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The Braves beat the Pirates twice when rookie Shortstop Rob Belloir, a former Atlanta Stadium usher, doubled in the first two runs of his career one night and singled and scored the winning run the next.
Playing it cool when you are 33 games below .500 is a difficult proposition, even in the air-conditioned Astrodome, where Houston used to be almost unbeatable. A five-game winning streak briefly improved the Astros' home record to 29-35, but then they dropped three straight at the Dome. The last of the defeats was by a 5-3 score to Chicago, as the Cubs exorcised some old Astrodome demons (they have a 10-year indoor record of 26-51) by bunting home two runs in the same inning.
CIN 81-39 LA 64-57 SF 61-61
Appropriately enough, Detroit's citywide garbage strike and the Tigers' 19-game losing streak, one short of the league record, ended on the same day when Ray Bare fired a two-hitter and Detroit beat the Angels 8-0 in California. Bill Freehan's performance during that span typified the Tigers' frustrations. He went hitless the day the streak began; in the midst of it he was ejected from a game for only the second time in his career; and finally, he broke loose with four hits in the streak-ender.
The first-place Red Sox continued winning often enough to hold off their pursuers. Designated Hitter Cecil Cooper had 12 hits and six RBIs in seven games. In all, the Red Sox had 18 extra-base hits, prodigious slugging that even provoked some sarcasm from reticent Manager Darrell Johnson. "What happened to Earl Weaver's gain-a-game-a-week strategy?" Johnson asked.
That's what Weaver would like to know. When he announced his plan on July 2 his Orioles were only 6� games behind Boston. Six weeks later they are half a game further back. But there was no arguing with Baltimore's pitching. Mike Cuellar threw a two-hitter and a five-hitter, and 18-game winner Jim Palmer had a two-hitter, a remarkable accomplishment considering rain delays held the game up for nearly three hours.
New York's Catfish Hunter defeated his old Oakland teammates 3-1 on three hits to run his season record against the world champs to 3-0. When Kansas City ripped Doc Medich for three triples in one inning on Saturday, the Yanks slipped to a 9-7 record under Manager Billy Martin.
George Scott, Milwaukee's recently appointed team captain, hit .500 with four homers in five games, but struck out when he tried to supply the Brewers (3-3) with some leadership. After he bawled out Centerfielder Gorman Thomas for missing an easy fly ball, a perturbed Thomas said, "They named him captain, not Lord Superior."
When Boog Powell developed wrist and elbow problems in Baltimore, Oriole fans complained that he had only "warning track power" and was nearing the end of his career. Traded to Cleveland (1-5), where he has been healthy all year, Powell is hitting .306 with 19 home runs.