It is with good reason that Manager Ken Boyer of St. Louis (1-5) keeps a bottle of 1,000 aspirins in his clubhouse office. Since taking over on April 29, Boyer has watched his Cardinals lose 31 of 47 games. Moreover, Boyer, who seldom smoked, has been puffing away, possibly because he has not been able to light up the Cardinal offense. The Redbirds are batting .235, a figure rivaled only by the Cardinal teams of 1907 (.232) and 1908 (.223). Six-hit pitching by John Denny and a three-run double by George Hendrick led to a 5-3 win over Houston, the Cardinals' only victory. Aside from that it was aspirin-popping and light-up time for Boyer, as his pitchers dished out 26 walks in the next five games. Playing in Atlanta, last-place St. Louis dropped three straight to their Western Division counterparts as the Braves outscored the Cards 21-3.
Also exasperated was Manager Danny Ozark of Philadelphia (1-6). His two top sluggers—Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt—batted a combined .263 and had six RBIs, swinging for homers rather than singles as Ozark asked them to. What galled Ozark most was a 2-1 loss to the Giants in which Randy Moffitt fanned Schmidt and then Luzinski on seven pitches in the ninth with a runner on second. Steve Carlton accounted for the Phillies' lone triumph when he beat San Diego 5-0. To bolster their pitching staff, the Phillies traded Outfielder Jay Johnstone to the Yankees for Pitcher Rawly Eastwick and sent Reliever Gene Garber to the Braves for Starter Dick Ruthven.
Montreal (2-6) squandered some fine pitching. Steve Rogers, who has not given up more than three runs in any of his 16 starts, lost 1-0 in San Francisco and 2-1 in Los Angeles. Despite his 2.29 ERA, Rogers is 7-7, having been backed with only seven runs during his setbacks. Three hits were all the Giants got off Woodie Fryman, but they were enough to make him a 1-0 loser. Only Ross Grimsley (11-3) won, beating the Padres 3-1. Tony Perez' 2,000th career hit was overshadowed by his team's six-game losing streak.
June 25, 1978
Skip Lockwood of New York (2-5) won his seventh game in relief and Pat Zachry his eighth as a starter. A two-run single in the ninth by Lenny Randle gave Lockwood a 3-2 victory in San Diego. In their other win, the Mets took a 5-0 lead over the Giants and hung on for a 5-4 victory when Dale Murray came in from the bullpen to bail out Zachry.
Only one Eastern club—Pittsburgh (4-2)—played better than .500 ball. Rookie Ed Whitson got two saves and a win in relief, Ed Ott batted .438, and Frank Taveras hit .385. The swift Pirates stole 15 bases, Omar Moreno, who leads the majors with 27 thefts, getting three and Phil Garner swiping four.
CHI 34-25 PHIL 31-27 MONT 33-31 PITT 28-31 NY 29-36 ST.L 23-42
Padre owner Ray Kroc, the McDonald's tycoon, who has shelled out millions for players in the past two years, feels he has wound up with a lot of hamburgers. "I don't think they've got any guts or pride," Kroc says. "I don't know what they want. You give them a private team plane, a players' lounge, everything, and they're still responding like juveniles. Only four are responding—Ozzie Smith, Derrel Thomas, Randy Jones and Gaylord Perry. Don't the others aspire to some success? Don't they have some drive, some spirit?" After the Padres returned home from a 4-8 road trip that had dropped them from fourth place to fifth, Jones also sounded off. "We've got 10 guys with lousy attitudes, and I think it affects the team's overall ability," he said. That night the players held a 35-minute pregame meeting in which they exhorted one another to strive for team unity and effort. Against the Mets later in the evening, the Padres pulled out a 3-2 victory as Dave Winfield, who earlier had slugged his 10th homer, doubled across the tying run in the ninth and scored the winner on a single by Fernando Gonzalez. San Diego (4-4) then swept a doubleheader from Montreal 6-2 and 1-0. Eric Rasmussen won the opener with the help of a homer by Winfield and 2⅖ innings of perfect relief by John D'Acquisto. Perry (6-2) was the victor in the nightcap with a four-hitter. Winfield, who batted .406, drove in the only run in Perry's victory and had three more RBIs as Bob Owchinko beat the Phillies 7-0.
