The ATLANTA Braves came up with perhaps the least gala affair of the season—Welcome Back Rico Carty Night. Carty, out all year with a knee injured in a winter-league collision, was returned to the Braves' active roster with fanfare. In pregame ceremonies, "the Beeg Boy" took a microphone and said sadly, "The main thing for me to do, I think, is to get out of this uniform. If I try to play now, I could hurt myself worse." Then Rico told the crowd of his distress over being informed that when he was in the hospital one of his teammates had said, "Who cares about Rico?" Later, without specifically naming the player, Rico left the impression that it was Henry Aaron, with whom Carty once fought in an airplane. Aaron denied it, of course. Carty has a blood clot that will probably keep him out of the lineup, not to mention pregame ceremonies, for the rest of the season. Carty isn't the only Brave who will wait till next year. A knee operation knocked Orlando Cepeda out of the lineup, SAN FRANCISCO pitching—notably that of Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry—was bad, and the Giants lost six straight. If LOS ANGELES has a real shot at overtaking the Giants, it may be because Bill Singer, illness-and-injury plagued for the last two years, pitched his first shutout in 13 months against HOUSTON. The Astros lead the league in fielding, and their team ERA is second only to the Mets', but they aren't hitting well enough to rise much above .500. "From now on I'm going to display my emotions more," said CINCINNATI'S Johnny Bench, who has 21 home runs and 46 RBIs this season compared to 38 and 111 at the same time a year ago. "I'm going to let myself get mad." Bench conceded that the Reds were out of pennant contention this year anyway. "We'd have to win 45 in a row, and we're not going to do that." However many the Reds would actually have to win, last-place SAN DIEGO would have to win a lot more. The Padres, despite three victories last week, have the worst winning percentage in baseball, .359.
SF 68-50 LA 61-53 ATL 60-58 HOUS 57-57 CIN 54-63 SD 42-75