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Good pitching from unexpected sources highlighted play throughout the division. John D'Acquisto of San Francisco and Carl Morton of Atlanta both ended season-long losing streaks, Tommy John of Los Angeles pitched his first shutout in more than two years and Dan Larson of Houston notched his first major league victory with a five-hitter.
D'Acquisto actually won twice for San Francisco (5-3), beating St. Louis 5-3 and Houston 4-0 and allowing only six hits in 14 innings. A game against Montreal was just the thing Morton needed to start winning after seven losses. The 7-1 victory brought his three-season record against his old teammates to 8-1. Mike Marshall got a win and his 14th save for Atlanta (3-5), but Andy Messersmith lost his third straight.
When Tommy John four-hit San Diego 5-0, it marked a major step in his recovery from elbow surgery on Sept. 25, 1974. Los Angeles (3-3) beat St. Louis twice as Reggie Smith continued to pound his old teammates (he's 10 for 21 in five games against them).
Houston (5-5) staggered through four doubleheaders, winning one from Montreal, losing one to Pittsburgh and splitting two with the Pirates and San Francisco. Ed Herrmann had eight hits and seven RBIs in the Expo sweep and made all the right decisions as Rookie Larson won the second game 14-1. Pitching Coach Mel Wright told Larson that he wanted the experienced Herrmann to do the thinking and Larson to do the pitching.
Cincinnati (5-2) got good hitting from Pete Rose, which is usual, and three complete games from Pat Zachry, Fred Norman (a 4-0 shutout of New York) and Santo Alcala, which is becoming decreasingly unusual. The Reds now have 23 complete performances, one more than all last season.
San Diego (5-2) eked out four one-run victories and had a more comfortable 3-0 shutout of Philadelphia by Randy Jones. The Phillies have batted .167 and scored no runs in their 27 innings against Jones this year.
CIN 60-36 LA 53-43 HOUS 49-50 SD 48-49 ATL 44-52 SF 42-56
Although the Pirates insist otherwise, the Phillies may have sewn up the division race last week with more than 70 games to go. The Phils won three of four in a matchup with Pittsburgh and fattened their lead to 12 games, largest in the history of the franchise.