Several players were into Pyramid Power, a fad among athletes that is based on John Wood-en's "Pyramid of Success." Dodger utility man Ted Sizemore built a makeshift pyramid in his locker, then went 4 for 4 as Los Angeles (3-3) nipped Atlanta 2-1. Relying on his arm and bat rather than gimmicks, Rick Rhoden (7-0) beat the Braves 5-2, setting up the go-ahead run in the seventh with his second hit of the game and 13th in 36 at bats (.361) this season.
With his average in the .230s, Johnny Bench of the Reds (3-3) was willing to try anything, so he hung an aluminum pyramid above his locker. Bench struck out four times in the first game of a doubleheader against Houston, before doubling in two runs to tie the score at 7-7 in the 11th inning. The Astros (4-2) won that game 10-8 on Cesar Cedeno's two-run homer in the 14th. Cedeno, who had seven hits during the twin bill, settled the nightcap with a two-run double in the eighth. That gave Joaquin Andujar, a former Cincy farmhand, a 3-2 victory, his fourth win of the year and third over the Reds. When Andujar stopped them the first time, Cincinnati Manager Sparky Anderson said, "Every dog has his day." After beating Cincy again, Andujar was dubbed Poochie by Astro fans. Following his latest triumph, one Red said, "He treats us like a fire hydrant."
"We're for real, and we know it," said John McNamara, the San Diego (4-2) skipper. McNamara's band got a win from Randy Jones (page 20) and two from Brent Strom to move within five games of first.
July 11, 1976
San Francisco (1-4) continued to slump, despite Manager Bill Rigney's new rules: no golf on game days, no beards, a two-hour curfew after road games. As soon as the new regulations were announced, the Giants made four errors in a 4-3 loss to the Astros.
Andy Messersmith of Atlanta (2-3) pitched his seventh straight complete game, stopping San Francisco 7-2 for his eighth victory of the season.
CIN 46-31 LA 42-36 SD 41-36 HOUS 36-41 ATL 35-41 SF 31-48
Chicago Owner P. K. Wrigley certainly knows that all bubbles must burst sometime. But that was small consolation last week as his Cubs (0-5) doubled his trouble, losing both big (13-3) and small (2-1) to New York and inflating their latest series of defeats to seven. Wrigley said his players were "looking like a bunch of clowns," though obviously not of the sort who make him laugh.
However, Manager Joe Frazier was all smiles as his Mets (5-0) upped their winning streak to eight. "If a better lefthander exists, I haven't seen him," said Frazier of Jon Matlack. The Cardinals saw Matlack but they could not hit him, losing 13-0 as he gained his 10th win and fourth shutout.
Bob Boone of Philadelphia (3-1) cashed in on a long hit and a short one, socking a grand slam as Jim Lonborg downed St. Louis 6-2 and dropping down a suicide squeeze bunt in the ninth to edge Montreal 2-1.
Pittsburgh (4-1) got strong batting from Al Oliver, a three-hit 10-1 win over Chicago from John Candelaria and a pinch homer in the 10th from Bill Robinson for a 10-9 defeat of Philadelphia.
Woodie Fryman of Montreal (1-3) hung on for a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh, his 100th major league win.
With attendance down 200,000 and the Cardinals scoreless for 23 innings, Lynn McGlothen provided the only bright spot for St. Louis (1-4), blanking Montreal 3-0.
PHIL 50-21 PITT 42-29 NY 41-37 ST.L 32-42 CHI 30-44 MONT 24-44
Boston Manager Darrell Johnson revamped his lineup, putting Steve Dillard at shortstop, benching Catcher Carlton Fisk in favor of Bob Montgomery, shifting Rico Petrocelli from third base to second and using former University of Alabama Quarterback Butch Hobson at third. Fresh from the minors, Hobson immediately gave Johnson no choice except to keep playing him by doubling and homering in his first game, a 12-8 romp over the Orioles. Rick Wise of the Sox (4-2) tossed his second one-hitter in two weeks, defeating Baltimore 2-0.
Also stopping Baltimore by a 2-0 score was Dave Roberts of Detroit (4-1). The Tigers rallied from four runs back to beat the Yankees 7-5 and clipped the Red Sox 4-2, even though Manager Ralph Houk goofed by listing two designated hitters on his lineup card and was obliged to let starting Pitcher Frank MacCormack bat for himself.
Cleveland (4-2) gained on New York (3-3) as George Hendrick walloped four homers and Pat Dobson (10-5) won twice. Graig Nettles had five RBIs as the Yankees took a doubleheader from the Brewers, and Catfish Hunter beat the Indians 7-1.
Manager Earl Weaver of Baltimore (2-5) gave Jim Palmer extra rest so he could face Boston, a team he had beaten three times without a loss this season. It was to no avail as Palmer was bombed for six runs in a 12-8 loss. Working on his regular schedule, Palmer (10-7) then defeated Detroit 2-1.
"We want Henry," chanted the crowd, hoping Henry Aaron would pinch hit for Bernie Carbo when the Brewers (1-5) had two on and two out in the bottom of the 10th during a tie game against the Red Sox. Instead the crowd got Carbo, whose single finished off his former teammates 6-5.
NY 44-27 CLEV 37-34 DET 35-36 BOS 35-36 BALT 35-38 MIL 26-42
"It was the most gratifying game I've ever played," said Hal McRae of Kansas City (4-2) after a 1-0 win over Minnesota. McRae preserved Al Fitzmorris' shutout with two diving catches in left field, then singled in the 10th inning and scored the game's only run on a sacrifice fly by Fred Patek. While Detroit's Mark (The Bird) Fidrych received boisterous acclaim for beating the Yanks, Doug (The Real) Bird quietly matched Fidrych's record (8-1) as the Royals nudged the Angels 5-4.
It was an abnormally calm week in Oakland. Joe Rudi and Vida Blue, two of the three "traded" A's, whom Owner Charlie Finley was coerced into playing after their teammates threatened to strike, were unproductive, but the third, Reliever Rollie Fingers, picked up his 10th save and fourth win. Even more valuable to the A's (3-3) was Sal Bando, who hit six homers and took over the league lead with 17.
"From here on he should be the best pitcher in the league for a lot of years," said Gay-lord Perry of Texas (2-3) after teammate Bert Blyleven recently won his second straight 10-inning 1-0 contest. Last week Blyleven was in yet another 1-0 game, a loss to Chicago (2-3). Earning that victory was Bart Johnson, a winner in seven straight starts against the Rangers.
California Manager Dick Williams fined himself $100 after he absentmindedly listed Nolan Ryan instead of Gary Ross as his starting pitcher against Chicago. Baseball rules required Ryan to face at least one batter. After Ryan retired the lead-off hitter, Ross came on, and the Angels (3-2) won 2-1.
The Twins (2-3) hired an advertising agency to promote ticket sales, which are down 24,000 from last year. But the best ticket-sellers—victories—were hard to come by as Minnesota hit no homers.
KC 45-28 TEX 40-31 OAK 37-39 CHI 34-38 MINN 34-39 CAL 32-46
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
AL OLIVER: "The best string of hits I've ever had" is the way the Pittsburgh centerfielder described his 15-for-23 (.652) spree that drove across nine runs and raised his batting average to .366, the highest in the majors.