Rookies were instrumental in three San Francisco (4-3) wins. Outfielder Jack Clark, 21, walked in the 13th inning, stole second and scored the decisive run during a 4-3 victory in Chicago. In a 4-2 win at St. Louis, Clark connected for his 12th homer, and Outfielder Randy Elliott, 26, for his sixth. And Bob Knepper, 23, squared his record at 7-7 by trimming the Cubs 7-1 on a three-hitter.
Also getting a boost from rookies was Atlanta. After dropping their first three games, the Braves won four straight, starting the streak with a 4-3 decision over the Cubs. Don Collins, 24, got the win in that game, David Campbell, 25, was awarded a save and Third Baseman Junior Moore, 24, drove in the clinching run. Moore then hit a grand slam as the Braves defeated the Cubs 8-6 and a homer with none on as Preston Hanna, 22, picked up his first big league win by stopping the Mets 5-3. A single by Shortstop Pat Rockett, 22, finished off New York 5-4 in the 10th. Phil Niekro (13-16) was the victor in that contest, as Jeff Burroughs hit his 34th homer.
Until last week San Diego (2-3) pitchers had just one shutout and two complete games. Then rookie lefthanders Bob Owchinko, 22, and Bob Shirley, 23, showed their stuff. Owchinko (6-8) became the first Padre to pitch a complete-game shutout this season as he defeated the Cardinals 7-0. Dave Kingman walloped a grand slam in that game. Gene Tenace's homer produced the only run the next day as Shirley (8-15) and Reliever Rollie Fingers held off the Pirates. It was Fingers' 28th save, which, combined with his eight wins, gave him a hand in 36 of the Padres' first 56 victories. He is challenging Clay Carroll's league record of 37 saves and John Hiller's major league high of 38.
LA 77-52 CIN 69-61 HOUS 61-69 SF 60-71 SD 56-75 ATL 47-81