Even with Catcher Johnny Bench benched because of a run-in with an umpire, the Reds still proved themselves the masters of Los Angeles, beating the Dodgers 4-1 and 11-9 and forcing L.A. Pitcher Don Sutton to admit, "The Cincinnati Reds are the best team." The Dodgers sprinted into the Cincinnati series after taking two from the Giants and two from the Braves, but the Reds stole their starting blocks. Cincy Outfielder Pete Rose, a cinch for the league batting title and a strong candidate for MVP, got his 225th hit. He broke a club mark of 219 set in 1905 and the league mark by a switch hitter of 223 set by Frankie Frisch in 1923.
Manager Sparky Anderson continued to do magical things with the Reds' lineup. George Foster, who had gone hitless in eight at bats early in the week, was rested a day and then got six hits in seven trips in two games, including three home runs. Foster revealed he had undergone hypnotic treatment. "I learned I was carrying too much hatred and resentment inside of me about not playing," he said. "Now only the future counts."
The Giants beat the Reds 7-5, giving Ron Bryant his 23rd victory and making him the winningest lefty in the club's last 37 years ( Carl Hubbell won 26 in 1936). "I'm not getting my hopes up about the Cy Young Award," said Bryant. "A lot of people said I'd be in the All-Star Game, too, and I wasn't." Another happy fellow on the club was Pitcher Randy Moffitt, who won a load of $2 wagers on his tennis-champion sister Billie Jean King to beat Riggs.
The Braves' Henry Aaron hiked his career home-run total to 712 against the Astros Saturday, just two short of tying Babe Ruth's record. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn invited Aaron to throw out the first ball at the World Series. Houston Pitcher Don Wilson, who has had a pretty good season (allowing 178 hits in 230 innings), is the subject of trade rumors. The Padres, 3-5 for the week, were in a state of confusion, not knowing what city they were going to be in next year and not even being sure when this dreary season would end for them. They may have to fly to Pittsburgh for an Oct. 1 makeup game if it would influence the race.
CIN 96-59 LA 90-66 SF 86-69 HOUS 78-78 ATL 74-82 SD 57-98
Chicago, feasting on Montreal, finished the week only 2� games out in the division race (page 26), prompting Expo Ron Fairly to comment, "The Cubs were eight games in front and couldn't do anything. They turn around and go five games behind and they discover how to play baseball."
The Phils' Steve Carlton (12-19) muffled the Cardinals 3-2 by scattering 10 hits. "The incentive was that I was going for my 20th loss," said Carlton. "Well, I wasn't going for it but I was vulnerable, you know what I mean?" Manager Danny Ozark was rehired for 1974.
The Cards' Rick Wise won his first game in almost two months, beating the Phils 12-3. He had lost six straight.