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THE WEEK (April 24-30)
Jim Kaplan
May 09, 1977
AL WEST
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May 09, 1977

The Week (april 24-30)

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Democracy had no lasting effect in Cleveland (2-4). Even when he let the players pick a batting order and the Indians beat Toronto 4-3, Manager Frank Robinson appeared to be in danger of losing his job. Designated Hitter Rico Carty scarcely improved Robby's prospects when he cited the manager for a lack of leadership. "We need your help, Frank," Carty said before a luncheon audience of 600 people. "If you don't help, we'll all be in trouble."

Things were more harmonious in Boston (5-2). Ferguson Jenkins won twice, including a 9-0 three-hitter over the Blue Jays before an appreciative crowd of fellow Canadians, George Scott had three homers and millionaire Reliever Bill Campbell finally got a save.

Milwaukee (2-3) Pitcher Bob McClure picked a man off first for the third time this season to save one game, but Catcher Larry Haney lost another by throwing a ball into right field. In a 3-3 week, Detroit had plenty of offense but not enough defense. The Tigers had 63 hits—but gave up 60.

Toronto won three of seven as Bob Bailor hit safely in every game, and Otto Velez (10 for 23) moved into the league lead with a .442 average. Rookie Jerry Garvin (4-0) had his third complete game in five starts, beating Kansas City 2-1, and lowered his earned-run average to 2.14.

MIL 11-6 NY 11-9 BALT 9-8 BOS 9-9 TOR 10-11 DET 8-12 CLEV 6-11

NL WEST

Cincinnati (5-1) went from the ridiculous to the sublime. To start the week, Manager Sparky Anderson juggled his lineup—notably putting 5'7", 165-pound Joe Morgan at cleanup—and the Reds lost 7-1 to the Cubs. The lowest moment of the game came when base runner George Foster and Third Base Coach George Scherger collided. "Throw a tent over us and we're a three-ring circus," said Johnny Bench. "All we lack is a lady riding a horse." Bench, who was hitting .175 at the time, should not have been joking. "There is nobody who has a lock on playing if he doesn't produce," fumed Anderson as his team's season record slipped to 4-10. The next night the Reds unloaded on the Braves with a 12-run fifth inning and went on to win 23-9. Batting seventh, Bench homered twice and drove in four runs, while Foster had two homers and seven RBIs. Even so. Third Baseman Pete Rose was unsatisfied. "I'd rather win 3-2," he said. When the Reds squeezed 3-1 and 3-2 victories between 9-1 and 8-0 breathers and moved from last to second, he was appeased.

Alas, Cincinnati still lost 1� games to the Dodgers, who had a 7-0 week and completed an 11-1 road trip. Even when they trailed San Diego 4-0, the Dodgers calmly rallied with a six-run third inning as Reggie Smith, Steve Garvey and Rick Monday drove in two runs apiece and won 7-5. The Dodgers are averaging 6.6 runs a game. "I think having pretty much the same batting order every day is a factor," said Manager Tom Lasorda. "I started the same eight guys in the first intra-squad game, the first exhibition, the first league game. They played together, and they lived together as a team. And that's important. They know one another."

Houston (4-2) ended an eight-game losing streak with some last-minute heroics. Rob Sperring's ground-rule double scored Bob Watson to give the Astros a 9-8, 10-inning win over the Padres, and Joe Ferguson's 13th-inning homer stopped the Giants 4-3. Astro pitching was improved, too, with Ken Forsch saving a 3-1 win and Floyd Bannister beating Pittsburgh 11-3 for his first major league victory.

Other teams in the division played dismally. San Diego lost all seven of its games, including a 9-2 embarrassment before 43,497, who had come to see pregame rock music and postgame fireworks. The loudest explosion came from Manager John McNamara, when he belatedly discovered that the victorious Mets had been batting out of order. Atlanta (0-6) rolled up a seven-game losing streak and dropped from second to fifth. Phil Niekro, the club's best pitcher for most of the last decade, remained winless, injured Andy Messersmith missed two starts and Willie Montanez hit .227. Darrell Evans' two-run homer to beat Houston 3-2 provided one of the bright moments for San Francisco (2-4), which is 1-7 at Candlestick this season. "I was swinging for a home run," said Evans. "I was getting psyched about never winning at home." The lowlight was an error by new Shortstop Tim Foli, which set up a 3-1 loss to Houston.

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