PHIL 72-36 PITT 59-49 NY 56-56 CHI 50-62 ST. L 46-60 MONT 37-67
Were the Dodgers still in the league? Just barely, after losing three straight to Cincinnati and falling 12 games behind. "They should have a funeral before the body decomposes," Cincinnati Reliever Rawly Eastwick recommended. So what's everyone going to do until the playoffs begin? "Batting titles, runs-scored titles, RBI titles—that's all that's left," Pete Rose said. Jack Billingham turned in the best pitching job, three-hitting San Francisco 9-0. When it looked as if Billingham might be losing his stuff, Pitching Coach Larry Shepard came to the rescue. Shepard strolled to the mound, took the ball from Billingham, spanked it and said, "Be good." Then he walked back to the dugout.
The Dodgers (4-4) had warmed up for Cincinnati by winning four straight, including Burt Hooton's two-hit shutout of Houston. But the Reds were too much, even for Rick Rhoden, who lost his first game of the year after nine victories, 7-4.
It was a week to remember for San Diego's Randy Jones. Or maybe one he'd rather forget. First he lost to Cincinnati 5-2, then Atlanta 1-0 to make his record 18-6. He ended the road trip on an even unhappier note, driving his car into a telephone pole as he came home from the airport. The accident resulted in stitches in his neck and a missed pitching turn. The more fortunate Butch Metzger beat the Braves 7-3 and had three straight saves against Houston, giving the Padres a 5-3 week.
Atlanta (4-4) lost five straight before Andy Messersmith and Dick Ruthven pitched consecutive wins over the Padres. Cito Gaston helped Messersmith by hitting two homers and driving in five runs.
The Giants' only wins in eight games were spurred by first-inning home runs. Gary Matthews' helped beat the Reds 4-1 and Gary Thomasson's helped edge the Braves 2-1. Shutouts by Larry Dierker (6-0 over Atlanta) and James Richard (1-0 over L.A.) were Houston's best efforts in a 2-5 week.
CIN 72-39 LA 59-50 HOUS 56-57 SD 54-59 ATL 50-60 SF 48-64