San Francisco leads the majors in snuff users (14), permanents (eight) and, now that Catchers Dave Rader and Mike Sadek have come clean, in Telly Savalas-type skullheads (three, Dave Heaverlo being the other). Furthermore, the Giants are right up there in top-notch young pitchers, three of whom excelled in a 4-3 week. Best of all was Ed Halicki, 24, who baffled the Mets 4-0, striking out 10 and firing a no-hitter. Pete Falcone, 21, fanned 12 as he beat Montreal 4-3. And John Montefusco, 25, set a season high for the league when he whiffed 14 Expos in a 9-1 laugher.
For downstate opponents San Diego (2-6) and Los Angeles (3-4) the week was a bummer. After taking a doubleheader from the Phils, the Padres plummeted. Randy Jones won the opener 7-2 for his 17th victory and Bobby Tolan wrapped up the 12-inning 7-6 nightcap with a clutch single. Next time out, Jones' hopes for the Cy Young Award and an ERA title were jarred when he was hit hard in a 10-8 loss to Montreal. Mike Marshall of the Dodgers lost for the 14th time, a wild pitch undoing him in a 5-3 defeat by the Expos. An apparent game-winning hit that night by Bill Buckner was nullified when illegal grooves were found in his bat. Don Sutton was bombed by the Mets for six runs in two-thirds of an inning. Dave Lopes' act was interrupted when, after stretching his record number of successful steal attempts to 38, he was gunned down by Montreal's Gary Carter. Upbeat news: Andy Messer-smith blanked New York 7-0 and Burt Hoo-ton deflated Philadelphia 10-0 for his seventh straight win.
Clyde King, the Braves' manager for a year, was replaced by Connie Ryan, one of the club's scouts. Atlanta was 1-4 during King's final week.
Houston (3-1) perked up. Backed by seven homers, Larry Dierker downed Chicago 8-4 and surprised Pittsburgh 7-4 to square his record at 13-13. Cliff Johnson homered in his fifth consecutive game but was deprived of a sixth in a row when his 11th-inning blast in St. Louis was washed away by rain in the bottom of the inning, the score reverting to 3-3.
Happiness for the Cubs will be not having to face the Reds (6-1) again. Cincinnati's quest for the most wins in one season—the 1906 Cubs had 116—was aided by a three-game sweep of Chicago, which gave the season series to the Reds 11-1. Foremost fatteners against the Cubs this year were Tony Perez (.467 and 22 RBIs), Cesar Geronimo (.452), Johnny Bench (.432), Pete Rose (.422), Joe Morgan (.405) and George Foster (.400). Another plus while in Chicago: a doctor assured Bench the ache in his right shoulder was not arthritic, as had been feared, but from damaged cartilage, which will mend during the off-season. Don Gullett winged his way past the Cardinals 4-0 for his seventh straight victory. And the bullpen saved or won five other games.
CIN 90-44 LA 71-64 SF 66-68
SD 60-75 ATL 58-76 HOUS 52-84
During 3-2 week the oft-maligned Pirate pitching stall" had three impressive complete-game winners: Jerry Reuss beat the Reds 5-1, and Larry Demery and Jim Rooker outfoxed the Braves 8-2 and 4-0. But when it came to crafty pitching no one could equal the Mets (6-2). They swept San Diego behind Hank Webb (a 4-0 victor), Randy Tate (7-2) and Tom Seaver (7-0, for his 19th win). Then came 4-1 and 6-1 defeats of L.A. by Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack. Offensive oomph was provided by Dave Kingman, whose three homers gave him 28 for the season, and new Outfielder Mike Vail, who was 9 for 14 in San Diego.
The Mets' spurt moved them into third place ahead of the Cardinals (3-4), who took their first three games to bring their August record to 19-7—then collapsed. Al Hrabosky picked up his 19th save in a 6-2 win over Atlanta and his 11th victory when the Cardinals, trailing Houston 8-1, stormed back for a 10-9 verdict.