Philadelphia's Shortstop Larry Bowa proved he is a good listener. "During batting practice, Pete Rose told me I was hitting the ball like a girl," Bowa says. "He told me I'd never take much of a ride on one of my hits." Before the three-game series against the Reds was over, it was Bowa who was needling Rose. Although he had hit only four homers in the past seven seasons—one for every 1,024 at bats—Bowa swung like a man and sent the ball over the fence as the Phillies (3-3) took the first game of the series 10-4 to end a nine-game, two-season losing streak against Cincy. Then, after walloping the first grand slam of his career in the seventh inning of a 15-9 Phillie victory the next night, Bowa could not resist getting in a few words to Rose as he rounded third base. "You can take a long ride on that one, Pete," he said. (Making Bowa's homer even more stunning was the fact that it was the first grand slam allowed in 21 years of pitching by Reliever Joe Hoerner.)
Bowa's listening paid off in another way. During the previous week's 3-2 loss to Cincy's Fred Norman, Bowa was told by Umpire Billy Williams, "You guys are swinging at his motion, and you're all way out in front of the ball." Bowa relayed the advice to his teammates, who shelled Norman in the 10-4 victory. Mike Schmidt kept up his robust slugging by hitting four homers, giving him 19 for the season, and Steve Carlton got his 100th win for Philadelphia and his 177th overall when he stopped Atlanta 4-2 on six hits.
It was almost time to rename the Pirates the Pittsburgh Slumber Company. But after manufacturing only 13 runs in their last six games, the Bucs' batters started to hammer away. In their next six games, the Pirates (5-2) scored 39 runs. Pittsburgh ended a seven-game losing streak by overcoming San Diego 5-3 when Phil Garner snapped a 3-3 tie in the eighth with a homer. Wayne Twitchell of Montreal silenced the Pirates with seven innings of perfect pitching, but Bill Robinson opened the eighth with a single and the Bucs went on to score four runs in the inning. Pittsburgh finally caught the Expos at 5-5 on Bobby Tolan's ninth-inning pinch hit and won 6-5 in the 10th, when Garner doubled and Robinson singled him home. Bruce Kison nailed the Expos 10-2 the next day, and for the first time this season, he finished without a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Blisters had plagued Kison since he broke his fingernail in spring training. To try to toughen the nail, he had taken cod-liver oil, wheat germ, vitamin E. He even had a manicurist fit the finger with a ceramic nail, which fell off when he pitched. When Kison faced the Expos, his nail had grown sufficiently, and he went the distance without trouble.
July 3, 1977
Bobby Murcer of Chicago (5-1) enjoyed a rousing homecoming during his first game at Candlestick Park since he was traded from San Francisco. He slammed two doubles and a home run and drove in six runs. However, the Cubs did not finish off the Giants until the 12th inning, when Mick Kelleher drove in the go-ahead run with a triple. Also helping to keep the Cubs in first place was Rick Reuschel (10-2), who beat the Mets 5-0.
New York (2-3) scrambled past Montreal and out of the basement, thanks to Craig Swan's 8-2 win over Houston and a dramatic 5-2 verdict over Atlanta. Ed Kranepool tied the latter game at 2-2 when he homered in the last of the ninth. Then Steve Henderson, one of the players acquired in the Tom Seaver trade, hit a three-run homer in the 11th. Beleaguered M. Donald Grant, the man who engineered the Seaver deal, was so enthused by Henderson's poke that he bounded out of his box seat and onto the field to congratulate the new leftfielder.
Steve Rogers and Gary Carter of Montreal (2-4) excelled during a 6-0 defeat of Houston. Rogers (9-5) allowed only four singles in pitching his third shutout. Carter got four hits that day and batted .435 during the week.
For Eric Rasmussen of St. Louis (3-3), there was no place like home. His five-hit 7-1 victory over Philadelphia gave him a 6-3 record at Busch Stadium. On the road, he is 0-5. Bob Forsch (9-4) also defeated the Phillies, winning 3-2 with the aid of Ted Simmons' two-run homer and Rawly Eastwick's first save as a Cardinal. A pinch single in the 10th by Lou Brock resulted in a 4-3 win in Los Angeles. Ace Pitcher John Denny was again placed on the disabled list because of a pulled left hamstring.
