"CHICKENMAN! He's everywhere. He's everywhere!" Like a line from the old radio script, San Diego's (5-1) own Chicken Man was everywhere. Dressed as the KGB Chicken, 24-year-old Ted Giannoulas, a local radio-station employee, has been a feature at Padre home games for several years. He dances on top of dugouts, mimics coaches' signals and helps the grounds crew. Last week the Chicken took flight to the East Coast when he went on the road with the Padres. Landing in Shea Stadium, he feigned an attack on a woman, pretended to eat a kid's hat, waved to airplanes and did a spectacular imitation of Willie Montanez' home-run trot. After Chicken's first appearance, the Padres won three one-run games in New York and Montreal behind superb pitching. Subbing for Rollie Fingers, who went home for the birth of his new son, Mickey Lolich and Mark Lee pitched six innings of hitless relief. Eric Rasmussen won twice and the 17-year veteran Gaylord Perry won No. 260, most among active pitchers. As a result, San Diego had a 64-59 record. compared to 54-71 at this point a year ago.
Reggie Smith hit four home runs early in the week, including a grand slam that beat the Phillies 5-2, as the Dodgers (4-2) swept a three-game series from stumbling Philadelphia and moved ahead of the Giants into first. Steve Garvey helped them stay there by driving in four runs to beat New York 7-3.
The Giants (3-3) and the Reds (3-4) were faltering. After Montreal's Woodie Fryman one-hit the Giants and Vida Blue, San Francisco Manager Joe Altobelli told his young players that it was possible they might never have another chance like this one, so why not seize the opportunity. The Giants then won two straight, one of them on Mike Ivie's fourth pinch homer of the season. "Poison's a worrier," Willie McCovey said of Ivie. "Coming off the bencb, he doesn't have time."
Red Manager Sparky Anderson was plenty worried. Uncharacteristically, he dressed quickly and left the clubhouse without a word after one defeat and locked the clubhouse door after another. He also reversed his usual road strategy by bunting for a tie in the ninth innning. The move worked as the Reds won in the 10th on Dan Driessen's homer. On the whole, the Reds' bats were silent, especially for Tom Seaver, who was shut out 2-0 by the Cubs. In 25 of his 27 starts, Seaver's teammates have produced an average of just 2.56 runs—nothing that the ex-Met isn't used to.
Atlanta (2-5) and Houston (3-5) lost more ground. The Braves led the Cubs 7-0 in one game but lost it 12-8. A bright spot was Phil Niekro's 9-0 win over Chicago. The same day, Niekro's brother Joe, who pitches for Houston, stopped the Cardinals 4-2. Unfortunately, the Astros were just about out of hitting. Bob Watson, who had fueled the Astros' attack since Cesar Cedeno was lost for the season in June, suffered a pulled hamstring and will be sidelined for three weeks.
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Some of their big guns boomed, and the Cubs (4-3) moved back into the race. Dave Kingman hit .346 with four homers and nine RBIs. and Rick Reuschel won twice. But the most consistent Cub, Reliever Bruce Sutter, was slumping. In a 9-7 loss to Cincinnati, he gave up a run-scoring single to Joe Morgan, a game-tying two-run homer to Ken Griffey and three more runs in the 10th.
Philadelphia (1-5) played the losers' role perfectly. The Phillies averaged 3.2 runs per game and Manager Danny Ozark made three moves that backfired. Ozark's worst maneuver was pitching to the Dodgers' hot-hitting Reggie Smith with a man on third and first base open. Smith hit a sacrifice fly and the Phillies lost 5-4. Regarding his players, Ozark said, "I'd like to take the brains out of their heads when they bat so they can't think."