Willie McCovey of San Francisco (3-2) drove in his 1,400th run in a 4-1 win over Chicago. Darrell Evans had four hits, including a three-run homer, during a 6-3 victory against the Pirates that gave the Giants a 10-2 record in their season series with the Bucs.
J.R. Richard of Houston (4-1), long noted for wildness, hurled his second straight game without a walk as he stopped Montreal 5-2. That was the final victory in an eight-game winning streak during which the Astros had their best-ever home stand (7-0).
George Hendrick of San Diego (5-1) did it all: he hit .542, had two game-winning hits and helped lock up a pair of victories with dazzling catches in center field. Dan Spillner got his sixth save and a win and Rollie Fingers had his 29th, 30th and 31st saves. Fingers also got his first hit since the 1973 World Series and pitched the final two innings of a 5-0 win over Chicago in which Randy Jones went the first seven innings.
Everybody in the West played at least .500 ball—except the Braves (2-5), whose most depressing defeat came when Reliever Steve Hargan walked four Phillies in the 14th inning and lost 3-2. Another reliever, Dave Campbell, saved two wins over the Mets.
LA 82-53 CIN 72-64 HOUS 65-70 SF 63-73 SD 61-76 ATL 49-86
The Royals (5-2) were not overpowering—they had an average of only .243—but they had enough pop to take a four-game lead. Paul Splittorff yielded only one hit (a pinch single by Charlie Moore with two out in the eighth) as he defeated Milwaukee 3-0. Doug Bird came out of the bullpen to wrap up three wins; since the All-Star break he has either won or saved 13 games. Hal McRae, who leads the majors in doubles with 45, had four.
Tight pitching by Ken Kravec and Clay Carroll enabled Chicago (2-3) to cling to second place. Kravec beat Cleveland 3-1, and Carroll, reacquired from St. Louis, tossed 3? innings of scoreless relief to hold off Baltimore 6-3.
Revealing photographs were taken of Gay-lord Perry of Texas (2-3) while he mowed down Kansas City 8-2. The pictures showed Perry in the dugout between innings, apparently taking something from a tube and dabbing it behind his right ear. And they depicted Perry on the mound fingering the spot next to his ear. All Perry would say after his four-hitter was, "I had all my stuff." Texas Shortstop Bert Campaneris had his 2,000th hit in that game.
For the first time since 1970, attendance in Minnesota (2-4) exceeded one million. Twins fans savored a 7-6, 6-5 doubleheader sweep of Toronto in which Larry Hisle got seven hits and Tom Johnson his 15th win in relief.