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With Team Canada playing the Russians on live television, the Montreal Expos could be proud of the 12,118 who turned out to watch them play the Pirates. That was the only good news on the scoreboard. The Pirates got 12 hits and won the opening game 7-1, then took the second 4-2 in the 12th inning.
PITT 86-47 CHI 74-61 NY 68-64 ST.L 64-71 MONT 61-72 PHIL 49-85
Cincinnati's Johnny Bench says he hasn't been hitting the way he did earlier because, "I need a challenge." He might still get one. The leaders lost three straight and four of five on the road, and stresses were showing. Both Gary Nolan and Wayne Simpson were accused of having arm problems more mental than physical. Nolan was yanked after only one inning against San Diego as the Reds lost a doubleheader. "After he pitched to the first batter," Sparky Anderson said, "I told myself if that's all he's going to throw, I'm getting him out of there." Simpson, however, was able to answer criticism with a good 6-3 win over the Dodgers.
Throwing 196 pitches in 13 innings, Don Wilson put a Band-Aid on Houston's dying hopes by beating the Giants 5-1. Bob Watson's homer in the 13th won the game, and Roger Metzger followed with another, his second of the year. He attributed it to "a windstorm."
Los Angeles, 10 back, was .500 for the week and was cheered only by Claude Osteen's recovery of his curveball and a chance to win 20 games. He needs four more. Atlanta won four in a row as Earl Williams collected his 25th home run.
Jimmy Ray Hart put his commuter ticket in his hat and once again returned to the Giants from Phoenix, hitting three home runs during the week. Sore-armed Sam McDowell healed enough to go 10 innings against Houston, the first time he has pitched a complete game in 2� months. And Jim Willoughby beat Cincy 2-1 on Dave Kingman's ninth-inning home run.
San Diego's Leron Lee, .322 for the year, has been crowding .365 in September. While a broken bone was knitting, he watched games from the press box. "Up there I saw how many mistakes pitchers make on hitters," Lee explained.