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THE WEEK (May 14-20)
Herman Weiskopf
May 29, 1978
AL EAST
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May 29, 1978

The Week (may 14-20)

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Chicago (3-2) moved into second place, thanks largely to Dave Kingman's offensive surge. Kingman, who started the week with a .221 average, four homers and 10 RBIs, batted .368, hit five home runs and drove in 13 runs. He wrecked the Dodgers 10-7 with eight RBIs, the final three in the 15th inning with his third four-bagger of the game.

Another awakening slugger was Willie Stargell of Pittsburgh (3-3), who began the week with two homers, eight RBIs and a .194 average. Displaying his oldtime muscle, Stargell drilled four homers, had nine RBIs and hit .350. While Bert Blyleven was muzzling the Expos 6-0 on three hits, Stargell unloaded two homers, one a prodigious drive of some 570 feet. Rookie Don Robinson (4-1) beat the Padres 1-0 on a four-hitter and the Expos 5-3. In 58 innings the 20-year-old righthander has struck out 35 and walked only nine.

It was not the fault of Montreal (1-5) relievers that the team sagged; they ran their string of runless innings to 31 with 26 zeroes last week. At fault were the Expo starters, who were tagged for eight homers, and the batters, who hit .216. Montreal's Warren Cromartie and Ellis Valentine each cut down runners at the plate, and Cromartie and Andre Dawson threw out runners at second and third, giving the Expo outfielders four assists and 18 for the season; last season they combined for 28 assists all told. The Expos' sole win came on a wild pitch in the 11th by Cincinnati's Dale Murray, which put Montreal on top 5-4.

Three days later, Murray, who had been traded to the Mets (3-2) for Outfielder Ken Henderson, unleashed another wild pitch in a 9-4 loss to the Phillies. Lenny Randle, mired in a .183 slump, batted .500. With Randle scoring five times, the Mets toppled the Braves 8-7. By scoring four runs off Phillie reliever Tug McGraw, their first against their former teammate since May 1976, the Mets won 4-3.

Hoping to bring the Cardinals (0-7) luck, Pitchers Eric Rasmussen and Pete Vuckovich shaved off their beards. It was to no avail. The Cardinals ran their winless streak to nine and fell into last place. The principal offender was reliever Mark Littell, who lost both ends of a doubleheader in San Francisco for his second and third losses in two days.

PHIL 19-15 CHI 18-17 MONT 18-18 PITT 16-19 NY 17-22 ST.L 14-24

NL WEST

Manager Sparky Anderson had two major concerns as the week began: Tom Seaver's 1-4 record and 5.79 ERA, and the inability of his Reds (4-2) to hit with men in scoring position. Seaver, Ken Griffey and George Foster quickly removed the furrows from Sparky's brow. Using "more curves, more sliders," Seaver returned to form with a 5-1, 13-strikeout effort in Montreal. Griffey batted .444, and Foster hit .435 and had 10 RBIs and three game-winning hits. Doug Bair, who has given up only one earned run in 25? innings of relief, got his fifth save.

Putting his own mind at ease was Tommy John of Los Angeles (4-2). Ten days after the Pirates stole eight bases on him, John stifled the Bucs 10-1 on four hits, did not allow a theft and picked a runner off first. Reggie Smith, with both legs and one Achilles tendon taped, batted .393. With the Dodger Stadium message board flashing REGGIE! REGGIEI REGGIE!, Smith doubled in the ninth to knock off Pittsburgh 7-6. Lee Lacy set a major league record with his third straight pinch homer. To solidify their outfield, the Dodgers dealt Glenn Burke to the A's for Bill North.

An even bigger trade, or trades, may be made by the Padres (3-3), who placed high-salaried Oscar Gamble, George Hendrick and Gene Tenace on waivers to see who might make a deal. Rookie Ozzie Smith continued to make so many scintillating plays in the field that Reds scout Ray Shore labeled him the finest shortstop he has ever seen.

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