There were no complaints about the performance of the first-place Giants (6-1), who moved 1½ games ahead of the Reds. San Francisco fans, who earlier had booed Johnnie LeMaster for his lackluster hitting, cheered his slick fielding at shortstop. Outfielder Hector (Heity) Cruz, obtained from the Cubs in a trade for Pitcher Lynn McGlothen, became an instant hero. Before his first game as a Giant, Cruz was told by teammate Bill Madlock, "They're going to pinch-hit you in the bottom of the ninth, and you're going to hit a home run." With the Giants trailing the Mets 4-3 in the ninth, Cruz pinch-hit and made Madlock's premonition come true. Jack Clark ended that game with a three-run homer. That was the biggest blow of a spectacular week for Clark, who had four doubles and two homers among his eight hits and drove in 13 runs. His sixth-inning double resulted in the game's only run as Ed Halicki beat Montreal 1-0 on a one-hitter.
With Johnny Bench hospitalized for an ailing back and the offense sputtering, the Reds (4-2) relied on overpowering pitching. One year and one day after he was acquired from the Mets, Tom Seaver pitched his first no-hitter. Although his fastball was not as zippy as usual, Seaver had what Pitching Coach Larry Shepard called "the best curveball I've ever seen" as he mowed down the Cardinals 4-0. Doug Bair was credited with his 10th and 11th saves, wrapping up 1-0 and 3-1 verdicts over Chicago for Fred Norman and Manny Sarmiento, respectively.
Resounding hitting by Davey Lopes (.440), Bill Russell (.429) and Steve Garvey (.414) and the resurgence of reliever Charlie Hough enabled the Dodgers (6-1) to snap out of a slump. Hough's dancing knuckleball, which had been cha-chaing out of the strike zone since late last season, began to find the plate. Hough yielded only one hit in five innings as he waltzed to a win and his first two saves.
Also starting to get his act together was Joe Niekro of Houston (3-3), who pitched 6⅖ innings of strong relief and became a 5-4 winner over the Cubs when Bob Watson doubled home two runs in the eighth. Another eighth-inning rally, this one good for six runs, helped the Astros overcome seven errors and a 5-0 Pirate lead. Cesar Cedeno, who drove in three runs during that 6-5 victory, was later operated on for torn knee ligaments and will miss most of the rest of the season.
Bob Horner, a slugging third baseman from Arizona State who was the No. 1 pick in the free-agent draft earlier this month, slammed a 400-foot homer in his third at bat for the Braves (4-2). Phil Niekro stifled the slumping Phillies 4-0.
SF 39-22 CIN 39-25 LA 35-28 HOUS 27-32 SD 28-35 ATL 24-36
Oakland (0-7), which began the week on top, was shut out four times as its losing streak stretched to 10 games. Five days after being selected in the free-agent draft, Mike Morgan, an 18-year-old righthander fresh out of high school in Las Vegas, made his major league debut for the A's. Morgan gave up 10 hits, five walks and did not strike out anyone as he lost to the Orioles 3-0. In his second start, Morgan was tagged for four hits and three runs in the first inning by the Orioles before being removed because of a twisted ankle.
A 6-5 win in Kansas City left Texas just a half game out of first and seemingly poised to assume the divisional lead. But the Rangers (2-6) produced only seven runs in their next five games, all of them defeats. Then, as suddenly as the Texas bats had been stilled, they came back to life, the Rangers tying a club record with 19 hits in a 13-2 rout of the Blue Jays. That left the Rangers tied with the A's for third place. Juan Beniquez of Texas was sidelined indefinitely with a broken left hand.
California (3-4) also had a splendid opportunity to take over the lead, but two shutout losses put a temporary end to that hope. Still, the Angels clung to second place. Frank Tanana (10-3) beat the Orioles 5-1 on five hits, and California knocked off New York 10-7.
It was almost by default that Kansas City (4-3) advanced to the top of the West. After losing their first two games, the Royals moved from fourth to third behind the one-hit pitching of rookie Rich Gale, who defeated the Rangers 5-0. The only Texas hit was a triple by Al Oliver with two out in the seventh. In an attempt to keep Gale's no-hitter going, Manager Whitey Herzog had told First Baseman Pete LaCock to step away from the bag when Oliver came up. Herzog made that move because he had been assured by National League managers that Oliver, a lefthanded hitter who played for the Pirates until this season, never hits the ball directly over the bag. Oliver promptly lined his hit right over first. The Royals had only two homers, both by Amos Otis, who hit one as Paul Splittorff beat the Tigers 7-1 and another as Dennis Leonard disposed of Detroit 7-2.
