Cardinal relievers have been so inept that their appearances during games in Pittsburgh provoked the stadium organist to play Send in the Clowns. The St. Louis (2-3) bullpen reached its nadir during a subsequent series in Chicago, in which five pitchers were tagged for nine hits and seven runs in four innings before Cub Barry Foote mercifully ended the game with a two-out grand slam in the ninth. During that 16-12 victory for Chicago (3-2), Foote assaulted Cardinal pitchers for four hits—two were homers—and eight RBIs. Also included in the Cubs' 23-hit outburst were five by Ivan DeJesus, who needed just five innings to hit for the cycle.
No one pitched better than Steve Carlton of Philadelphia (2-4), who beat St. Louis on one hit, a second-inning single by Ted Simmons. For Carlton, that was his sixth one-hitter, a modern league record. Mike Schmidt's two homers and six RBIs carried the Phillies past the Mets 14-8. New York (2-4) won the two other games between the teams. After Ray Burris and Neil Allen teamed up for a 3-0 victory, Mark Bomback and three relievers held on for a 3-2 triumph.
Still in first place was Pittsburgh (4-2), which got two complete-game wins from John Candelaria and some hefty hitting from Mike Easier. By homering twice and driving across four runs in a rare start, Easler earned the job as the Pirates' regular leftfielder.
Steve Rogers became the first Montreal pitcher to go the distance when he beat Pittsburgh 3-2. One the Expos (3-3) didn't win was an 8-7 slugfest in Atlanta, where they lost despite three home runs and seven RBIs by Larry Parrish.
PITT 9-5 CHI 7-5 MONT 6-7 PHIL 6-7 ST.L 6-8 NY 5-9
"I released a lot of anxiety on that swing," said Steve Garvey of Los Angeles (7-0) after his three-run homer had decked San Diego 6-3. Garvey and the Dodgers had gotten off to a stumbling start this season, but last week he had eight RBIs as L.A. played flawlessly. The Dodgers slugged eight home runs, one a three-run shot in the 10th by Dusty Baker that beat the Giants 5-2. They also stole 12 bases, six by rookie Rudy Law, who leads the majors with nine. And the pitching was sparkling: Don Sutton and Dave Goltz fashioned shutouts against San Francisco.
Houston (3-3) also had a pair of shutouts, which helped the Astros stay on the heels of division-leading Cincinnati. With late relief help, Nolan Ryan defeated the Reds 8-0 and Joe Niekro trimmed the Mets 6-0. After a 7-4 victory over New York, winner J.R. Richard said, "I'm nine feet tall and I weigh 400 pounds, and people expect me to throw the ball 150 miles an hour." That was Richard's way of trying to say he is merely mortal and that he is 2'4" shorter, 163 pounds lighter and 55 mph slower than he has seemed to be in running up a 3-0 record.
What kept Cincinnati (3-3) in front were two wins in three games against Houston. The Reds took the opener 6-5 behind George Foster's five hits. And they won the rubber game 3-2 in 12 innings when Harry Spilman got a pinch double and Dave Concepcion, who was using a lengthy 36-inch bat to cope with outside pitches, reached out to single across the decisive run.