale Murray of the Expos (2-2) came out of the bullpen to hurl seven scoreless innings, cut his ERA to 1.42 and increase his consecutive innings without a homer to 179.
Dependable relievers? The Cubs (2-4) wished they had some. Even one. Chicago pitchers were rapped for 50 runs. Jose Cardenal, who hit .500, won a 6-5 struggle against the Giants with his sixth hit of the game, a single in the 14th.
NY 18-9 PHIL 13-7 PITT 14-9 ST.L 12-13 CHI 11-15 MONT 8-14
While other teams tried to change their luck by resorting to such things as a good-luck shower, a kiss, a somersault and a team meeting, the Dodgers continued to roll along. Doug Rau moved Los Angeles (4-0) into first place by defeating St. Louis 3-1, then Mike Marshall notched his fourth, fifth and sixth saves as the Dodgers hammered the Cubs 9-6 and 14-12 (hitting seven homers) and the Phillies 10-8 to run their victory streak to 12. Los Angeles hit a resounding .328, with Steve Yeager and Bill Russell batting .500 and Ron Cey driving in nine runs.
Slumping Dave Concepcion of Cincinnati (3-3) showered before a game in New York to "wash away the bad luck." That day he ended an 0 for 15 drought with a liner that fell for a triple. In Chicago, Concepcion climbed into a huge clubhouse clothes dryer to warm up. Teammate Pat Zachry playfully shut the door on him and pretended to turn the machine on. One thing went wrong: the dryer went on, and Concepcion got a few scary tumbles before escaping with singed hairs on his legs. Warmed up, he got three hits against the Cubs in a 14-4 triumph.
It was revealed that Atlanta Owner Ted Turner had met with his team before the season and laid out an incentive program. For every win over 81, he promised each Brave $500, and for every 100,000 fans over the break-even point of 900,000, he proposed a 5% bonus on all salaries. The idea may be against baseball's rules, but if the Braves continue their losing ways, the question of legality may be moot. Turner tried to change his team's luck by kissing third base, doing a somersault and winding up in a mock collapse. His Braves did a real collapse, losing six times for a club-record 12 in a row.
Manager Bill Rigney called a team meeting to try to untangle his Giants (0-6). Fired up, they went out and lost to Pittsburgh 3-0.
James Rodney Richard of Houston (2-4) attributed his 5-1 record to hard work. "I'm running two miles in under 10 minutes at times," he said. Richard's increased stamina paid off as he stopped the Mets 5-4 and the Cardinals 3-1.
Three-run homers by Doug Rader provided the winning runs as the Padres (3-2) beat the Pirates 4-2 and the Expos 6-4.
LA 15-10 CIN 14-10 HOUS 13-14 SD 12-13 SF 8-16 ATL 8-17
The Yankees enjoyed a California vacation as they won five of six in the Golden State. Catfish Hunter beat the Angels 10-4, Sparky Lyle saved two games and Chris Chambliss hit .429. And the new-look Bronx Blazers stole 15 more bases, Willie Randolph swiping five and Mickey Rivers four.
Henry Aaron clouted his first home run of the season—the 746th of his career—but could not keep Milwaukee (1-2) from falling 2½ games behind New York. Eduardo Rodriguez earned his fifth save in the Brewers' lone win, a 4-3 defeat of the Twins.
Sharp pitching brought Detroit (2-2) a pair of wins over Chicago. Ray Bare beat the White Sox 5-0 with a one-hitter, and Vern Ruhle combined with Bill Laxton to limit the Sox to six hits in a 7-1 decision.
Cleveland (3-4) lost three one-run games, but salvaged two narrow wins over Oakland. George Hendrick, who batted .448, did in the A's by a 5-4 score with a towering 10th-inning homer, and Alan Ashby sealed a 3-1 win with a two-run single in the ninth.
Wayne Garland of Baltimore (3-3) tossed 10 innings of scoreless relief and in a single week equaled his win total for all of last season with 4-3 verdicts over Oakland and Kansas City. Before batting with the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth of the latter game, Al Bumbry was urged by Manager Earl Weaver to "move up about four inches in the box and, if you get ahead of the pitcher, go for the home run." Four inches and one pitch later, Bumbry deposited the ball in the right-field seats. The Orioles did not give away the shirts off their backs, but before the largest regular-season crowd in their history—51,195 on Jersey Night—they did hand the Royals a 6-3 victory. That left the Birds in fifth place. Bobby Grich was out with tonsilitis, and Reggie Jackson, who had gone 2 for 13 after ending a four-week holdout, was sidelined with a sore wrist. "We could be in worse shape," said Weaver. "We could be the Boston Red Sox."
Ah, yes, the Red Sox (0-5). They became cellar dwellers as their losing streak reached eight games. Said Pitcher Rick Wise, "It's the snowball effect, the domino theory." The Sox might have been better off throwing snowballs or playing dominoes, for their collapse was complete. The batters hit .232, the fielders made five errors and the starting pitchers were bludgeoned for 42 hits and 28 runs in 23‚Öì innings. Through it all, the Sox were able to gaze at mementos of the days when they did things right—their newly received World Series rings.
NY 15-5 MIL 10-6 DET 10-8 CLEV 10-11 BALT 9-12 BOS 6-13
It's nice to have a few friends drop by—at least Bobby Bonds of the Angels (3-4) and Craig Kusick of the Twins think so. Cleveland, which had won at California 13 straight times to tie a league mark for most consecutive victories against one team on the road, led the Angels 4-1 in the eighth. Then up stepped Bonds, with 500 fans from his hometown of Riverside, Calif. looking on. He slammed a three-run homer, and on the next pitch, Bill Melton homered and the Angels won 5-4.
When Minnesota (3-1) played at Milwaukee, Kusick wangled tickets from his teammates for a delegation of 29 from his hometown of Mayville, Wise. He gave his fans a lot to cheer about as he homered, singled and had four RBIs in a 13-2 win.
Home runs also bolstered Kansas City (4-1) as it climbed to second place behind rampaging Texas (page 18). Amos Otis, who hit .421 during the week, socked his first two homers of the season to beat Boston 7-5. John Mayberry also connected for his first home run and had five RBIs as the Royals bopped the Orioles 6-3.
Troubles mounted for the A's (2-5). Reliever Rollie Fingers' fastball continued to be creamed and his ERA soared to 5.00. And the usually reliable Oakland defense made six errors—plus at least as many mental slips—in a 14-4 loss to the Yankees.
Chicago Owner Bill Veeck wasn't singing in the rain, Bad weather has already cost him an estimated 175,000 fans and $750,000. On top of that, his White Sox (1-3) were shut out twice and had just one extra-base hit.
TEX 14-6 KC 10-8 MINN 9-10 OAK 11-13 CHI 6-11 CAL 9-16
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
SKIP LOCKWOOD: In 5‚Öî innings of clutch relief, the Met pitcher struck out eight batters and chalked up three saves. Twice he came in to fan Cincinnati's Johnny Bench, first with the bases loaded and next with two runners on.