In a topsy-turvy week highlighted by a New York 6-2 spurt, first-place Montreal dropped six of eight and its lead shrank from 5½ games to two. Pitcher Ross Grimsley sank to a new low by starting three losing games in one week. He was beaten 8-6 by the Dodgers, was lifted with a 5-4 lead over the Padres (his teammates went on to lose 7-5) and was beaten 28-0 by the Expo kids in the team's annual family game. When Grimsley complained that his outfielders—the adult ones—were playing too shallow, Manager Dick Williams barked, "All he has to do is stop play and move them." Another Expo starter, Steve Rogers, thought he saw the sacrifice sign on a 3-and-0 pitch and bunted into a double play. "Babe Ruth would have been taking," moaned Williams. "I've been in this game for 33 years and I've never seen that."
The Cardinals (2-4) played slightly better but comported themselves worse. Shortstop Garry Templeton, selected as a backup player for the All-Star Game, refused to go. "If I ain't startin', I ain't departin'," he said. Reserve Bernie Carbo, miffed at his lack of play-in' time, arrived at the Astrodome 25 minutes before game time. Manager Ken Boyer fined him an undisclosed amount and suspended him for one game.
Chicago (6-1), Philadelphia (6-1) and Pittsburgh (5-2) moved into serious contention. Despite injuries to Dave Kingman and Bill Buckner, the Cubs hit .330. Even Pitcher Bruce Sutter, who had four saves to extend his major league-leading total to 22, contributed with a key two-run single. Pirate pitchers were unusually sharp, particularly John Candelaria, who beat the Braves 5-1 on 80 pitches, and Kent Tekulve, who saved three games. Paced by Willie Stargell's two homers, Pittsburgh swept a three-game series in the Astrodome, where Houston had won 18 of its previous 20. The Phillies assaulted the record books. Steve Carlton struck out 14 Giants and five Padres to boost his career total to 2,583, tying him for 10th on the alltime list with Warren Spahn. And Del Unser set a major league mark with his third straight pinch-hit homer. "I've finally done one thing that's going to make people remember me," said the 12-year veteran.
July 22, 1979
MONT 49-35 CHI 47-37 PHIL 49-41 PITT 45-39 ST.L 43-42 NY 37-48
No team in the division had a winning week. Houston (1-5) extended its losing streak to seven, in the process hitting .213 and failing to clout a homer, get a complete game from a starting pitcher or score more than three runs. "Four or five guys have to break out," said Third Baseman Enos Cabell, "because we don't have a power hitter." The Astros finally ended the slide by beating the Cardinals 3-2.
Cincinnati (3-5) insisted on playing in the rain at Riverfront Stadium and regretted it: The Reds blew a 7-0 lead and lost 10-8 to the Cubs in a much-delayed game that ended before fewer than 500 weary fans at 2:55 a.m. But Tom Seaver moved into sixth place on the alltime strikeout list with 2,823, passing Cy Young, and Manager John McNamara was rehired through 1980.
San Francisco (3-5) took three straight from a first-place team (Montreal) and lost three straight to a last-place team (New York). In a 7-6 defeat at the hands of the Mets, the Giants wasted 17 hits. "It is truly cosmic," said Rightfielder Jack Clark.
San Diego (4-4) buzzed with cries and whispers. Some players grumbled when Gaylord Perry was allowed to spend four days in North Carolina after beating the Mets. He returned to allow five runs in five innings. Others wondered about Reliever Rollie Fingers, who lost two games and was rocked for 15 hits and nine runs in 7‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings before rebounding to get his 12th save, against Montreal. There, were no doubts about Rightfielder Dave Winfield, who hit .433 and became the first Padre chosen to the All-Star team.
Atlanta (3-3) cost itself a fourth straight winning week by committing five errors in a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh.
Los Angeles (2-5) Manager Tom Lasorda was willing to try anything—including coaching at third—but still came under heavy fire. "He has lost control of the team," an unidentified player told two suburban L.A. reporters. When Burt Hooton forced home a run by walking New York Pitcher Dock Ellis, Lasorda lashed out. "Dock Ellis," he said, "couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat."
HOUS 54-39 CIN 47-45 SF 44-48 SD 43-52 ATL 39-51 LA 36-56
Despite Luis Tiant's 84-pitch, one-hit, 2-0 win over Oakland, the Yankees (2-4) were abysmal. They scored one run in each of three losing games and blew a 6-0 lead to California in another. Newly activated reliever Rich Gossage, who hadn't given up a homer in 42 previous appearances, served up three in that game.
