Neither rain, nor Dodgers, nor Expos, nor Cubs could stay the Phillies (6-0) from stretching their winning streak to 10 games, one short of the club record. Despite rain delays of 1:03, 2:27 and 1:26, they waded past the Expos during a doubleheader, winning each game 6-1. Larry Christenson won his sixth straight in the opener with a two-hitter. Four homers—two by Greg Luzinski—provided Jim Lonborg with more than enough support in the soggy second game, which ended at 3:25 a.m. with roughly 5,000 of the original crowd of 46,664 on hand. Steve Carlton (17-6) did more than pitch as he stopped the Dodgers 3-1 and the Cubs 10-3. Against Los Angeles he retired eight batters on strikes and 11 on grounders, picked Davey Lopes off first base twice, had two hits and drove in the winning run with a 400-foot sacrifice fly. Against Chicago, Carlton socked a two-run homer. Luzinski added his 30th home run in that contest, and Tim McCarver had his third and fourth. Another pitcher who helped himself at the plate was Jim Kaat, a 10-5 winner over Montreal as he chipped in with a single and two doubles. With Garry Maddox out with a shoulder separation after crashing into a fence, Bake McBride took over in center field, batted .444, had 11 RBIs and beat the Cubs 10-7 with his third homer of the week, a three-run shot in the 11th inning.
Suspensions and injuries left the Pirates shorthanded, but they still won six of eight games. Shortstop Frank Taveras was fined and suspended for five days by League President Chub Feeney for having thrown his bat at Cincinnati Pitcher Joe Hoerner the week before. Outfielder Al Oliver was fined and suspended for four days for his behavior following a play on which he was ruled out by Umpire Bruce Froemming for missing first base on an apparent double. Incensed by the call, Oliver stormed toward Froemming. Pirate Coach Al Monchak intercepted him, but Oliver's momentum caused a collision with the ump. Three injured Pirates contributed to a two-run last of the ninth that overhauled the Cubs 7-6. Rennie Stennett (pulled leg muscle) singled, Phil Garner (jammed wrist) ran for him, and Jim Fregosi (injured finger) hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score. Ed Ott then drove in the winning run with a triple. Ott also had another game-winning blow, a sacrifice fly in the 18th inning that downed the Cubs 2-1. Jim Rooker beat New York 3-2, lashing three hits, stealing third base and scoring the winning run. And the Pirates moved into second place as Jerry Reuss shut out the Mets 2-0 and Bill Robinson hit his 18th homer and drove across four runs in a 9-1 rout.
In a week of altercations and injuries, the Cubs (2-5) suffered the most. Mick Kelleher, Steve Ontiveros and Jose Cardenal all sustained minor wounds during a scuffle with the Padres. The brawl began when San Diego's Dave Kingman barged into Second Baseman Kelleher to break up a double play. Other ailing Cubs were Joe Wallis (broken finger in a motorcycle crash), Bobby Murcer (bad heel), Bill Bonham (stiff shoulder), Ivan DeJesus (sore forearm), Jerry Morales (aching knee). Rick Reuschel was bothered by a bad back and, after not having yielded an earned run at Wrigley Field in 51 innings, gave up four homers there to the Phillies in 2‚Öì innings. Some of the walking wounded persevered, though. Murcer slugged his 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st homers, and Cardenal his third. And Bill Buckner, who has played with two pulled hamstrings, a sore wrist and a throbbing ankle that was operated on during the off-season, hit two home runs and batted .375. Still, Chicago, which had led by 8½ games on June 28, tumbled to third place.
August 21, 1977
Only half a game behind the Cubs were the Cardinals (5-1), who have had the best record (18-6) in either league since the All-Star break. Butch Metzger continued to excel in relief, saving two games and winning another. In his most recent 10 outings, Metzger has had three wins and six saves. His latest victory came when he held the Expos to one hit in three innings. Mike Anderson gave the Cardinals a 1-0 win with a single in the 10th.
The most serious casualty of the week was Felix Millan of New York (1-7). After Ott of the Pirates slid hard into second base, Millan belted him with a solid right-hand punch. Ott retaliated by slamming Millan to the ground, separating the second baseman's right shoulder and fracturing his collarbone. Only a 4-1 win over St. Louis by Nino Espinosa kept the Mets from an all-losing week.
