- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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After striking out with runners on second and third to conclude a 2-1 loss to the Cubs, Dave Kingman of the Mets (3-5) did his King Kong number in the clubhouse—smashing a bottle of hair tonic, kicking a duffel bag, air-mailing coat hangers and shattering his hair dryer. The next day in Los Angeles, Kingman chatted with Rod Dedeaux, his college coach at USC. "Hit the first good pitch tonight," Dedeaux told him. Then teammate Joe Torre advised Kingman that he was not following through on his swing. Armed with advice, Kingman swung at the first pitches thrown to him in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, followed through and hit his 18th, 19th and 20th homers. He had eight RBIs as Tom Seaver, winless for a month, beat the Dodgers 11-0. Kingman hit his 21st the next night to give Jon Matlack a 3-1 win over the Dodgers.
Like Kingman, Tim Foli of the Expos also was upset. Foli, though, was mad at rookie Manager Karl Kuehl—not his hair dryer. When Kuehl ordered an intentional walk in one game, Shortstop Foli wanted the Montreal hurler to ignore the manager's instructions. "Kuehl can't manage this team by himself," Foli insisted. "I don't need Foli's help," Kuehl retorted. Kuehl promptly replaced Foli with Pepe Frias, but Frias made three errors in one game and was, in turn, replaced by Foli. The peace was tenuous at best. The Expos (1-5) were inept at least.
Strong pitching kept Philadelphia (4-4) in first place (page 28). Jim Lonborg beat Montreal 7-1 on five hits, Jim Kaat subdued Chicago 4-1 on six hits, Ron Reed tamed the Cubs 6-1 on four and Tom Underwood downed St. Louis 4-1 on five as the Phillies rolled to 25 victories in their last 30 games. Then it was Philly-buster time: Bob Forsch of St. Louis (3-3) stopped the Phillies 7-1, and they lost two straight to the Giants.
Bill Robinson of Pittsburgh (5-3) played first base, third base, center field and right field last week but still found time to hit three home runs in one game. Rick Monday hit his 10th homer as Chicago (3-5) toppled Philadelphia 7-5 and had three hits as the Cubs beat the Mets 5-3.
PHIL 32-14 PITT 28-21 NY 26-27 CHI 22-27 ST.L 22-28 MONT 17-27
George Foster hit his ninth, 10th and 11th homers and drove in 10 runs, giving him a league-leading 49, as Cincinnati (5-3) moved past Los Angeles (3-5) into first place. Charlie Hough, the Dodgers' knuckleballer, gave up just two hits in 8? innings of relief for his sixth and seventh victories without a loss. Andy Messersmith of the Braves (3-3) threw a one-hitter at Montreal in a 2-0 Atlanta victory, Pepe Mangual ruining his no-hitter with a one-out single in the ninth. Ed Halicki had a 2-8 record and San Francisco (4-3) had a ticket to the minors waiting for him. But Halicki shut out Los Angeles on two hits 6-0, then stopped the Phillies 4-2. Joe Niekro hit a home run off his brother Phil as Houston (6-2) beat the Braves 4-3. Rookie Joaquin Andujar of the Astros defeated the Reds 2-1 with a two-hitter; Mike Cosgrove stopped the Cubs 1-0; and Reliever Ken Forsch notched his 10th, 11th and 12th saves. Randy Jones of San Diego (3-2) became the first 10-game winner in the majors, beating San Francisco 4-3.
CIN 31-19 LA 30-22 SD 25-23 HOUS 25-28 SF 21-32 ATL 19-30