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Bill Madlock of the Cubs and Jon Matlack of the Mets are sound-alikes who had a lot in common last week. After the National League won the All-Star Game 6-3 Madlock and Matlack were named co-winners of the MVP trophy. Madlock earned his share by snapping a 3-all deadlock in the ninth with a two-run single, making a winner of Matlack, who pitched two shutout innings. During post-All-Star contests, both were anything but MVPs. Madlock drove in just one run as Chicago (1-3) bumbled along. Matlack was victimized 4-3 by the Braves, who were outhit 15-6, but capitalized on four errors by the Mets (2-2). Tom Seaver persevered for his 14th victory, beating Atlanta 5-4.
Excellent relievers abound in this division, and once again they proved their worth. Montreal's Dale Murray, sidelined for a month by hepatitis, was back in form, giving up only six hits in 10? innings. When the Expos (2-2) ended the Reds' 10-game winning streak, it was Murray who saved the 3-0 decision with three scoreless innings after starter Steve Rogers left because of a blistered finger. And when Montreal shocked Cincinnati again 4-2 with the help of a two-run single in the eighth by Nate Colbert, it was Murray who kept the Reds at bay to gain the win.
Another reliever who excelled was Al Hrabosky of St. Louis (2-2). Hrabosky began the week just about the way he ended the previous one. On Saturday he tossed two innings of shutout ball to notch a 2-1 verdict over the Dodgers; on Sunday he threw one scoreless inning of relief to beat the Dodgers 2-1. Ted Simmons made Hrabosky a winner again four days later by doubling home the only run in a 1-0 game at San Francisco. Hrabosky worked two more runless innings in that contest, lowering his ERA to 1.65.
For Philadelphia (3-1) the bullpen strength was supplied by Tug McGraw and Tom Hilgendorf. McGraw won for the sixth time with the aid of Larry Bowa's aggressive base running. With the score 5-5 against the Astros in the bottom of the 11th, Bowa went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt, then scampered home when the throw to third was wild. Hilgendorf, a 33-year-old retreaded retread who had a 4.84 ERA last year for Cleveland, gave up just two hits in 3? innings as the Phillies overcame the Astros 7-4. That gave Hilgendorf a 1.65 ERA and 25? straight scoreless innings.
Both of Pittsburgh's wins in a 2-2 week were attributable to reliever Dave Giusti, the victor in one game and the saver in another. Six home runs also were vital as Dave Parker bopped his 16th and 17th and Willie Stargell his 18th.
PITT 57-34 PHIL 52-40 NY 45-43
Atlanta raced to a 5-4 win over Montreal, San Diego ambled past Chicago 2-1 and Cincinnati grapevined its way around New York 5-3. Darrell Evans made the Braves (2-2) a winner, speeding from first to third on Mike Lum's single in the 14th and while the Expos tried to catch Lum going to second, scooting home with the deciding run. The Padres (3-1) got just one hit against the Cubs, but it did not figure in the scoring; they squeezed out two runs when Steve Stone issued five walks in the sixth. Pete Rose of the Reds (2-2), seeking advice on how to hit against rookie Rick Baldwin of the Mets, got some tips from Greg Luzinski and Larry Bowa of the Phillies. Thus forearmed, Rose cracked a two-run single off Baldwin in the seventh to knock in the go-ahead run.