The Montreal medical report was equally discouraging. Wayne Garrett went on the disabled list with damaged knee ligaments, Dave Cash was knocked out with an ankle sprain, and Ellis Valentine took to crutches because of a swollen ankle. "What we need is a pitcher to go out and throw nine shutout innings," said Expo General Manager Charlie Fox. So Wayne Twitchell pitched nine shutout innings. A lot of good it did. Twitchell was removed from the scoreless game for a pinch hitter, and the Expos went on to lose to the Cardinals 1-0. Warren Cromartie spared the Expos from a winless week when he singled for a 6-5 victory over the Padres.
PHIL 69-44 PITT 68-49 CHI 64-49 ST.L 65-51 MONT 52-64 NY 47-67
"We're going to catch Cincinnati," said rejuvenated Cesar Cedeno of Houston (2-4). Helping to keep the Astros within five games of the Reds (page 16) was Cedeno, who had a homer, a single, four doubles and five RBIs during 8-6 and 7-5 wins in San Francisco. Although bothered by a sore arm, Enos Cabell was also instrumental in those victories, collecting six hits and scoring five times.
There seemed to be no catching the Dodgers (3-4), however. Reggie Smith unloaded his 21st homer, Dusty Baker his 20th, and Rick Rhoden (13-7) blew his fastball past the Reds for a two-hit, 1-0 victory.
Rookie Catcher Gary Alexander hit .438, drove across eight runs and homered twice for San Francisco (4-3). The error-prone Giants did not commit one as they swept a doubleheader from Houston. Jim Barr notched his 11th win and Gary Lavelle his 16th save as the Giants took the opener 4-3, and rookie Bob Knepper won the nightcap 5-0.
Relievers had a hand in all the wins for San Diego (6-2). Rollie Fingers earned his 25th and 26th saves and eighth victory, Dan Spillner preserved an 8-6 decision in Chicago, and Rick Sawyer was a 2-1 winner over Atlanta. Manager Alvin Dark revealed that for more than a month he has had Pitching Coach Roger Craig flash signals to Padre pitchers from the bench. "The pitchers don't like it, but I've only done it when I had a young pitching staff or an inexperienced catcher," Dark said. "Craig is the first pitching coach I've had who has called the signs. He calls the pitches for everyone except [Randy] Jones and Fingers. They know how to pitch." Jones finally gave some indication of being over his arm trouble, giving up three runs and six hits in 5‚Öî innings in an 8-6 win over Atlanta. "I threw the sinker harder than I've thrown it all season, and for the first time since last year I could actually see it sink," said Jones, who got 14 of his 17 outs on grounders. "Now it's just a matter of regaining stamina. I'm not worried about my arm anymore."
"I feel I'm capable of being the best pitcher in the league." No, that was not Randy Jones still talking. That was Dick Ruthven (4-8) of Atlanta after he had beaten Montreal 6-2. "The main thing is to develop myself mentally in order to be in the class with guys like Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton and Don Sutton," Ruthven added. Other Atlanta (2-4) pitchers also displayed a need for development, two of them ending successive 2-1 losses in San Diego by walking Padre batters with the bases loaded. Jeff Burroughs slammed his 29th and 30th homers in losing causes, but Rod Gilbreath hit a grand slam in the top of the ninth and drove in all the Braves' runs in a 5-2 win over the Dodgers.
LA 70-46 CIN 58-57 HOUS 54-63 SF 53-64 SD 53-67 ATL 41-73
The Red Sox (4-1) continued to wallop homers and lengthened their lead to 2½ games. Bernie Carbo snapped a 1-1 tie in Oakland with a home run in the ninth, and Fred Lynn added a three-run drive to make Rick Wise a 5-2 victor. Carbo also clouted a two-run pinch homer in the eighth for an 11-10 win over the Angels, who had led 10-5 in the seventh. Jim Rice's 30th homer—his 20th at Fenway Park—aided Wise as he won again, this time 7-2 over Seattle. Then the Sox connected for four home runs as they trounced the Mariners 13-6. George Scott, Butch Hobson and Dwight Evans hit successive homers in that game, the 14th time the Sox have hit two or more consecutive homers in one inning this season. The 1964 Twins hold the league record of 15.
Tight pitching and clutch hitting gave Baltimore (5-2) a lift. Ross Grimsley allowed only four singles as he defeated Cleveland 3-1. Jim Palmer, who got a shot of cortisone for his aching arm, silenced Oakland 6-1 with a two-hitter. Homers by Ken Singleton and Elliott Maddox made Rudy May a 5-4 winner over Seattle. The Orioles' other May—Lee—polished off the Mariners 4-3 with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth.
Mike Torrez and Reggie Jackson had their finest weeks for New York (5-1). Pitching with the three days' rest he prefers, Torrez beat Seattle 7-1 and defeated Oakland 3-0 on two hits. Jackson hit his 20th and 21st homers, threw two runners out from right field and ran the bases aggressively. Chris Chambliss hit three home runs, two as Catfish Hunter beat the Angels 10-1 on a six-hitter.
