Lou Brock was not the only productive oldtimer. Pete Rose, 38, batted .379, drove in six runs and enabled first-place Philadelphia (5-2) to beat San Diego 9-8 by hitting a two-run single in the sixth inning and a two-run double in the 12th. Rose was third in the league in batting with a .348 average. Pitching the final four innings of that game was 40-year-old Jim Kaat, who got his 262nd victory and was then sold to the Yankees so that Larry Christenson, who has recuperated from a fractured collarbone suffered in the off-season, could be taken off the disabled list. The Phillies wrapped up a four-game sweep in San Diego with a 2-0 triumph, in which Dick Ruthven (6-0) allowed only a seventh-inning double by Dan Briggs, and a 3-2 decision, in which Ron Reed saved Nino Espinosa's fifth win. Espinosa, who began the week by trimming the Dodgers 4-0, has the best ERA (1.26) of any starter in either league.
"We're the Rolls-Royce of the league right now," said Ellis Valentine of Montreal (3-3) in one of his rare comments to the media. Giving the Expos a luxury-car look were Gary Carter, whose grand slam floored the Padres 7-5, and slick pitching by Scott Sanderson and Steve Rogers. Using a cross-seam fastball taught him by Pitching Coach Jim Brewer, Sanderson muffled the Giants 4-0, striking out nine batters and yielding only a bloop single in the first inning. Two days later, Rogers held the Giants to three hits and won 3-0 with the aid of Rodney Scott's first homer in 719 big-league at bats.
Despite assorted tribulations—Shortstop Garry Templeton suffered an injury to his right wrist that might shelve him for about a week, and Ted Simmons and Keith Hernandez were ejected during the ninth inning of a 16-inning 5-4 loss in Houston—St. Louis (4-2) moved into third place. The Cardinals lost that game to the Astros even though Tony Scott had five hits, two RBIs and three stolen bases. Reliever Mark Littell's return to "visualization" seemed to help. Visualization is a meditation period in which Littell conjures up game situations he is apt to encounter. "I started it in 1973 as a sort of a guinea pig for three doctors in the Kansas City instructional camp, and the next season I was 16-6 at Omaha," Littell says. Last week he visualized himself to his first save of the season.
May 20, 1979
Sudden turnabouts gave Chicago (3-3) a lift. Ken Holtzman's prolonged comeback paid off when the 33-year-old lefty defeated Houston 2-0 on six hits. Besides pitching his first complete game since 1976, Holtzman banged out three hits. Also taking a turn for the better was a long and apparently foul ball hit by Tim Blackwell that was blown fair by a Wrigley Field gust. Blackwell legged out a triple on that drive and scored on Scot Thompson's pinch single for a 14-13 win over Atlanta.
Light hitters Omar Moreno and Tim Foli of Pittsburgh (3-3) combined for 15 hits as the Bucs took two of three games in Atlanta. Foli had four RBIs in a 17-9 drubbing of the Braves, in which four Pirates and one Brave were given the thumb. The last to go was Pittsburgh's massive Dave Parker, who grabbed Reliever Gene Garber after being hit by a pitch. Next up was John Milner, who shook up Garber further with a grand slam homer. With two on, two out and Cincinnati leading 2-1 in the seventh, the Reds argued that Willie Stargell had swung and missed for strike three. The umpires, however, ruled no swing. Back for another try, Stargell singled in the tying run. Moreno then drove in another for a 3-2 Pirate victory. Stargell, smirking, said there was no reason to question the call. "Maybe it was the dark bat I used," he said, "or this black shirt or my black arms that made the Reds think they saw something."
A four-run eighth-inning rally gave New York (2-5) a 5-4 win in San Francisco. With the aid of Richie Hebner's first RBI since April 30 and relief from Skip Lockwood, Kevin Kobel was a 4-0 winner in San Diego.
PHIL 21-9 MONT 19-10 ST.L 16-14 CHI 14-13 PITT 12-16 NY 10-19
Reliever Pedro Borbon of Cincinnati (4-2) reportedly bit a bouncer during a recent scuffle at a discothèque. "I apologized," Borbon said. He didn't have to apologize for his pitching, which included six innings of one-run relief during a 17-5 romp over Houston. Champ Summers had five RBIs in that game for the Reds, who later ended the Astros' 25-day stay in first place.
For the first time in 20 outings, Houston (3-5) got a complete-game victory. It came from Ken Forsch, who beat the Cubs 11-3.
Los Angeles (6-1), which at the start of the week hadn't scored a run in 24 innings or gotten a save in 21 days, got ample helpings of both. Steve Garvey ended the runless drought with the first of 13 Dodger home runs. Both Garvey and Ron Cey homered three times as the Dodgers won six straight games while scoring 40 times. In a move similar to the Yankees' shift of Ron Guidry, the Dodgers tried Bob Welch in relief. Like Guidry, Welch did the job, picking up two saves and a win. In a 7-0 victory over Montreal, Doug Rau came within four outs of a no-hitter. It was broken up by a single by Chris Speier, who four years earlier had ruined another Rau no-hitter in the eighth.
With his slider crackling through the strike zone, Ed Halicki of the Giants (3-3) beat the Phillies 4-1 on a two-hitter.
There was a big flap in San Diego after station KGB fired its famed Chicken, Ted Giannoulas, in a squabble over when and where he can wear his costume. Padre rooters chanted, "We want the Chicken," and when a substitute fowl appeared, the fans became so angry that the ersatz bird had to be rushed away by security guards. Meanwhile, the Padres (1-6) played like a bunch of turkeys before salvaging a 2-1 win over the Mets.