Chicago (6-1), which on May 26 was in seventh place, 12 games off the pace, was solidly entrenched in fifth, just 2½ games out. Three saves each by Jim Willoughby—who now has eight—and Lerrin LaGrow—who has seven—kept the Sox on the go. Chicago, which has won 18 of 21 games, even turned on some power for a change, overtaking the Indians 10-9 after being behind 9-0.
Much to his dismay, Rod Carew was not traded by the Twins (5-1). Geoff Zahn (7-4) won twice, stopping Toronto 7-2 and Detroit 3-1; Mike Marshall's eighth save nailed down a 2-0 win for Dave Goltz over the Blue Jays: and newcomer Darrell Jackson, a 22-year-old lefty, beat the Tigers 5-2.
The Mariners (0-7) ran their string of losses to 10, despite three apparent game-winning homers by Leon Roberts, who put Seattle in front with fence-clearing drives in the 10th inning in Baltimore, in the 10th in New York and in the eighth in Boston. Each time the Mariners went on to lose.
KC 32-28 CAL 32-31 OAK 32-32 TEX 31-31 CHI 30-31 MINN 26-35 SEA 19-47
By extending their victory streak to nine games, the Red Sox (7-0) increased their divisional lead to seven games, which was more than the combined margins of the other three division leaders. Jim Wright's two-hitter took care of California 5-0, and Luis Tiant's four-hitter silenced Oakland 9-0. Mostly, though, it was the offense that took care of the opposition. The Sox batted .333, with Rick Burleson hitting .387, and Dwight Evans and Carl Yastrzemski drove in nine runs apiece. Five times the Red Sox slugged two homers in a game, Evans belting his 13th, 14th and 15th and Jim Rice his 20th and 21st. And when the Sox needed a plain old single, that was what they got, Carlton Fisk stroking one in the ninth to beat the Angels 10-9 and Yastrzemski getting another in the ninth to finish off the Mariners 5-4.
Clutch hitting by Roy White and Paul Blair helped New York win five of seven. For the fifth time in his career, White homered from both sides of the plate in one game as the Yankees decked the A's 5-3. In the 10th inning against Seattle, Blair swatted a three-run homer for an 11-9 win.
Baltimore (6-1) got a lift from Rich Dauer, who hit .462; Eddie Murray, who had four homers and eight RBIs; and Larry Harlow, who rapped two game-winning singles. Reliever Don Stanhouse got his 10th and 11th saves, and Shortstop Mark Belanger unofficially saved a 5-4 win over Seattle with four scintillating fielding plays. The starting pitchers were also superb as the Birds' winning streak reached 13 and 17 of 19. Two shutouts were pitched against the A's, Scott McGregor winning 3-0 and Dennis Martinez 6-0. Mike Flanagan (10-4) beat Seattle 3-2 and Oakland 5-4. A 5-2 victory over California gave Jim Palmer a 9-4 record and a 1.86 ERA.
Milwaukee (8-0) bumped Detroit out of fourth and ran its victory streak to 10 with longball hitting and strong relief. Gorman Thomas' nine RBIs raised his total to 41 and his five homers gave him 16. Twice the Brewers won in the last inning on home runs, Robin Yount delivering one in the ninth to beat Toronto 5-4 and Sal Bando another in the 12th to defeat Cleveland 4-3. Milwaukee got strong performances in relief from Bill Castro, who won two games and saved another.
Tenth-inning wins at the week's start provided the only good news for Detroit (1-6) and Cleveland (1-5). Rusty Staub's three-run homer gave the Tigers a 5-2 win over the Royals. Buddy Bell's triple and a single by Ted Cox pushed the Indians past the Twins 2-1.
Two straight doubleheader losses to Minnesota and Milwaukee left Toronto (2-7) win-less in five twin bills this season. That unenviable string—and a nine-game losing streak—ended when the Blue Jays swept a doubleheader from the Rangers 8-3 and 5-2. Roy Howell, who had four hits that day, batted .471 for the week.
BOS 45-19 NY 37-25 BALT 37-26 MIL 36-26 DET 31-30 CLEV 26-33 TOR 21-41
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TOM SEAVER: The Cincinnati righthander, who did not win this season until May 6, ran his record to 8-4 by pitching the first no-hitter of his career—he has had five one-hitters—in a 4-0 victory over the Cardinals.