CHI 44-22 PITT 37-29 ST. L 37-31 PHIL 36-31 NY 29-39 MONT 28-38
Welcome Tom Terrific said a Riverfront Stadium banner as the Reds (2-4) met the Dodgers (4-2) in the opener of a four-game series. Noticing the sign, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda doffed his cap and bowed to the crowd. Then the real Tom Terrific, Tom Seaver, made his first start for the Reds in Cincinnati, where he had not won since June 1972. Los Angeles welcomed him with two runs in the first. The most terrific Tom that night was Tommy John of the Dodgers, who allowed 10 hits but only two fly balls, one a homer, as he won 3-2. That victory increased the Dodger lead over the Reds to 9½ games.
When the phone rang at Johnny Bench's house the next morning, it was answered by his mother, who was visiting from Oklahoma. "John can't come to the phone now," she told the caller. "He's eating biscuits and home-run gravy." Fortified by mom's cooking, Bench slammed his 15th and 16th home runs that afternoon as the Reds won 7-6. During the week, Bench had eight RBIs, Dan Driessen batted .550 and Ken Griffey .407. George Foster's two homers and 10 RBIs gave him the league lead in both categories with 20 and 64, but Steve Garvey of the Dodgers was not far behind. He slugged his 15th and 16th home runs and raised his RBI total to 63 by driving in 10 runs. Rick Rhoden (10-3) beat St. Louis 9-3 as the Dodgers eased the way for him by hitting four homers.
After 10 straight road losses, Atlanta (3-2) finally emerged victorious, beating New York 4-1 as Phil Niekro gave up 11 hits but stranded 12 runners. Back at home, the Braves overcame a 5-0 Padre lead and won 9-8, Junior Moore capping a pair of three-run rallies with a single in the ninth and a double in the 10th.
Three rookie lefthanders had impressive victories. Bob Knepper, 23, of San Francisco (3-5) threw only 81 pitches against the Pirates, yielded five singles and did not permit a man past first base as he won 8-0. Bob Owchinko, 22, was on the verge of achieving a San Diego rarity, a complete game. Two outs from that goal, however, he gave up a hit and a walk and was replaced by Dan Spillner, who protected his 6-2 win over St. Louis. Thus, the Padres (1-5) still have had only one complete game all season. (Every other team in the majors has at least six.) Randy Jones, who led both leagues last season with 25 complete performances, was placed on the disabled list because his pitching arm is still weak. The third young lefty who pitched well was Floyd Bannister, 22, of Houston (4-3), the No. 1 choice in the 1976 free-agent draft. Bannister muzzled the Expos 7-0 on a four-hitter and struck out eight. After four days off to rest a pulled hamstring, Bob Watson returned to the Astro lineup and hit for the cycle. Nevertheless, it took an 11th-inning double by Jose Cruz to defeat the Giants 6-5.
LA 46-24 CIN 36-31 SF 32-40 HOUS 31-41 SD 31-43 ATL 26-44
During a doubleheader sweep of Oakland, First Baseman Lamar Johnson made Chicago fans stand up and take notice in more ways than one. Johnson first brought the crowd to its feet by singing the national anthem and then by getting all three White Sox hits in the first game—two homers and a double—as Chicago won 2-1. Francisco Barrios' 5-1 victory in the second game lifted the Sox (5-3) into first place.
Then came a showdown against the Twins (3-4), who had been on top of the West from April 30 until the White Sox took command. Minnesota regained the lead with a 7-6 win as Larry Hisle drove in five runs and Lyman Bostock homered in the bottom of the eighth. The Twins might have lost had Chicago's Ralph Garr not been denied a home run by a base-path blunder. Two runners were aboard when Garr drilled a ball to deep right field. Jim Essian thought Dan Ford of the Twins had caught the ball, so he hustled back to first base. Garr, who thought the ball was still in play, zipped around Essian on his way to second and was automatically out. Both Sox were wrong; the ball had cleared the fence. In the second game against the White Sox, the Twins were stymied by Chris Knapp, who won 8-1 to lift Chicago into first place by two percentage points.
