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Chicago blitzed the Pirates 18-9 one day and 1-0 the next. In the first encounter the Cubs hit six homers, three by George Mitterwald, who amassed eight RBIs. Pittsburgh suffered the debacle even though outhitting the Cubs 16-13. The Pirates were further troubled by having to send struggling Pitcher Steve Blass down to Charleston after he gave up eight runs in five innings.
MONT 7-2 PHIL 8-5 ST. L 9-6 CHI 6-4 NY 3-8 PITT 2-10
Even during a 7-2 win over the Astros some of the Dodgers "were talking and thinking about Cincinnati," Ron Cey admitted. Last year the Reds wiped out an 11-game Dodger lead and took the West. After beating the Astros the Dodgers faced the Reds in two games. They won the opener 5-3 on Bill Russell's bases-loaded double in the 11th and laughed all the way in the closer 14-1. With Steve Garvey hitting four homers and Tommy John upping his record to 4-0 with two wins, the Dodgers had a 4-1 week.
Reds Manager Sparky Anderson issued a warning to the Dodgers: "They better not get too gay." Sterner was Pete Rose's message to Wayne Garrett of the Mets. Rose says he and Bud Harrelson made peace after their fight in last year's playoffs, but he will be gunning for Third Baseman Garrett. Rose charges Garrett punched him in the kidneys during the melee. "I hope I'm on first against the Mets and Joe Morgan singles to right because here I come, Wayne Garrett," Rose says, vowing to arrive with a "hard shoulder." Rounding out a 2-2 week for the Reds was an 11-0 romp over the Padres.
Houston, 4-3, was encouraged by Larry Dierker and Tom Griffin, both of whom defeated the Giants with three-hitters. Dierker won 3-1 and Griffin, who threw a mere 94 pitches, was a 4-0 winner with a single and homer at bat.
Since starting the season by going 0 for 16, Ralph Garr of Atlanta has been 25 for 47 and last week had seven consecutive hits. Phil Niekro struck out a career high of 13 as he shut out the Padres 6-0. And the Braves topped off a 4-2 week by going over .500 for the first time since September 1971.
Optimist of the Year Award goes to San Diego Manager John McNamara, who said, "I still think we can win in the vicinity of 80 games." Bold words. Thus far the Padres have been outscored 99-34, outhomered 12-2 and shut out four times. In the field they have made 23 errors. Erstwhile sluggers Willie McCovey, Nate Colbert and Dave Roberts have yet to homer. And Glenn Beckert, the team's best hitter at .400, was disabled by an arthritic right ankle.