Reliever Bruce Sutter of Chicago (2-4) also performed brilliantly. He earned his ninth and 10th saves with three scoreless innings that helped polish off the Dodgers 5-2 and the Padres 2-1.
There was no catching the first-place Pirates (2-4), who regrouped after 5-0 losses in San Diego and San Francisco to pull out a pair of 3-2 victories over the Giants. After Jim Bibby (5-0) and Kent Tekulve disposed of the Giants in one of those wins, Bill Madlock finished them off in the other with a 12th-inning single.
With Dick Ruthven fully recovered from off-season elbow surgery, Philadelphia (4-1) climbed from fourth to second. Ruthven helped himself with a two-run single as he beat the Reds 7-3 with late relief from Dick Noles and then went the distance for the first time since May 1979, in a five-hit, 3-0 defeat of the Astros. During Ruthven's first win of the week, Pete Rose stole second, third and home in one inning against his former team. Larry Christenson slugged a three-run homer—the Phillies' only four bagger of the week—while beating Houston 4-2.
"The club is flat," said Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals (1-5), whose only victory was a 2-1 gift from the Padres, one St. Louis run scoring on a bases-loaded walk and the other set up by a San Diego error. "Maybe I should throw things around in the clubhouse," said mild-mannered Manager Ken Boyer. For a change, George Hendrick also had something to say to the press. After botching a fly ball in rightfield, he admitted, "I probably should have caught it."
In between open dates and rainouts, the Mets (2-1) beat the Reds 7-6 and the Braves 5-3. Jerry Morales, who had been hitless in 28 plate appearances, singled across the deciding run against Cincinnati. In Atlanta, the New Yorkers got four-hit pitching from Pete Falcone and Neil Allen, who nailed down his sixth save, and three RBIs from John Stearns.
PITT 19-11 PHIL 15-13 CHI 15-15 MONT 15-15 ST.L 14-18 NY 11-18
Although 5'5" Harry Chappas was sent to the minors to make room for the return of Francisco Barrios, Bill Veeck of Chicago (3-3) wasn't caught short. For a pregame show, Veeck had White Sox Pitching Coach Ron Schueler throw a rubber ball to Herv� Villechaize, the 3'11" Tattoo of Fantasy Island. Tattoo swung—and missed—at only one of four pitches, but Veeck set off his exploding scoreboard anyway—as a tribute to a "fantasy" home run. Barrios, who hadn't pitched since last July and who underwent shoulder surgery in September, gave up three very real homers to the Brewers during his predetermined 60-pitch return. The White Sox retaliated with three home runs of their own and won 6-5 in the 10th on Thad Bosley's single. Britt Burns went five innings in relief to pick up the victory, and Ed Farmer got his ninth save. Burns then shut out the Mariners 4-0 on three hits, giving him a 5-2 record and a 1.36 ERA. After his pinch-hit, three-run double helped button down a 6-4 victory over the Brewers, Wayne Nordhagen admitted, "I didn't even see the pitch because it came out of the shirts in the bleachers."
Butch Wynegar of Minnesota (2-4) also had a lucky double, a checked-swing blooper in the ninth that gave the Twins their first win in 15 games in Boston since August 1977. Mike Marshall's frustrating spring continued: he incurred his third $100 fine for ignoring a club rule that requires neckties on road trips; he tied a team record with three wild pitches in one game; and his ERA soared to 9.00.
First-place Oakland (2-3) drubbed Toronto 12-1 before tangling with the Blue Jays in a weekend series (page 24).