Ah, those pirates! Aided by Roberto Clemente's two-run triple, Steve Blass beat Chicago for his eighth straight victory and ninth of the season. Nelson Briles followed suit the next day with a seven-hit 3-1 triumph—his eighth straight over the Cubs as the Pirates finished the week looking stronger than ever.
For the Mets, beaten 15 times in their last 27 games, the week began with Tom Seaver's finest effort this year and ended with his worst. Seaver became the National League's first nine-game winner when he beat Cincinnati 2-1, his first complete game since April. Six days later, however, St. Louis knocked him out after four innings en route to an 11-0 embarrassment of the Mets' Oldtimers' Day crowd. Yogi Berra's men also lost twice to Houston before Jerry Koosman stopped the Astros 5-4.
Chicago extended its winning streak to seven games, during which Ron Santo hit .500 and drove in 11 runs before things turned sour and the Cubs lost three straight. One happy note: the Cubs' much-criticized bullpen saved five of the seven victories.
St. Louis lost but once in four outings, an especially noteworthy triumph being a 14-3 rout of San Diego. The contest marked Bob Gibson's 211th career victory, giving him the club record formerly held by Jesse Haines. Gibson helped his historic cause by hitting a three-run homer.
The hottest team of all was Montreal, which won five of six as Mike Torrez continued to pitch surprisingly well. Torrez stopped Atlanta 2-1 on a two-hitter and beat the Phils by the same score five days later to lift his record to 8-3. The Expos also beat the Reds twice. Philadelphia ended a six-game losing streak at Atlanta 9-7.
PITT 38-21 NY 37-23 CHI 34-25 ST. L 27-32 MONT 27-33 PHIL 21-38
Apparently convinced that a race is more electrifying when it runs on alternating current, Houston and Cincinnati traded first place five times in succession before the week ended with the Astros in front, winners of five of seven games.
Houston's up and down climb began when Jerry Reuss beat the Phils 10-0 with a one-hitter the day before his 23rd birthday. Larry Dierker came right back with a one-hitter the next day to beat the Mets 3-0 and he set down Cincy 4-1 with a seven-hitter on Saturday. Along with good pitching the Astros had a redoubtable batsman in Cesar Cedeno, who has gotten 15 hits in his last 24 at-bats against the Reds.