When the Cubs (5-2) lost 8-2 to San Francisco, the Chicago Sun-Times ran the headline: CUBS SURRENDER MEEKLY TO GIANTS. The Cubs were not amused. After beating the Giants 6-5 on a seventh-inning homer, Bill Buckner refused to speak with the press, silently pointing to a sign above his locker that read NO PRESS ALLOWED AFTER AUG. 15. WE ALL DIED YESTERDAY. Actually, the Cubs were very much alive. They went on to pound the Giants 14-4, prompting the Sun-Times to print a revisionist headline: GIANTS SURRENDER MEEKLY TO CUBS. Whereupon the Cubs began speaking to reporters.
There was plenty to talk about: Bruce Sutter's three saves, which lifted his major league-leading total to 30; Steve Dillard's 11-game hitting streak and .365 average; and the five wins that were fashioned with rallies after the sixth inning.
Pittsburgh (4-2) was making plenty of noise, too. "There's no chance anyone can catch Pittsburgh," said San Diego Manager Roger Craig after the Pirates beat the Padres 5-4 for their sixth straight win and the 17th in their last 23 games. "They get the key hits and make the key outs. They're making their own luck." Four different starters got wins—Bert Blyleven, Jim Bibby, John Candelaria and Bruce Kison—and Catcher Ed Ott had a .556 week. Pittsburgh was so impressive it won praise even when it lost. The Dodgers' Jerry Reuss, a former Pirate, beat the Bucs 5-1 and then said, "They're the best team in the league. That's not taking anything away from Houston, but who would you rather pitch to, Houston or Pittsburgh?"
Righthanders would rather pitch to Montreal (3-2). In losses to Astro righthanders J. R. Richard and Joaquin Andujar, the Expos had only nine hits and two runs. In fact, Montreal failed to score more than three runs in any game but still escaped with a winning week because Dan Schatzeder and Scott Sanderson two-hit the Astros, David Palmer six-hit the Braves, and Steve Rogers five-hit Atlanta.
When St. Louis (3-4) rookie John Fulgham was knocked out by an errant throw in pre-game practice, Trainer Gene Gieselmann revived him and said, "Now go out and throw a no-hitter." As literal-minded as any rookie, Fulgham tried to comply, pitching a perfect game for 5? innings and beating the Giants 3-0 on two hits.
Speaking at a Cincinnati baseball luncheon, Danny Ozark, Philadelphia's beleaguered manager, asked for written questions from the audience. "I wish you'd write these on white paper," Ozark said. "Anytime I see a pink slip, I think I'm fired." Ozark's outlook improved considerably after Nino Espinosa beat the Reds 3-2 on five hits, Randy Lerch defeated the Astros 5-2 on seven, and Greg Gross tripled to edge the Astros 1-0. The Mets (3-2) beat the Braves 18-5, 6-3 and 6-3, to take a 7-1 edge in the clubs' season's series and prove themselves the better of the league's two last-place teams.
PITT 70-51 MONT 66-51 CHI 65-54 ST.L 62-58 PHIL 63-59 NY 50-68
With George Foster and Joe Morgan slumping, and Ken Griffey lost for the season, Cincinnati Manager John McNamara had to go into his famous juggling act. McNamara batted Hector Cruz fourth and Dave Collins third, and they helped Tom Seaver win his ninth straight, 9-2 over San Diego. Then the Reds (4-2) won three of five one-run games against New York and Philadelphia as Dave Concepcion and Cesar Geronimo delivered game-winning hits in the ninth and eighth innings, respectively, and Vic Correll got another gamer in the 10th. Cincinnati has won 17 of its last 24.