KC 9-4 MINN 7-4 CHI 5-4 CAL 5-5 OAK 4-8 TEX 2-7
Chicago, which won only two of its first 11 games in 1972, was 7-4, and everyone was contributing. Seven different pitchers had wins, a situation that if continued might cost Ferguson Jenkins a 20-win season for the first time in seven years. "That's O.K.," said Manager Whitey Lockman. "I'd be satisfied to see each of our  pitchers win 10 games." Jenkins, Burt Hooton and rookie Ray Burris got their first victories as the Cubs shut out the Mets three times in four games. The relievers had a 1.17 ERA for 23 innings and the hitters came alive with a .296 week. One problem: the Pirates. Even when the first eight Cubs got hits off Pittsburgh's Nelson Briles and Bob Johnson, Pittsburgh came back to trail by only 10-8 after six innings. Then the game at Wrigley Field was suspended because of darkness. "You've got to get 50 to beat those guys," said Joe Pepitone, "and then they'll get 49 to stay close." The Pirates had three fewer losses than any team in baseball; even the much-discussed experiment of switching Manny Sanguillen from catcher to right field was working. Sanguillen was hitting .364 and his replacement behind the plate, Milt May, was leading the team in RBIs with eight.
The Mets' play was so bad Yogi Berra had to bench himself with a heavy cold, but some of the team's malaise was his fault. He let Tom Seaver bat for himself in the eighth while New York was down 1-0. New York's pitching was predictable—only once did the Mets allow more than three runs—but so was the hitting, an average of just two runs and five hits a game. Among the regulars only John Milner (.378 and five homers) was over .250. When Milner hit a 3-0 pitch out to beat Philadelphia, losing pitcher Jim Lonborg, who spent eight years with the Red Sox and Brewers, said, "They don't swing at 3-0 pitches in the American League. That's not done at all, except on rare occasions."
Montreal led Philadelphia 3-2 in a season series that may determine who finishes last, but the Expos had problems. Always before they could count on attendance. Now the average of 13,000 is down 35% from last year, and the hockey playoffs are no excuse. The Canadiens also were in a playoff last season. The steady failure of their onetime ace reliever Mike Marshall was no help. Having figured in 32 of the team's 70 wins last year, Marshall was unable to handle a 6-3 lead. He lost 9-6.
Things were so bad in St. Louis that Lou Brock was thrown out of his first major league game. Four Cardinal losses were by one run, three by two. Four times in first innings St. Louis pitchers, guilty of seven wild pitches and victims of six passed balls, gave up two runs or more.
PITT 7-1 CHI 7-4 NY 7-5 MONT 5-6 PHIL 5-6 ST. L 1-10
San Diego Manager Don Zimmer had some timely words for his pitchers. "I told them they can't consistently pitch everyone outside," he said after watching Houston hit five homers in two games. "Keep throwing outside and you'll be losers all of your life." Whereupon Mike Corkins took the mound with a 135.00 ERA and four-hit the Astros. Next, Bill Greif, a three-inning pitcher all spring, two-hit them. The Padres then began to lose, providing Zimmer with an opportunity to assess the rest of the league. "The Reds have too much of everything—pitching, hitting, speed and defense," he said. "I thought for a while that Houston might have a chance of making a race out of it. Now I don't look for there to be a race."
The first-place Giants (page 24) thought otherwise, taking five straight for the second time this season, but Cincinnati was right on San Francisco's heels. Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench hit their third homers and Don Gullett won his third game in a 5-2 week. The Reds kept frustrating their fans, though, playing 2-3 ball at home and 8-2 on the road.