Montreal recovered from three losses in New York to sweep an equal number from the Cubs and then defeat the Phillies as Willie Davis hit a home run and won the game with a ninth-inning single. Chicago's Bill Madlock made three errors at third base in a doubleheader and received a standing ovation when he finally fielded a ball cleanly.
ST. L. 55-51 PHIL 54-52 PITT 51-56 MONT 50-55 NY 46-58 CHI 45-59
"The Dodgers are the best team in our league because they have the best balance," insisted San Diego Manager John McNamara. Actually, L.A. is No. 1 largely because it is undefeated, untied and practically unscored upon in 11 games with McNamara's Band. Three of the victories came last week as the Dodgers increased their seasonal leads over the Padres to 95-28 in runs scored, 18-6 in home runs and 21-3 in stolen bases.
Cincinnati continued to press Los Angeles with Cesar Geronimo leading the way. He hit .370, scored six runs and clouted a home run. Geronimo also joined Pete Rose in baffling the Giants with some adventurous base running. Rookie Pitcher Ed Halicki mistakenly fielded a Rose chopper that was rolling foul and the alert Geronimo scored easily when the catcher forgot to cover the plate. Then someone yelled to Halicki, "Throw to first!" So Halicki did. The trouble was that no Giant was near it. The ball rolled to the outfield as Rose dashed to second. Who told Halicki to throw? "I think it was me," Rose said, suppressing a grin. Moments later Rose scored from third base by eluding four Giants in a rundown.
Dave Johnson blamed one Atlanta loss on old ladies in Haiti. "Remember last year when the pitchers complained that the balls were sewn too tightly? I think word must have reached Haiti, because they're not sewing them as tight now. Softer balls don't carry." Houston's Cesar Cedeno hit one of those alleged softees for his 22nd homer.
LA 71-37 CIN 65-43 HOUS 55-51 ATL 54-52 SF 49-60 SD 44-65
"I don't feel like a historical figure," said Detroit's Eddie Brinkman after the Tigers became the first team ever to hit four home runs in the first inning of a game. Al Kaline, Bill Freehan and Mickey Stanley walloped successive homers against the Indians, and Brinkman's 10th home run of the year got the line in the record book. "We set a record?" Stanley said. "Hey, we must be good."
The Tigers were better than that, winning five of seven games. Unfortunately, Stanley suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitched ball. As his replacement the Tigers called up 22-year-old Outfielder Ron LeFlore who, like teammate Gates Brown, is a former convict. He promptly stole two bases against the Brewers.