After starter Larry McWilliams hurt his arm in the second inning, Adrian Devine of Atlanta (2-4) came on to toss six innings of scoreless relief and earn a 3-0 triumph in St. Louis. The Braves' other victory occurred when Buddy Solomon beat the Pirates 4-1.
CIN 18-13 HOUS 19-15 LA 17-18 SF 16-17 SD 13-21 ATL 10-20
Some players are in the majors only long enough for the proverbial "cup of coffee." Well, Dennis Martinez of Baltimore (5-2) was in the big leagues for more than two seasons before he got his cup of Java. He drank it after the first inning against the Angels because he had the blahs—and then, wide awake, he went on to pitch a 6-0, two-hit victory in which his last delivery was clocked at a game-high 90 mph. Martinez (4-2) subsequently beat Oakland 3-1 on three hits. Mike Flanagan (6-2) was also a double winner, defeating Oakland 8-2 and Seattle 4-2. Helping Flanagan to his first victory were Eddie Murray, Lee May and Gary Roenicke, who hit consecutive homers.
Trailing Baltimore by a game was Boston (4-3), which got 12 RBIs from Butch Hobson. The Red Sox supported Mike Torrez with 27 hits as he beat the Angels 9-4 and the A's 8-2. Jerry Remy had seven of those hits, including five in Torrez' second win. Fred Lynn's two home runs gave him 13, tops in either league.
Gorman Thomas of Milwaukee (4-2) raised his homer total to 10 with two blasts, and Lary Sorensen ran his record to 5-3, giving up only nine hits while winning twice.
Ron Guidry of New York (5-2) continued to sparkle in relief with a win and a save. In 5⅖ innings, Guidry struck out nine batters and gave up two hits. The new ace among the Yankee starters, Tommy John, beat Seattle 8-1 for his seventh win without a loss.
No starting pitcher lasted more than 6‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings for Detroit (2-4). But the Tigers were heartened by the performance of Mark Fidrych. The Bird went 5‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings against Milwaukee, which tagged him for eight hits and four runs in a 5-1 Brewer victory. Almost all of the damage came in the final third of an inning when Fidrych tired.
A five-run bottom-of-the-ninth rally gave Cleveland (3-3) a 5-4 win over Kansas City, the final run coming across when Rick Manning walked with the bases full.
Toronto General Manager Pat Gillick turned down an offer of a similar post on the Braves, saying, "We have a big job to finish with the Jays." The job got bigger last week when Toronto lost all five of its games and its best pitcher, Jim Clancy, had surgery on a dislocated tendon in his right ankle.
BALT 22-11 BOS 20-11 MIL 20-13 NY 17-15 DET 11-15 CLEV 10-20 TOR 8-24
There were Twins on first and second with none out in the sixth inning of a 0-0 game against the Indians as Glenn Adams stepped up. When he was given the hit sign rather than the bunt signal he expected, Adams thought, "Wow, No. 4 [Manager Gene Mauch] is going cuckoo." Adams gladly took his cut and homered, and the Twins were on their way to a 4-0 victory that gave Jerry Koosman his sixth win without a loss. As for Mauch, he hadn't gone cuckoo; he has simply become a believer in Minnesota's long-ball prowess. The Twins, who hit only 82 home runs last season, have been explosive of late. Last week's 10-homer barrage gave them 34 so far, and they have homered in a club-record 13 straight games. Five Twin home runs, including two each by Craig Kusick and Roy Smalley, who now has eight, buried Toronto 16-6. Mike Marshall relieved three times, gave up one hit in five innings and earned his fifth and sixth wins. Marshall, who also has nine saves and an 0.77 ERA, has had a hand in 15 of Minnesota's 22 triumphs.
California (3-4) fell 4½ games behind the Twins, but it could have been worse. Jim Barr, pitching only because Frank Tanana was ailing and Nolan Ryan had returned home to be with his injured son, beat New York 4-1. Don Baylor's three-run homer gave Barr all the runs he needed.
Nifty pitching buoyed Texas (3-3). Jon Matlack's first win of the season was a 3-1, six-hit defeat of Toronto. In other games Reliever Sparky Lyle earned his fifth save and Jim Kern came out of the bullpen three times to retire 14 of the 15 men he faced.
For Kansas City (3-4), the week was a disaster. Pitches by Ed Farmer of Texas broke Second Baseman Frank White's hand and Outfielder Al Cowens' jaw; Reliever Steve Mingori was put on the disabled list with a sore arm; and starter Dennis Leonard was out with an aching elbow. And some of the healthy Royals were struggling. Erstwhile bullpen ace Al Hrabosky, pitching a total of just one inning in three outings, faced 15 batters and gave up 11 hits, one walk and six runs. Hal McRae has hit .167 in his last 19 games, and George Brett .208 in his last 24.
Manager Don Kessinger of Chicago (4-3) became so desperate for a lefthanded reliever that he used his best starter, Ken Kravec, to get the final out in a 5-4 win in Detroit. Three days before that and two days after, Kravec started and won. He beat Texas 3-0 on three singles and then went 6⅖ innings to earn a 5-3 victory over Kansas City.
Both Oakland and Seattle lost five of seven. Seven RBIs by Dan Meyer, plus 6‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of one-run relief by Rick Honeycutt, helped the Mariners beat New York 12-4.
MINN 22-8 CAL 19-14 TEX 17-13 KC 17-15 CHI 15-16 OAK 12-21 SEA 10-24
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DAVE CONCEPCION: The 30-year-old Cincinnati shortstop batted .429, hit four homers, scored 11 times, drove in a dozen runs and stole five bases as the Reds took over first place in the National League West.