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Bruce Sutter came off the disabled list and got his 25th save to lift Chicago (2-5) into third place. Rick Reuschel (18-5) won that game 5-2 against the Giants; four days earlier he had beaten them 3-2 as Bobby Murcer slugged his 24th home run.
The Cardinals (3-4) overhauled the Dodgers 8-6, scoring seven times in the bottom of the ninth. Roger Freed concluded the uprising with a three-run pinch homer. Then Bob Forsch (16-5) beat L.A. 2-1 with a three-hitter. Lou Brock stole four bases, leaving him one short of Ty Cobb's record 892.
Del Unser and rookie Sam Mejias filled in ably for injured Montreal Outfielders Ellis Valentine and Andre Dawson. Four RBIs by Unser helped the Expos (3-2) knock off the Braves 10-4. Mejias hit two doubles and a single during a 5-1 win in Cincinnati. Dave Cash, a .480 hitter last week, had two hits and drove in a run as the Expos again beat the Reds, this time 4-2. Cash is hitting .486 against Cincinnati this season.
Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack of New York (2-5), once the best pair of lefthanders on any pitching staff, continued to lose. Two defeats left Koosman with an 8-16 record, despite a respectable 3.35 ERA. Matlack (6-15) was bombed 11-4 by the Reds as his ERA ballooned to 4.25. Reliever Skip Lockwood continued to excel, getting his 18th save and third victory in a pair of 2-1 wins over Houston. Pinch doubles by Bruce Boisclair and Ed Kranepool were vital in those games. Boisclair, whose .571 pinch-hitting average last season was the league's best, had a two-run double in the first win. Kranepool's hit produced the Mets' first run the next day and gave him 30 hits in his last 65 pinch swings dating back to 1974, a .462 average.
PHIL 78-49 PITT 75-55 CHI 70-57 ST.L 71-58 MONT 59-69 NY 51-77
A prime reason why major league attendance has already surpassed last season's 31,318,331 has been the Reds, who have been a hot draw at home and on the road. There were 46,265 fans at Shea Stadium when Tom Seaver returned for the first time since being traded to Cincinnati. Seaver responded with a vintage performance, pitching a six-hitter, striking out 11, slamming a double, scoring twice and winning 5-1. Although not as sharp when he faced Steve Carlton and the Phillies in his next start, Seaver (15-5) survived eight walks and five hits en route to a 4-2 victory, his seventh in a row. The Reds (5-2) also beat Philadelphia 6-5, coming from behind four times and winning it with two away in the ninth, when Dan Driessen legged out an inside-the-park homer and Johnny Bench followed with his 28th home run. Crowds of more than 46,000 watched each of those triumphs at Riverfront Stadium, where attendance has reached 2,161,336.
Almost 56,000 fans saw two earlier wins there over New York, which gave the Reds six victories in seven days against the Mets. Cincinnati took the opener of the series 11-4 as George Foster clouted his 42nd home run. The Reds pulled out the second game 3-2 when Dave Concepcion drove in two runs in the seventh. Pete Rose, who had hit only .250 in his 160 previous at bats, had five two-hit games as the Reds advanced to within 8� games of the laboring Dodgers.
Despite hitting only .229 in their last five games—all of them one-run affairs—the Dodgers (4-3) salvaged three of them. With the aid of Reggie Smith's 23rd homer and 10th-inning RBI single and Mike Garman's seventh save. Tommy John (15-5) was a 2-1 winner in Pittsburgh. Then the Dodgers returned home, where they raised their attendance to 2,274,247 by playing before two crowds of more than 50,000. Garman preserved Rick Rhoden's second win of the week and 15th of the season as Los Angeles stopped St. Louis 5-4. ( Rhoden's first victory was a 5-1 verdict in Chicago, during which he had three hits, including his third home run of the season.) The Dodgers then beat the Cardinals 4-3, scoring twice in the ninth.
Three straight setbacks on the road extended Houston's losing streak to six games. When the Astros (4-3) got back home, they promptly put together a four-game victory string, their longest of the season. Joe Niekro cooled off Philadelphia 3-1, and J. R. Richard blanked Montreal 4-0 on three singles. In between were two 6-5 triumphs, one each over the Phillies and Expos, in which the Astros had five consecutive pinch hits.