With five victories in six games, the Cincinnati Reds threatened to make a mockery of their division race and a fibber out of Manager Sparky Anderson. The Reds picked up 3� games on second-place Houston and dashed seven games ahead in the standings, even though just two weeks earlier Anderson had predicted that the race could not be cracked open. But by finishing the week with two come-from-behind victories over Pittsburgh, the Reds had won 10 of their last 11 and were rapidly sailing out of reach.
It is not often that a manager can claim he ruined a no-hitter, but Don Zimmer of the Padres, who enjoyed a rare winning (3-2) week, admitted he had done just that. Unfortunately, it was being pitched by a member of his own staff. San Diego's Steve Arlin, a former Phillie bonus baby, left the Philadelphia batters looking like Little Leaguers until two were out in the ninth. Then .250-hitter Denny Doyle bounced a single over drawn-in Third Baseman Dave Roberts for the Phillies' first hit of the game. Even though Arlin had two strikes on Doyle, Zimmer had Roberts playing shallow for a possible bunt by the fleet Phillie second baseman. "He wanted to move back to a normal position, but I wouldn't let him," said Zimmer.
The slumping Atlanta Braves sagged one game farther under .500, and the smoke signals indicated that Manager Luman Harris may soon be tomahawked. The Brave management was not saying yes, but it was not saying no, either. The best bet for the new Brave chief: First Base Coach Eddie Mathews, who was the first person to shake Henry Aaron's hand after The Hammer hit his 659th career homer during the week.
The Dodgers enjoyed a mild surge with five wins in six games, due mainly to a super surge by Wes Parker. The Los Angeles first baseman has driven in 18 runs in his last 21 games. Houston lost five of seven and San Francisco had little to cheer in a 3-2 week except Willie Mays—the slugging Met.
CIN 55-32 HOUS 50-41 LA 47-41 ATL 41-49 SF 40-52 SD 33-54
Trying to get some punch into their lineup, the last-place Phillies played two regular centerfielders at once. Bill Robinson started in left and Willie Montanez in center. The move produced some crunch—and not only at the plate. In the 10th inning against San Diego, Robinson and Montanez, both accustomed to roaming freely, had a jolting collision while chasing a fly ball. Bruised feelings were overcome the next inning when Robinson doubled home the winning run in the Phillies' first win in five games last week.
Expansion teams usually need years to build a "traditional" rivalry, but the Montreal Expos already have a dandy feud going. Conveniently enough, it is with another expansion team, the San Diego Padres. A banner 60 feet long hung from the left-field stands in San Diego Stadium when the Expos arrived there last Friday. It read, MONTREAL'S MOTTO: IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, BEAN 'EM. The reference was to a series earlier in the season when Montreal pitchers hit Padre batters on successive nights. "We can only take so much," Don Zimmer warned the visitors. Apparently Zimmer's players had already decided they had had too much. In the second game of the series, Expo Pitcher Carl Morton's batting helmet was rattled with a pitch by San Diego reliever Gary Ross, and several furious Montreal players spilled onto the field before calm could be restored.
Bob Gibson continued his streaking recovery from a season-opening 0-5 slump by winning his 11th game in a row for the Cardinals (3-4 for the week). Gibson admits he is taking aim on the major league season record of 19 consecutive victories held jointly by Rube Marquard and Tim Keefe.