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THE WEEK (Aug. 27-Sept. 2)
Jim Kaplan
September 11, 1978
NL EAST
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September 11, 1978

The Week (aug. 27-sept. 2)

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Despite Pittsburgh's 6-0 week, Philadelphia (5-1) remained in front. For one thing, the Phillies' bats were back. Greg Luzinski went 12 for 27, Jerry Martin 7 for 19, Garry Maddox 6 for 18 and Bake McBride 7 for 19. In fact. Manager Danny Ozark was hard-pressed to give each of the four outfielders enough playing time. Said Martin of Ozark's attempts to shuffle his outfielders, "It's like those Godawful equations in college algebra." Then there were the inevitable Phillie phlourishes. Jim Kaat got his 260th career win with help—of a sort—from Reliever Ron Reed. Ozark brought in Reed with two men on to get the final two outs. Dave Winfield promptly clouted a Reed pitch 420 feet to dead center, where Martin caught the ball with his back to the wall. "Great managing," said Ozark. And Catcher Barry Foote, hitting .196, homered to beat the Giants 4-3. "Please," said Ozark, "don't ever ask me to explain the game of baseball."

Montreal lost five of eight and two starting pitchers. Both Steve Rogers (13-10) and Hal Dues (5-6) need elbow surgery. The week wasn't a total loss because the Expos executed a hit-and-run with a man on third. With Chris Speier charging in, Dave Cash swung at a 2 and 1 pitch. He rifled it past Giant Third Baseman Darrell Evans and the run scored.

Chicago, New York and St. Louis, each 2-4, also had bright spots. The Cubs scored in every inning to beat Houston 14-11, as Bill Buckner had three hits and four RBIs. Lee Mazzilli's four hits helped the Mets beat San Francisco 10-4. And Bob Forsch of the Cardinals ended a nine-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Houston. Thanks to some timely advice from his brother Ken, a pitcher for the Astros. Forsch avoided breaking the Cardinal record for consecutive losses. Bob Forsch said, "I taught Ken some things about throwing the curveball a few years ago, and we went out for dinner. He gave me a refresher course."

PHIL 72-60 PITT 69-64 CHI 67-66 MONT 63-73 ST.L 58-77 NY 54-81

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It was an unprecedented week in Cincinnati (3-3): Pete Rose was benched. Sparky Anderson was criticized by one of his players and a game at Riverfront Stadium was rained out. In typical double-speak, Anderson referred to Rose's benching as a "rest." In fact. Rose was set down for two games after going 6 for 42. And as the Reds fell seven games out of first, Anderson was put down by Johnny Bench, who told the Dayton Daily News that the skipper was "intimidated...withdrawn from it all...too low-key...too nice, perhaps in awe of us. It's time many of us got a good chewing." And the Reds, who ordinarily hold down their fans for hours waiting for the artificial turf to dry instead of calling home games, finally relented after rain delays totaling three hours and 31 minutes and canceled a game with Pittsburgh. It was the first loss of a date in Riverfront Stadium's eight-year history.

His recent skirmishes with Don Sutton aside, Steve Garvey is still king in Los Angeles (5-2). Garvey singled home the winning run against Montreal, scored it against New York, hit a sacrifice fly to beat the Mets and was given two standing ovations by a routine crowd of 49,818 at Dodger Stadium. San Francisco lost ground to the Dodgers by dividing two-game series with Montreal, New York and Philadelphia. Vida Blue failed for the fifth time to win his 17th game, but the Giants went ahead and signed him to a six-year contract anyway.

San Diego (2-5) relinquished any claim to a shot at the divisional title by ending a 3-7 home stand, its worst of the year. Manager Roger Craig fined Jerry Turner for getting picked off first and Oscar Gamble for suiting up late. The good news was home attendance—a record 1,459,848 after 68 dates—and Dave Winfield's avoiding his annual late-season swoon by going 11 for 27 with five RBIs.

Houston (2-3) was bitter and Atlanta (3-4) was dazed. After his teammates made two errors on one play. Astro Pitcher Mark Lemongello flipped his glove in the air, tripped going into the dugout, bruising a leg, and limped back and forth waving his arms in disgust. He cooled off when the Astros took him off the hook by scoring seven ninth-inning runs to beat the Cubs 8-5. When the Braves lost their seventh straight, 14-3 to St. Louis, long-suffering Pitcher Phil Niekro—15 seasons with the club—said, "Year after year I keep thinking things are going to break for us. But when I walk back from the dugout to the clubhouse after a game, I still see the same look on the ballplayers' faces. Everyone's in a daze, looking for the same answer. I know that we are not a last-place team."

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