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THE WEEK (July 30-Aug. 5)
Melissa Ludtke Lincoln
August 14, 1978
AL WEST
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August 14, 1978

The Week (july 30-aug. 5)

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Before Dennis Martinez started against the Brewers, Baltimore (3-3) Pitching Coach Ray Miller called his wife in Ohio and had her read him some old scouting charts on Martinez, who had won only one of his previous eight starts. Miller concluded that Martinez no longer was tucking his arms behind his front leg in the windup. Problem solved, Martinez struck out a career-high 10 and won 2-1 on Eddie Murray's 21st home run in the 10th. In all, Murray had 10 hits in 26 at bats. Ed Figueroa (11-7) and a revitalized Catfish Hunter (4-4) both pitched four-hit victories for New York (4-4) over Texas, but Ron Guidry failed twice to win his 16th game. However, Guidry struck out 10 in each game and leads the league with 173. He also lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.98.

Every year Detroit (5-1) seems to unveil a pitching sensation who was not on the roster in training camp. This year's Mark Fidrych and Dave Rozema is righthander Kip Young, who checked Chicago 7-1 for his third complete-game win in his third big league start. Veteran Jack Billingham (11-5) then stopped Chicago 7-0 on four hits.

Cleveland (3-3) took three straight from Kansas City, then dropped two to Texas. Toronto (2-3) completed its best month ever (13-18 in July) with an 8-7, 14-inning win over Detroit.

BOS 68-40 MIL 61-45 BALT 60-48 NY 60-49 DET 59-49 CLEV 51-56 TOR 40-68

NL WEST

Threatening to make it a four-team divisional race, San Diego (5-1) put together its first 10-game winning streak. The Padres couldn't have chosen a more opportune time. In three one-run victories, San Diego held the Dodgers to only four runs. In the first game Eric Rasmussen (10-8) combined with Rollie Fingers for a 4-3 win. Next former Cy Young winner Randy Jones (9-9) fashioned a seven-hitter to shut out the Dodgers, 1-0. After that game L.A. Outfielder Reggie Smith said, "The Padres have never done a thing in their life and now they're popping off by saying it's a four-team race. What are they—eight games out? It might as well be 30 games out." Bob Owchinko silenced Smith and the rest of the Dodgers the next night, allowing only five hits as the Padres won 2-1, with Fingers notching another save.

Slumping Los Angeles (1-6) flew north for a showdown with first-place San Francisco (5-3). After two more one-run losses the Dodgers trailed the Giants by 4� games, but Bob Welch pitched L.A. back to within 3� games on Saturday (page 20).

Second place now belongs to Cincinnati (4-2)—and to its third baseman, Pete Rose. On Tuesday, Atlanta's Gene Garber struck out Rose to end the game (a 16-4 win for the Braves) and Rose's consecutive-game hitting streak at 44. That left Rose tied for second place with Wee Willie Keeler, both 12 games shy of Joe DiMaggio's record. The next night Cincy won 6-2 as Rose, showing that "I can hit with the pressure off," connected for a double, two singles and a home run in his first four at bats. He is now batting .318 and is in a virtual tie with Atlanta's Jeff Burroughs for the National League batting lead. Rookie Mike LaCoss (3-1) stopped San Diego's winning streak 7-1 by throwing a four-hitter.

Once Rose left town, the crowds left Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. More than 100,000 watched the Braves (2-5) drop two of three to Cincinnati, but only some 30,000 watched them duplicate that feat against Houston. Knuckleballer Phil Niekro (13-11), who was the victim as Rose extended his streak to 44 in the Braves' 3-2 loss to the Reds, came back to strike out 12 and pitch his 15th complete game as the Braves beat the Astros 7-2.

On the same night that the Braves' Niekro was pitching to Rose, Houston's Niekro, brother Joe (9-8), kept chewing away on his wad of tobacco. "If all goes well I'll use the same wad the whole game," he said, "but if I have a bad inning I'll throw it away and start over." One wad was enough as Niekro beat San Francisco 4-1, allowing only two singles. The next night J. R. Richard (11-9) held the Giants to four hits in a 4-2 win; he also struck out 11 to raise his league-leading total to 205. Enos Cabell had the game-winning hit, and the next day he had a new five-year contract. Two wins in Atlanta lifted Houston (5-2) from the division cellar for the first time since July 7.

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