Neither rain, nor Dodgers, nor Expos, nor Cubs could stay the Phillies (6-0) from stretching their winning streak to 10 games, one short of the club record. Despite rain delays of 1:03, 2:27 and 1:26, they waded past the Expos during a doubleheader, winning each game 6-1. Larry Christenson won his sixth straight in the opener with a two-hitter. Four homers—two by Greg Luzinski—provided Jim Lonborg with more than enough support in the soggy second game, which ended at 3:25 a.m. with roughly 5,000 of the original crowd of 46,664 on hand. Steve Carlton (17-6) did more than pitch as he stopped the Dodgers 3-1 and the Cubs 10-3. Against Los Angeles he retired eight batters on strikes and 11 on grounders, picked Davey Lopes off first base twice, had two hits and drove in the winning run with a 400-foot sacrifice fly. Against Chicago, Carlton socked a two-run homer. Luzinski added his 30th home run in that contest, and Tim McCarver had his third and fourth. Another pitcher who helped himself at the plate was Jim Kaat, a 10-5 winner over Montreal as he chipped in with a single and two doubles. With Garry Maddox out with a shoulder separation after crashing into a fence, Bake McBride took over in center field, batted .444, had 11 RBIs and beat the Cubs 10-7 with his third homer of the week, a three-run shot in the 11th inning.
Suspensions and injuries left the Pirates shorthanded, but they still won six of eight games. Shortstop Frank Taveras was fined and suspended for five days by League President Chub Feeney for having thrown his bat at Cincinnati Pitcher Joe Hoerner the week before. Outfielder Al Oliver was fined and suspended for four days for his behavior following a play on which he was ruled out by Umpire Bruce Froemming for missing first base on an apparent double. Incensed by the call, Oliver stormed toward Froemming. Pirate Coach Al Monchak intercepted him, but Oliver's momentum caused a collision with the ump. Three injured Pirates contributed to a two-run last of the ninth that overhauled the Cubs 7-6. Rennie Stennett (pulled leg muscle) singled, Phil Garner (jammed wrist) ran for him, and Jim Fregosi (injured finger) hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score. Ed Ott then drove in the winning run with a triple. Ott also had another game-winning blow, a sacrifice fly in the 18th inning that downed the Cubs 2-1. Jim Rooker beat New York 3-2, lashing three hits, stealing third base and scoring the winning run. And the Pirates moved into second place as Jerry Reuss shut out the Mets 2-0 and Bill Robinson hit his 18th homer and drove across four runs in a 9-1 rout.
In a week of altercations and injuries, the Cubs (2-5) suffered the most. Mick Kelleher, Steve Ontiveros and Jose Cardenal all sustained minor wounds during a scuffle with the Padres. The brawl began when San Diego's Dave Kingman barged into Second Baseman Kelleher to break up a double play. Other ailing Cubs were Joe Wallis (broken finger in a motorcycle crash), Bobby Murcer (bad heel), Bill Bonham (stiff shoulder), Ivan DeJesus (sore forearm), Jerry Morales (aching knee). Rick Reuschel was bothered by a bad back and, after not having yielded an earned run at Wrigley Field in 51 innings, gave up four homers there to the Phillies in 2? innings. Some of the walking wounded persevered, though. Murcer slugged his 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st homers, and Cardenal his third. And Bill Buckner, who has played with two pulled hamstrings, a sore wrist and a throbbing ankle that was operated on during the off-season, hit two home runs and batted .375. Still, Chicago, which had led by 8� games on June 28, tumbled to third place.
Only half a game behind the Cubs were the Cardinals (5-1), who have had the best record (18-6) in either league since the All-Star break. Butch Metzger continued to excel in relief, saving two games and winning another. In his most recent 10 outings, Metzger has had three wins and six saves. His latest victory came when he held the Expos to one hit in three innings. Mike Anderson gave the Cardinals a 1-0 win with a single in the 10th.
The most serious casualty of the week was Felix Millan of New York (1-7). After Ott of the Pirates slid hard into second base, Millan belted him with a solid right-hand punch. Ott retaliated by slamming Millan to the ground, separating the second baseman's right shoulder and fracturing his collarbone. Only a 4-1 win over St. Louis by Nino Espinosa kept the Mets from an all-losing week.
The Montreal medical report was equally discouraging. Wayne Garrett went on the disabled list with damaged knee ligaments, Dave Cash was knocked out with an ankle sprain, and Ellis Valentine took to crutches because of a swollen ankle. "What we need is a pitcher to go out and throw nine shutout innings," said Expo General Manager Charlie Fox. So Wayne Twitchell pitched nine shutout innings. A lot of good it did. Twitchell was removed from the scoreless game for a pinch hitter, and the Expos went on to lose to the Cardinals 1-0. Warren Cromartie spared the Expos from a winless week when he singled for a 6-5 victory over the Padres.
PHIL 69-44 PITT 68-49 CHI 64-49 ST.L 65-51 MONT 52-64 NY 47-67
"We're going to catch Cincinnati," said rejuvenated Cesar Cedeno of Houston (2-4). Helping to keep the Astros within five games of the Reds (page 16) was Cedeno, who had a homer, a single, four doubles and five RBIs during 8-6 and 7-5 wins in San Francisco. Although bothered by a sore arm, Enos Cabell was also instrumental in those victories, collecting six hits and scoring five times.