PITT 88-57 MONT 86-56 ST.L 77-67 PHIL 75-72 CHI 74-72 NY 55-89
It promised to be the pitchers' battle of the year: J. R. Richard vs. Tom Seaver; Astros vs. Reds; Smoke vs. Fire; a battle for first place. The teams had juggled their rotations for the confrontation. But the duel lasted only three innings, and neither pitcher made it to the seventh. By the time the dust had settled and Reliever Tom Hume got the last out for a 9-8 Reds' victory, eight pitchers had given up 17 runs on 28 hits. The next night the teams' No. 2 pitchers—Mike LaCoss and Joe Niekro—faced each other. This time nine pitchers gave up 11 runs on 23 hits, with Hume once again getting the final out, for his 15th save. Shell-shocked, the teams headed for the West Coast, the Reds (3-2) in front of the Astros (2-3) by 1� games.
The Dodgers (4-2) were waiting. They even had 100� weather and the worst smog in a quarter of a century to greet the visiting Reds. While the Reds rubbed their eyes, rookie Rick Sutcliffe smoked baseballs by them—he had a no-hitter for 6? innings—and got his first major league shutout, 2-0, his second win of the week over the Reds. The Giants (2-4) were held to four hits by the Astros' Vern Ruhle, but the next day the Astros lost, the Reds won and their lead was back to 1� games. The Giants also beat Atlanta (4-2), but lost two to the Braves, as did San Diego (2-4), which fell to within two games of the cellar. Randy Jones and Bob Owchinko got the only wins for the Padres while Gaylord Perry was back home planting his fall corn.
CIN 84-64 HOU 82-65 LA 71-77 SF 65-84 SD 62-87 ATL 59-88