Sparky Anderson's recent remark about the Giants, "Don't worry, they'll wilt in the heat," haunted him after West Division-leading San Francisco (4-4) upstaged Anderson's Reds (4-3) in 80� weather at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. Willie McCovey helped win the first game of the series on Friday night with a home run, as Tom Seaver's record dropped to 9-7 and Vida Blue's soared to 12-4. Then McCovey, who hit a pinch homer earlier in the week to rescue a game with San Diego, singled in the winning run against the Reds on Saturday. Pete Rose's hitting streak was still alive at 25 games, and George Foster banged out 10 hits and eight RBIs in five games before going 0 for 10.
Just two games out of first were the Dodgers (5-3), who swept a doubleheader in Houston for their 21st and 22nd wins in their last 30 games. Houston (1-6) beat Cincinnati when James Rodney Richard pitched a four-hitter and fanned nine, but otherwise it was a bad week. The Astros dropped into last place, losing a 2-1 game to the Reds when they loaded the bases with none out in the ninth and failed to score.
Only once before in the 9�-year history of the team had San Diego (4-4) been above .500 in July. Flushed with success, the Padres promptly lost four straight before Eric Rasmussen's second win of the week, a three-hit shutout of the Braves, stopped the slide.
Atlanta (5-3),the most entertaining team in baseball this side of the Boston Red Sox, continued to play them all for fun. The Braves got six RBIs in one game from First Baseman Dale Murphy, who hit a grand slam off Vida Blue. They also rallied for six runs in the ninth inning—all on singles—to startle the Dodgers 9-8. To make certain he would give his indefatigable relief pitcher, Gene Garber, a day of rest, Manager Bobby Cox wrote Garber's name on the lineup card as the Braves' starting centerfielder, then pinch-hit for Garber when he was due up in the top of the first inning.
In the NL East, during a week of frenzied activity for the Philadelphia (5-3) bullpen, no Philly reliever looked sharper than Rawly Eastwick, seldom used as a Yankee, who was picked up by the Phils just before the trading deadline. "When he first came over here it was like spring training for him," said Manager Danny Ozark. Against the Mets, Eastwick hurled two scoreless innings to earn a victory. Two nights later against the Expos he surrendered only one hit in 4? innings for another win. The Phillies' offense remained in high gear as Greg Luzinski hit three homers for the second consecutive week and two pinch hitters—Jose Cardenal and Bake McBride—won games with home runs. The second-place Cubs (4-3) owe their lives to Bruce Sutter, the fork-balling bullpen ace, who saved all four Chicago victories without giving up a run.
Pittsburgh (3-3) pitching was airtight, yielding only 14 runs in six games. But the Bucs' hitters, minus injured Dave Parker for at least two more weeks, were shut out twice.
Montreal (3-6) should have fared better, considering the yeoman work done by Pitcher Steve Rogers and Rightfielder Ellis Valentine. Rogers stopped the Phillies 7-4 for his fourth win over them this season, then saved a game for rookie Hal Dues. Valentine supported Rogers with a 5-for-5 night against the Phillies and had a dozen hits, including a pair of homers, during the week, along with 10 RBIs. He also has an extraordinary arm, and when the Phillies' Jerry Martin made too wide a turn coming around first base on a single, Valentine threw behind him and nailed him trying to get back to the bag.
The Mets (3-3) stayed ahead of St. Louis (4-4), thanks to Centerfielder Lee Mazzilli, who cracked four homers. The Cardinals might get somewhere if they could learn how to beat the Cubs, who swept a three-game series at Busch Stadium to run their record to 9-0 against St. Louis this season.