The time was ripe for a good old-fashioned bench-clearing brawl. Neither the Dodgers (3-3) nor the Reds (2-4) had been faring well. "We're not getting the big hit or the big out when we need it," said Los Angeles Manager Tom Lasorda. The Dodgers proved him right, dropping two winnable games, 3-2 and 7-6, to San Diego.
While committing three errors in a 12-2 loss to San Francisco, the Reds looked worse. In that forgettable game, two Red runners ended a threat by winding up together at third, and a third runner was thrown out at home by 20 feet.
Then came fight time. With the Dodgers ahead 14-2, the Reds were already on edge as Los Angeles' Davey Lopes took an unexpected swing at a 3-0 pitch—and homered. Now the Reds were seething. Trouble came, as it usually does, with an act of retribution. The next time Lopes came to bat, Cincy's Dave Tomlin threw four straight brushbacks, one of which sailed behind Lopes' neck. The Dodgers charged Tomlin en masse; the Reds charged the Dodgers en masse. After matters seemed to have cooled, the Dodgers' Derrel Thomas and the Reds' Rick Auerbach staged a fracas of their own, prompting another general brawl.
The Dodgers got the best of the evening. They not only won 17-6 on a club-record-tying seven homers, but also got an inning's work from the reactivated Reliever Terry Forster, who retired the side in his first outing of the season. Earlier, Don Sutton set a club record by getting his 210th victory, one more than Don Drysdale.
Three San Diego (3-4) irregulars—Kurt Bevacqua, Broderick Perkins and Dan Briggs—had game-winning, ninth-inning RBIs. Padre regulars didn't fare as well, as the team scored just 17 runs in seven games. Not even the signing of Pitcher Gaylord Perry through 1980 was particularly cheering. Embarrassed that Perry had gotten a loss and a no-decision despite giving up only one earned run in two starts, owner Ray Kroc wrote him, "Not a run for you and that's sad."
The news was sadder still in Atlanta (3-3), where slugger Dale Murphy (13 homers, 36 RBIs) will be out six to eight weeks recuperating from a knee operation. However, the Braves did brighten the spirits of Houston's Joe Niekro, who received a bottle of fine wine from brother Phil after beating Atlanta 4-1 for his 100th victory. At week's end he defeated the Padres 9-0 for his fifth straight victory. In that win the Astros (4-3) got a first-inning run for the 21st time this year. They have scored 23% of their runs in their first at bat. Alas, Pitcher Ken Forsch was placed on the 21-day disabled list with tendinitis.
Bob Knepper helped give the Giants a 4-2 week by beating Atlanta 6-4 on his 25th birthday. Nevertheless, there was an ill wind blowing across the Bay. The Giants have informed their Candlestick Park landlord—the city of San Francisco—that the newly installed grass surface is uneven and soft.
CIN 25-18 SF 25-21 HOUS 25-22 LA 22-25 SD 19-28 ATL 16-27