St. Louis Reliever Al Hrabosky got his 15th and 16th saves in the Cardinals' two wins over the Pirates. Lou Brock, out with a bad ankle since July 21, returned to full-time duty and went 5 for 7 in his first two starts. Brock's 2,500th career hit helped Lynn McGlothen beat San Diego 6-1. McGlothen, a real night owl, is 2-6 in day games and 10-2 under the lights.
Not even a managerial change—Roy McMillan for Yogi Berra—could prevent New York (2-7) from falling to fourth place. Yogi and the Mets were done in by doubleheader losses to both Pittsburgh and Montreal.
Although Bill Madlock, the National League's leading hitter, missed most of the week with a bad back, Chicago still won five of nine. Gene Hiser was the star of a 3-1 defeat of Atlanta, driving in the winning run with a single and protecting the lead with a sliding catch.
Montreal Manager Gene Mauch dampened the fire building around him by directing the Expos to four wins in eight games. Woodie Fryman, usually a starter, notched a win and a save in two relief appearances.
PITT 66-48 PHIL 64-50 ST. L 59-54
NY 58-55 CHI 54-63 MONT 48-63
Three weeks ago, Kansas City trailed Oakland by 11 games and Bay Area talk was of magic numbers and playoff ticket orders. Now the margin is 6�, and the charging Royals are beginning to think they have a chance. "We're having more fun than anytime since I've been here," said Paul Splittorff after pitching his second victory of the week and Kansas City's sixth in seven games. Splittorff's first win was a one-hit 5-0 victory over Oakland in which he retired 26 consecutive batters; the other was a 10-2 rout of Minnesota. Al Fitzmorris beat the Twins 6-1 with a two-hitter after Manager Whitey Herzog suggested he work faster. The Royals were also getting unaccustomed power. With home runs in nine straight games, four by John Mayberry, the club surpassed last season's total of 89. Mayberry says he has been hitting more homers because he's been drinking more beer. "I was trying to keep my weight down because I wanted to do some running, steal me some bases. But running just ain't me. I get paid to hit. After I went nothing for four one day I got myself a beer and I'm sure back to it now." Twenty-five homers worth.
Oakland (3-5) scored only seven runs while losing four of five games before exploding against Texas 10-1. Billy Williams smacked two home runs, his 15th and 16th, Joe Rudi busted a grand slam and Vida Blue pitched a four-hitter. The next night, against Boston, the bats were still again, as Reggie Cleveland had a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Then Reggie Jackson and Gene Tenace homered, their 28th and 17th respectively, and the A's won 3-2.
" Oakland isn't doing so hot," said Chicago Manager Chuck Tanner. Neither, unfortunately, were his White Sox, who lost five of nine. Their best hitting and pitching came in the same game, an 11-1 defeat of California in which Jim Kaat threw a five-hitter and Bill Melton drove in five runs.
Texas (5-3) got two wins from Ferguson Jenkins (14-12) and five home runs from Roy Howell, who took over at third base 10 games ago. Moves like that won a year's extension to Manager Frank Lucchesi's contract.