HOU 31-23 CIN 28-22 SF 26-27 LA 26-28 SD 25-30 ATL 19-32
"Scoring runs has been our problem all year," said Pete Rose, pointing out that in 28 games in which the Phils scored three runs or more, they won 25. The problem got serious as Philadelphia (1-6) scored only five runs in a six-game stretch and plummeted to third place. The makeshift keystone combination of Ramon Aviles and Rudy Meoli (5 for 28 combined) and Mike Schmidt (3 for 25) were the least productive as 57 Phillie base runners were stranded. Even in their lone win, 6-4 over Chicago, the Phillies lacked punch, scoring three unearned runs and two others when Rose took second on a passed ball and Garry Maddox beat out a double-play ball.
One benefactor was Montreal (4-3), which swept three straight from the Phillies and surged to a three-game lead, the Expos' largest ever in June. Moreover, each win was a six-hit shutout—by Steve Rogers, Bill Lee and Scott Sanderson—another Expo first that no doubt was at least partly responsible for the fired-up record crowds that crammed into Olympic Stadium. In four dates 128,766 fans turned out, pushing attendance 82,543 ahead of last year's pace. The fans offered ovation after ovation—for the pitchers, for Ellis Valentine, who drove home six runs in a win over St. Louis, and even for Gary Carter's simply throwing out a runner trying to steal second. "In 40 years of baseball I've never seen that," said Manager Dick Williams.
Benefiting even more from Philadelphia's el pholdo was Pittsburgh (6-1), which, propelled by the hitting of Bill Robinson (.474), Omar Moreno (.406), Willie Stargell (.333) and Dave Parker (.300), had its best week of the season and rejoined the divisional race by gaining five games on the Phillies. Victories by 2-1, 4-3 and 9-8 scores represented a surprise turnaround for Pittsburgh, which earlier had lost nine of 12 one-run games. After doubling twice, homering and driving in three runs, Parker cooed, "It's about time. I consider it a slump when I get only one hit a day."
St. Louis (5-2) exploded for 95 hits and 49 runs to go ahead of the Phillies into second place. The hottest bats belonged to Garry Templeton (three four-hit games), George Hendrick (two four-hit games) and Keith Hernandez, who batted .567 and had at least two hits in seven straight games. Bob Forsch, frequently a victim of silent Card bats, benefited twice, in an 11-3 decision over Montreal and in a 12-5 laugher over Los Angeles.
Chicago (2-5) and New York (2-5) were unimpressive, which is not unusual. Met Reliever Neil Allen tore rib-cage muscles delivering a pitch. The Cubs' Dave Kingman rapped two homers and a double for six RBIs in a win over San Francisco and another four-bagger the next day to raise his league-leading home run total to 18.
MONT 28-17 ST. L 26-19 PHIL 27-22 PITT 24-22 CHI 20-26 NY 17-29