New York (5-1), which more than doubled its pleasure—and run production—at Wrigley Field, closed out its season series there by thumping Chicago 7-4, 11-0 (behind Jon Matlack) and 11-5. In winning seven of nine outings there this year the Mets averaged 8.7 runs a game; in contests played elsewhere they have averaged 3.4 runs. Jerry Koosman (19-8) had two victories, one a two-hit, 4-1 verdict over St. Louis.
St. Louis (4-4), which a year ago had the league's best record in one-run decisions (29-14), lost two of three such games and ran its mark in that category to 19-33.
Montreal (5-4) perked up for new Manager Charlie Fox. Pinch hits by Barry Foote and Jose Morales topped off late rallies that earned the Expos a 7-5, 8-7 sweep of a doubleheader from the Cardinals.
PHIL 85-55 PITT 81-59 NY 74-66 CHI 65-77 ST. L 61-77 MONT 48-90
While the Oakland- Kansas City race (page 16) heated up, the batting race began to boil. Only five points separated the top four hitters: Hal McRae (.338) and George Brett (.337) of the Royals, and Lyman Bostock (.336) and Rod Carew (.333) of the Twins. Last week Bostock batted .600, Brett .464, Carew .444 and McRae .185. Carew, who had not hit a grand-slam homer in his 10-year career, walloped his third since June. Minnesota (6-1) set a team record for runs by bombing Chicago 18-1, then matched it in an 18-3 conquest of Kansas City.
Minnie Minoso, 53, became the oldest non-pitcher in major league history when he took over as the DH for Chicago (1-6). ( Satchel Paige, 59, and Nick Altrock, 57, are the only older players.) Minoso struck out, popped up and flied out as Frank Tanana of the Angels notched his 16th victory, 7-3. Nolan Ryan of California (5-2) won two three-hitters, striking out 18 Chicago batters in one game. That victory enabled the Angels to grab fourth place from the Rangers (3-4), who were shut out three times.
KC 81-60 OAK 76-65 MINN 73-71 CAL 65-77 TEX 64-77 CHI 59-82
With first place securely in hand, the Yankees (5-2) tried to stay sharp. Keeping them that way were Ed Figueroa, Dick Tidrow and Thurman Munson. Figueroa (17-8) blanked Milwaukee 8-0, then flew to Puerto Rico in time for the birth of a son. Tidrow, who saved two games in relief, has an 0.69 ERA in his last 26 innings and 10 games. And MVP aspirant Munson hit .400 and drove in eight runs. That left Munson with 95 RBIs, three behind Lee May of Baltimore (6-2). Jim Palmer of the Orioles became the league's first 20-game winner, and Wayne Garland (17-6) won twice.