Home runs led to all the wins as Texas won three of seven. Toby Harrah's ninth homer zapped the Twins 2-1, Claudell Washington's three-run clout beat Minnesota 10-8 and Ken Henderson's blast trimmed the Angels 1-0 in 10 innings. The loser in that game was Frank Tanana, who earlier had earned his sixth shutout and 11th win by beating Milwaukee 7-0. Tanana could easily be 15-0, but in his four losses his California (3-3) teammates have scored only twice. One of the few Angels who hit well was Bobby Bonds, a .476 batter.
Seattle (4-3) squirmed out of the cellar as Ruppert Jones walloped a two-out two-run homer in the ninth to stun Texas 2-1 and then hit two more to down Milwaukee 8-3. Jones now has 16 home runs and a crack at the league record for a rookie (37), set in 1950 by Cleveland's Al Rosen.
The A's (1-6) appeared to be on the rise when they hammered out 16 hits and beat the White Sox 7-1. But for the rest of the week Oakland batted a feeble .182 and slowly sank in the West.
Fred Patek of Kansas City got a standing ovation—"my biggest thrill in baseball"—when he picked up his 1,000th hit. Thus inspired, Patek stole the 295th base of his career on the next pitch and moments later scored as the Royals beat the Mariners 4-3. John Mayberry's 11th homer helped Dennis Leonard knock off Oakland 3-0, and his double in the eighth clipped Minnesota 8-7. A fan wrote George Brett that the reason he was hitting poorly was because "you've got that big chaw of tobacco in your left cheek. It's interfering with your play and your concentration." The Royals' front office agreed, so Brett chucked the chaw and batted .419.
CHI 38-30 MINN 39-31 KC 35-33 TEX 33-33 CAL 33-33 SEA 33-42 OAK 29-38
"It was unbelievable," said Reggie Jackson of New York (3-3) after, a 12-11 win in Detroit. The Yankees, who had lost five in a row, built a 7-2 lead in that game as Cliff Johnson hit the first home run by a New Yorker in 202 at bats. But then the Tigers connected for four homers and led 10-7. In the eighth, Graig Nettles ended an 0-for-14 slump with a three-run homer, and Jackson added a two-run double as the Yankees struggled back to win. The next night Jackson was scratched from the lineup at the last minute by Manager Billy Martin. Martin explained the move by saying that Jackson had just had his eyes examined and his vision was blurry. Jackson, who has not been seeing eye to eye with Martin all season, did not agree with the diagnosis. At General Manager Gabe Paul's request, Jackson's eyes were checked during the game by Team Physician Dr. Maurice Cowen, who found the slugger's vision to be fine. Notified of this, Martin inserted Jackson late in the game, and he delivered the winning hit in a 6-5 come-from-behind win which led off a three-game sweep of the 5-2 Red Sox (page 10) in New York.
Amid harmony and hits, Cleveland (7-1) surged into fourth place, while Baltimore (2-6) dropped to third. The Orioles ended a six-game losing streak by taking a double-header from Toronto. Dennis Martinez was a 5-2 winner in the opener, and Ross Grimsley took the second game 3-1.
Mark Fidrych of Detroit (3-4) won his fourth and fifth games in a row. First he handcuffed the Yankees 2-1, allowing only three hits. Despite issuing his first walk in 33 innings, the Bird then beat the Indians 6-4 with the aid of a three-run homer in the first by Rusty Staub and a two-run triple in the eighth by Jason Thompson.
Don Money of Milwaukee (3-2), who set five major league, four National League and five American League records as a third baseman, got his name in the record book two more times as a second baseman. His 12 assists in one game set a league record and tied the major league high. In addition to his fine fielding, Money batted .526. Rookie Lary Sorensen was a 7-1 victor over Seattle on the day Money was so busy in the field, the third straight complete-game win for the Brewers. Jim Slaton started the streak with a 12-1 defeat of the A's as the Brewers had their most productive inning ever, an eight-run fourth. Jerry Augustine then stopped Oakland 5-1.
Dave Lemanczyk got Toronto's only two wins in eight games. Both times he victimized the Orioles, 7-1 on a five-hitter and 5-4 when Roy Howell drove in the winning run in the ninth.
BOS 41-27 NY 39-31 BALT 37-33 CLEV 33-32 MIL 34-36 DET 30-37 TOR 25-43
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ROD CAREW: The Minnesota first baseman was even more torrid than usual at the plate, going 15 for 28 (.536). He raised his average to .396 and, by building a 50-point lead, he began zeroing in on his sixth batting title.