Cincinnati (6-2) set a major league record for consecutive errorless games (15) before Dan Driessen misplayed a ball in left field. In dismantling the Astros, the Reds had game-tying four-run rallies in the late innings of successive games, winning the first 9-6 on Johnny Bench's three-run homer in the 12th and the other 8-7 on Joe Morgan's single in the 15th. Then, down 3-1 to Houston, Cincy won 4-3 on George Foster's three-run, 420-foot home run.
Houston (0-7) also lost four times to Atlanta. Carl Morton beat the Astros 3-1 and 5-4, the second win coming on Ralph Garr's eighth-inning home run.
Woes mounted for Los Angeles (4-3). Internal rumbling surfaced when some Dodgers complained that Steve Garvey seemed too eager to project his "good-guy image." Garvey answered the criticism with five RBIs in a 7-1 win over the Giants and with a game-winning hit in the 14th to knock off the Padres 6-5. Joe Ferguson probably was lost for the year after breaking his right arm when he punched Padre Pitcher Bill Greif during a beanball ruckus. San Diego (3-5) won that game 10-1 and twice beat Cincinnati, once on a one-hitter by Randy Jones.
San Francisco (3-3) started off the week by getting past L.A. 5-2 to wrap up its first four-game sweep of the Dodgers in 11 years. When the teams met again John Montefusco further frustrated the Dodgers 1-0.
CIN 53-29 LA 46-38 SF 39-42
SD 38-44 ATL 36-44 HOUS 28-57
While Pittsburgh (6-2) solidified its grip on first place (page 20), only one other Eastern team had a winning week. Philadelphia (6-3) started and finished with doubleheader wins over New York. At Shea Stadium the Phillies won 9-6 and 4-3 (on Greg Luzinski's 19th homer in the 12th) as Tug McGraw saved the first game and won the second with seven innings of one-hit relief. In Philly the Mets got even with McGraw when Dave Kingman and Jerry Grote homered in the ninth inning to beat him 4-3. The next day the Phillies took their second twin bill 8-2 and 10-7. During the afternoon Luzinski hit his 22nd homer and took the major league lead in RBIs with 68. Luzinski's clout hit the top of the scoreboard behind the 371-foot sign. Despite such feats Luzinski was not among the top 12 NL outfielders in the ludicrous All-Star voting.
In addition to losing four of five to the Phillies, the Mets (4-5) also lost reliever Bob Apodaca, who sustained a compound fracture of the nose when hit by a batted ball.
Steve Renko of the Expos (3-4) scored 7-3 and 5-1 victories over the Cardinals, rapping five hits and driving in three runs. Al Hrabosky of St. Louis (3-5) had to have his injured left eye taped to keep it open, but that did not hamper him. His three saves boosted his league-leading total to 13.