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It is with good reason that Manager Ken Boyer of St. Louis (1-5) keeps a bottle of 1,000 aspirins in his clubhouse office. Since taking over on April 29, Boyer has watched his Cardinals lose 31 of 47 games. Moreover, Boyer, who seldom smoked, has been puffing away, possibly because he has not been able to light up the Cardinal offense. The Redbirds are batting .235, a figure rivaled only by the Cardinal teams of 1907 (.232) and 1908 (.223). Six-hit pitching by John Denny and a three-run double by George Hendrick led to a 5-3 win over Houston, the Cardinals' only victory. Aside from that it was aspirin-popping and light-up time for Boyer, as his pitchers dished out 26 walks in the next five games. Playing in Atlanta, last-place St. Louis dropped three straight to their Western Division counterparts as the Braves outscored the Cards 21-3.
Also exasperated was Manager Danny Ozark of Philadelphia (1-6). His two top sluggers—Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt—batted a combined .263 and had six RBIs, swinging for homers rather than singles as Ozark asked them to. What galled Ozark most was a 2-1 loss to the Giants in which Randy Moffitt fanned Schmidt and then Luzinski on seven pitches in the ninth with a runner on second. Steve Carlton accounted for the Phillies' lone triumph when he beat San Diego 5-0. To bolster their pitching staff, the Phillies traded Outfielder Jay Johnstone to the Yankees for Pitcher Rawly Eastwick and sent Reliever Gene Garber to the Braves for Starter Dick Ruthven.
Montreal (2-6) squandered some fine pitching. Steve Rogers, who has not given up more than three runs in any of his 16 starts, lost 1-0 in San Francisco and 2-1 in Los Angeles. Despite his 2.29 ERA, Rogers is 7-7, having been backed with only seven runs during his setbacks. Three hits were all the Giants got off Woodie Fryman, but they were enough to make him a 1-0 loser. Only Ross Grimsley (11-3) won, beating the Padres 3-1. Tony Perez' 2,000th career hit was overshadowed by his team's six-game losing streak.
Skip Lockwood of New York (2-5) won his seventh game in relief and Pat Zachry his eighth as a starter. A two-run single in the ninth by Lenny Randle gave Lockwood a 3-2 victory in San Diego. In their other win, the Mets took a 5-0 lead over the Giants and hung on for a 5-4 victory when Dale Murray came in from the bullpen to bail out Zachry.
Only one Eastern club—Pittsburgh (4-2)—played better than .500 ball. Rookie Ed Whitson got two saves and a win in relief, Ed Ott batted .438, and Frank Taveras hit .385. The swift Pirates stole 15 bases, Omar Moreno, who leads the majors with 27 thefts, getting three and Phil Garner swiping four.
CHI 34-25 PHIL 31-27 MONT 33-31 PITT 28-31 NY 29-36 ST.L 23-42
Padre owner Ray Kroc, the McDonald's tycoon, who has shelled out millions for players in the past two years, feels he has wound up with a lot of hamburgers. "I don't think they've got any guts or pride," Kroc says. "I don't know what they want. You give them a private team plane, a players' lounge, everything, and they're still responding like juveniles. Only four are responding—Ozzie Smith, Derrel Thomas, Randy Jones and Gaylord Perry. Don't the others aspire to some success? Don't they have some drive, some spirit?" After the Padres returned home from a 4-8 road trip that had dropped them from fourth place to fifth, Jones also sounded off. "We've got 10 guys with lousy attitudes, and I think it affects the team's overall ability," he said. That night the players held a 35-minute pregame meeting in which they exhorted one another to strive for team unity and effort. Against the Mets later in the evening, the Padres pulled out a 3-2 victory as Dave Winfield, who earlier had slugged his 10th homer, doubled across the tying run in the ninth and scored the winner on a single by Fernando Gonzalez. San Diego (4-4) then swept a doubleheader from Montreal 6-2 and 1-0. Eric Rasmussen won the opener with the help of a homer by Winfield and 2? innings of perfect relief by John D'Acquisto. Perry (6-2) was the victor in the nightcap with a four-hitter. Winfield, who batted .406, drove in the only run in Perry's victory and had three more RBIs as Bob Owchinko beat the Phillies 7-0.
There were no complaints about the performance of the first-place Giants (6-1), who moved 1� games ahead of the Reds. San Francisco fans, who earlier had booed Johnnie LeMaster for his lackluster hitting, cheered his slick fielding at shortstop. Outfielder Hector (Heity) Cruz, obtained from the Cubs in a trade for Pitcher Lynn McGlothen, became an instant hero. Before his first game as a Giant, Cruz was told by teammate Bill Madlock, "They're going to pinch-hit you in the bottom of the ninth, and you're going to hit a home run." With the Giants trailing the Mets 4-3 in the ninth, Cruz pinch-hit and made Madlock's premonition come true. Jack Clark ended that game with a three-run homer. That was the biggest blow of a spectacular week for Clark, who had four doubles and two homers among his eight hits and drove in 13 runs. His sixth-inning double resulted in the game's only run as Ed Halicki beat Montreal 1-0 on a one-hitter.