With Andre Dawson getting three homers and eight RBIs, Montreal (4-4) stayed half a game behind Philadelphia. The Expos had 20 hits as they swamped the Reds 19-5, then stunned the Braves 7-6 when Gary Carter slammed a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth. Three hits were all the Braves could get as Steve Rogers won 3-0.
Although the Pirates (2-4) put their best feet forward, they stumbled into fifth place. They had started the week in Los Angeles by moving up to third with a 6-4 victory over the Dodgers, a game in which they stole eight bases while Tommy John was on the mound. The Pirates had 18 steals during the week, five by Frank Taveras (he also batted .480) and six by Omar Moreno, who leads both leagues with 20 and has been safe in his last 18 attempts. At his current pace, Moreno would finish with 112 steals, six short of Lou Brock's record of 118. A 12-strikeout, six-hit effort by Bert Blyleven made him a 5-1 winner in San Francisco.
Chicago (3-3) got help from its reserves. Pinch hitter Rudy Meoli's bases-loaded single in the ninth beat San Diego 4-3. Outfielder Joe Wallis homered as the Cubs decked the Dodgers 9-7 and had a two-run triple in an 8-5 win over the Padres.
Some of the Mets" finest performances were wasted. Despite 16 hits, New York (3-4) lost 8-5 in Philadelphia. A rare double play in which the Mets nipped would-be Astro stealers at the plate and then at second base could not avert a 7-4 loss. But Nino Espinosa stopped Montreal 7-2, and Pat Zachry and Skip Lockwood held off the Expos 3-2. Left-fielder Steve Henderson made a dazzling catch in the ninth to deprive the Reds of a 3-2 win in a game the Mets won 3-2 on a 10th-inning single by Bruce Boisclair.
PHIL 16-11 MONT 17-13 CHI 15-15 ST.L 14-17 PITT 13-16 NY 14-20
"When the young guys see a 30-year-old man sacrificing himself to help the club, they are inspired," said Manager Joe Altobelli of the Giants (5-1). What those youngsters saw was Darrell Evans barreling into Cardinal Shortstop Garry Templeton to break up a double play and allow a run to score. Duly inspired, the Giants went on to win 9-3 and take over first place. Vida Blue (5-1), who pitched that game, had earlier beaten Chicago 2-1 with the help of two RBIs by Willie McCovey, who drove in seven runs during the week. Bill Madlock batted .409 and Evans .421.
Another veteran who helped his team with a hard slide was Pete Rose of Cincinnati (4-3). Rose crashed into Philadelphia's rookie second baseman, Jim Morrison, preventing a twin killing that would have given the Phillies a 3-2 win and causing a wild throw to first that permitted two Reds to score for a 4-3 decision.
Los Angeles (2-4) built both its wins around tight pitching, Doug Rau (5-0) stopping St. Louis 3-1 and Tommy John (5-1) trimming Chicago 5-2, but skidded to third.
Atlanta (1-3) played for a tie against Montreal and wound up winning. With the Braves trailing the Expos 2-1 in the last of the ninth, Darrel Chaney led off with a double. Hoping to advance Chaney and the tying run to third, Jerry Royster sacrificed. Montreal Reliever Bill Atkinson scooped up the bunt and made a wild throw toward first, enabling Chaney to score and Royster to reach second. Two walks loaded the bases before Brian Asselstine singled home the winning run.