The Red Sox (4-2) pitching staff also threw a 2-0 one-hitter at the A's. Steve Renko nohit Oakland for 8‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings before earning a victory with relief from Bill Campbell. For the week, Renko had two wins, Campbell two saves in 19 hours and Carlton Fisk and Butch Hobson two homers apiece.
Oriole behavior ranged from churlishness by Manager Earl Weaver, who departed only as far as a dugout bathroom after being ejected from a game, to resignation on the part of Pitcher Mike Flanagan, who lamented that his time-consuming 7-3 win over Oakland prevented him from hearing the encores at a nearby Bee Gees concert. Thanks to Flanagan (two wins), Don Stanhouse (two saves) and Eddie Murray (.435 hitting), the first-place Orioles (4-2) were more than stayin' alive.
Milwaukee's title hopes revived in a 6-1 week. Ben Oglivie set a club record with three homers in one game, but the highlight was Charlie Moore's base running in a 4-3, 17-in-ning win over Cleveland, with the Brewers trailing 3-2, Moore led off the 17th with a single. He tagged up and advanced to second on Dick Davis' long fly. The ball went in to Pitcher Victor Cruz who, feeling that Moore had left first base too soon after the tag-up, prepared to throw to first. Moore distracted him by dancing off second. Cruz inadvertently gestured toward him with the ball, nullifying, under the rules, any chance for an out ruling at first. Then Paul Molitor walked, Don Money doubled home Moore and Gorman Thomas hit a sacrifice fly to score Molitor. Pitcher Mike Caldwell (10-5), reacting to being left off the All-Star team, blurted, "[AL Manager] Bob Lemon showed poor judgment, and [AL President] Lee MacPhail stinks."
Detroit (4-5) and Toronto (2-4) took solace in winning performances by rookie pitchers. The Tigers' 20-year-old Dan Petry lost his first major league start to Milwaukee but later in the week beat the White Sox 3-1 on four hits. The Blue Jays' 22-year-old Dave Stieb threw two complete games, setting down the Brewers 7-1 and the Twins 4-2, the latter on national television. Despite a 4-3 week, Indian fever subsided. Rightfielder Bobby Bonds shocked everyone, especially his worshipful fans (a.k.a. Bonds' Brigade) when he asked to be traded at the end of the season. Bonds had unsuccessfully sought a $940,000 increase on the remaining four years of his five-year, $440,000-a-year contract.
BALT 58-31 BOS 55-32 MIL 53-38 NY 49-42 DET 44-45 CLEV 42-47 TOR 29-63
While California (page 12) won four of six, Kansas City lost seven straight (and 14 of its last 15 games), dropping 10 games off the pace, yet Coach Steve Boros was strangely mirthful. "I had a choice of coming here or going to a baseball clinic," he told a booster-club luncheon. "I chose to come here. Of course, the clinic was in Nicaragua." The Royal staff might have been there, too; it was shelled for 50 runs and 12 homers. The Royals have already given up 102 home runs; last year's total was 108.
Two unusual hot streaks continued. Seattle (3-3) took two of three from the Yankees. The Mariners have won 13 of 17 Kingdome games against New York. And the White Sox swept a three-game series with Texas; they have now won eight of their last 10 meetings with the Rangers.
Despite its Disco Inferno forfeit (page 10), Chicago took five of eight, getting two wins from rookie Pitcher Ross Baumgarten and a three-homer game from Claudell Washington. The White Sox capped a newsworthy week by signing expro Quarterback Bobby Douglass as a pitcher and sending him to their Iowa farm club. "He can throw a baseball 95 miles an hour," claimed Chicago Manager Don Kessinger after watching Douglass in practice. Texas managed to salvage a 4-3 week but again lost Pitcher Jon Matlack to the 21-day disabled list with elbow problems.
The surprising Twins stayed in the race by winning four of seven on the road, where they have the league's best (26-20) record. Mike Marshall saved two games, extended his league-leading total to 18 and kept his temper in check when Manager Gene Mauch bypassed him in a close game for Pete Red-fern, who recorded the save.
The unsurprising A's lost five of six and reached the All-Star break with baseball's worst record (25-68). The team is hitting .233 and the pitchers, featuring onetime All-Star Matty Keough (0-11), have an earned run average of 5.03—also the worst in the majors. Who could fault the fans at Oakland Coliseum for cheering on the visiting Red Sox? Indeed, the closest thing to a hero the A's could muster all week was rookie Rickey Henderson, who broke up two no-hitters with singles.
CAL 54-38 TEX 52-38 MINN 47-41 KC 43-47 CHI 41-49 SEA 40-53 OAK 25-68
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
MIKE SCHMIDT: The Phillie third baseman homered four times, taking the National League lead with 31. His first three homers of the week gave him seven in five games, to tie a league record. He also had 10 RBIs.