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"Believe in everything you say and do," went the lyrics to a song blasting inside the St. Louis clubhouse. "That's the way it is with us," said Catcher Steve Swisher. "We all believe in each other." Lou Brock agreed wholeheartedly. "Last year we were a stand-up club," he said. "That's a team that doesn't want to get its uniforms dirty. But this team is scrappy. We're diving into third base, diving into second base and diving into first base." As a result, St. Louis (4-2) dived into first place for the first time since 1977, tying Montreal with a 30-21 record. The Cards raised their team batting average from .280 to .291 as Garry Templeton (15 for 27), Ken Reitz (12 for 24), George Hendrick (10 for 24) and Keith Hernandez (9 for 27) all continued on batting tears. In fact, they all hit safely in every game last week. Ted Simmons had a hit or two or three in five other games, and a .450 average for the week. Hernandez—who batted .255 last season, a year he calls "purgatory"—has bashed out 50 hits in 131 trips to the plate since May 2, lifting his average from .213 to .317. However, Hernandez is more excited over Templeton's hitting. Following Templeton's four-hit performance against Los Angeles, his fourth in seven games, Hernandez gushed, "He might be the next guy to get 4,000 hits."
Montreal (2-4) beat Atlanta for Bill Lee's 100th career win and, in the fourth inning of a 12-2 win over the Braves, exploded for a team-record nine hits and 11 runs. But otherwise good news was scarce: four pitchers in six starts lasted only 34? innings and had a 4.24 ERA; Steve Rogers was winless in two starts; and in 63 "clutch" situations, Expo batters got only nine hits—a .143 average. After Rogers' 5-4 loss at Houston, Second Baseman Rodney Scott, who went 0 for 4, rode the press bus back to the hotel. "I don't deserve to be on the players' bus," he said. "I'm not helping the team." Nor was Manager Dick Williams, who was interviewed in a men's magazine. "Other teams are in the Sporting News" Catcher Gary Carter said disgustedly, "but we're right in there where it counts for the discriminating sports reader."
Pittsburgh (4-2), nine games out of first place three weeks ago, moved to within 2� games of the lead largely on the longball hitting of Dave Parker, Bill Robinson and Willie Stargell. Parker had four home runs to gain a place among the league leaders with 12. Robinson also hit four homers, two apiece in a 7-0 win over San Diego and a 5-4 defeat of Los Angeles. Stargell pinch-hit an eighth-inning two-run homer to tie the Giants at 2-2, and then Parker's bases-empty homer won the game. In the 7-0 defeat of the Padres, Pirate Pitcher Bruce Kison angrily raised his fist toward the press box and scorer Dan Donovan after Donovan ruled that Barry Evans' eighth-inning double, which was touched by Pirate Third Baseman Phil Garner, was a hit, not an error. It was the Padres' only hit. "We're in our home park," Kison whined. "It could have gone either way."
Chicago (4-2) and Philadelphia (3-4) tried group therapy. The Cubs' Bruce Sutter got saves No. 10, 11 and 12, but after a sloppily played 11-3 loss to San Diego, the Cubs turned a routine clubhouse meeting into a soul-searching session. Philadelphia Manager Danny Ozark called a similar team meeting. "Everyone in that room has talent coming out of the nose," Ozark said later. "It's disheartening to see the effort they're putting out." The most-troubled Phillie was Reliever Ron Reed, whose ERA, once 0.43, ballooned to 4.97; in his last 17 innings Reed has allowed 35 hits and 23 runs. In 12 appearances, the Phillie bullpen pitched 16? innings, gave up 16 runs and walked a dozen batters. The bright note was Steve Carlton, who beat Houston 8-0 on a one-hitter.
MONT 30-21 ST.L 30-21 PITT 28-24 PHIL 30-26 CHI 24-28 NY 21-31
Remember when People took to saying National League Least because West teams were dominating their rivals in the East? Well, it would have sounded pretty hollow last week. In interdivisional play San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta all dropped four of six games to Eastern rivals.
At San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta, the problem was pitching. Vida Blue had a complete-game victory over the Pirates, a predominantly lefthand-hitting team, but the Giants' all-lefty starting staff has lately been bombarded by everyone else. Before beating Pittsburgh, San Francisco had lost 11 of 13 as opponents hit a sizzling .320. Dodger Pitchers Doug Rau and Andy Messersmith visited the team doctor, Frank Jobe, on the same day because both were suffering minor pains. It turned out that Messersmith had an injured nerve and Rau a rotator cuff injury—Messersmith will be out for 21 days and Rau for the remainder of the season. "I'm in shock," muttered Manager Tom Lasorda.