Detroit (4-3) held a two-game lead over Cleveland in the fight for fourth place. Dave Rozema beat Milwaukee for his 12th triumph, and Milt Wilcox held off Minnesota 2-1 as Steve Foucault came on to earn his second save of the week. For offense, the Tigers relied on Jason Thompson's three homers and Ron LeFlore's .379 hitting.
Only a first-inning triple by Cecil Cooper kept Dennis Eckersley of the Indians (4-4) from his second no-hitter of the season as he beat the Brewers 2-0 in the first game of a doubleheader. Cleveland took the second game 5-4 when Rico Carty doubled in the ninth.
Ten errors and weak hitting (just three homers) kept Toronto (1-5) bogged down. Thus far, the Blue Jays have committed 115 errors in 112 games. Jesse Jefferson stopped the Twins 6-2 with the aid of home runs by Doug Ault and Roy Howell, who hit .476 during the week.
An almost funereal air enveloped the Brewers (4-5) as they fell to sixth. "No one can ever believe how tough it is to live through this," said Club President Bud Selig. "There are sleepless nights and endless worry." After failing to hit in the clutch, Don Money told a reporter, "Write that I stink." Cecil Cooper said, "Ol' Man River isn't rolling. He has come to a screeching halt." But the Brewers ended the week on an upbeat note, bopping the Indians 6-1 as Money hit his 17th and 18th home runs and Ol' Man Cooper his 13th.
BOS 67-44 BALT 66-48 NY 64-50 DET 52-61 CLEV 50-63 MIL 51-67 TOR 39-73
The South Side Hit Men, otherwise known as the White Sox (3-4), cost owner Bill Veeck a bundle of dough. Each time they homer at home, Veeck's exploding scoreboard sets off $104.98 worth of pyrotechnics. But Veeck was glad to foot the bill, especially after Lamar Johnson's second homer of the game came in the ninth and gave Chicago a 5-4 win over Seattle. And he was ecstatic the next day when the Sox tied a Comiskey Park record with six homers while drubbing the Mariners 13-3. After slipping from first place for a day when they lost to the Rangers 10-7, the Sox beat Texas 6-5 as Richie Zisk slammed his 24th and 25th homers. During the week, the Sox had 14 home runs (four by Oscar Gamble) as they raised their total to 148, which is 10 more than the club's best previous season.
The Twins (3-2) were the team that briefly passed the White Sox as they outlasted the Tigers 12-11. A grand slam by Rod Carew and a three-run homer by Mike Cubbage were the big blows for Minnesota. A 2-1 loss in Detroit the next night dropped the Twins back to second. Dave Goltz (15-6) disposed of Cleveland 11-1 and Toronto 7-3.
Hal McRae hammered his 15th homer as Kansas City topped Texas 4-3 and his 16th in a 9-8 victory over Toronto. Another one-run win was accomplished when rookie John Wathan singled in the ninth to upend Chicago 3-2.
Fourth-place Texas (5-2) was just two games out of first. The Rangers have been 30-14 since Billy Hunter became manager, and with good reason. Hunter put his Rangers through a "mini spring training" in which they worked on fundamentals for 10 days. Since then, they have committed few blunders and have bunted so often they have become known as "Hunter's Bunters."
Bobby Bonds of California (5-3) hit four homers, giving him eight in nine games in two weeks and raising his total to 29. His 29th helped Paul Hartzell end Boston's 11-game winning streak 7-3; his 14 runs batted in gave him the league lead with 88. Nolan Ryan (17-10) struggled to a 6-4 win over the Royals and a 6-5, 12-inning decision in New York.
Although they belted eight home runs, the Mariners lost all seven of their games.
Oakland batters hit only .168, but did come through with 11 hits to dump Baltimore 9-6 and end a 14-game losing streak, the team's longest ever. Newcomer Jerry Tabb, a first baseman for the A's (1-6), drove in four runs in that game. Rookie Mitchell Page set a league record with his 26th consecutive steal that day, and winning pitcher Rick Langford struck out 11 hitters.
CHI 66-47 MINN 67-49 KC 64-48 TEX 64-49 CAL 56-57 SEA 48-70 OAK 43-71
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TOMMY JOHN: The Dodger lefty had three hits—one a homer—while shutting out the Reds 4-0 on two hits and the Braves 11-0 on four. That gave him eight straight wins, a 14-4 record and a league-leading 2.50 ERA.