Putting on weight has helped Jerry Reuss of the Dodgers (3-3) beef up his pitching. During the off-season Reuss went on a weight-gaining program that added 10 pounds to his 6'5" frame and brought him up to 220. Reuss, relying almost exclusively on fastballs, fired his and the season's first no-hitter when he beat the Giants 8-0 with the aid of Dusty Baker's 17th homer and Steve Garvey's 16th. Only Shortstop Bill Russell's first-inning throwing error prevented a perfect game by Reuss, who has given up just four earned runs in his last 44 innings. More superb pitching produced two victories in Houston. When Don Sutton came up with a groin pull, Rick Sutcliffe started for the first time in more than six weeks, singled in two runs and blanked the Astros 3-0. And Bob Welch improved his record to 8-2 by stopping Houston 9-2.
Although attendance was up 300,000 and they were leading the West by two games, the Astros (2-4) were worried. J.R. Richard, who missed a Monday start because of what he termed a "dead" arm, gave up five runs in 3? innings and lost to the Reds 8-5 on Saturday. Richard downplayed the condition, but teammate Art Howe insisted the hurler's ailing arm was "bothering the whole team." Houston labored for both its wins. Cesar Cedeno went 5 for 5, singled in the 12th and eventually scored on a Dodger error to pull out a 5-4 triumph. And it took a two-run triple in the eighth by Jose Cruz to knock off Cincinnati 5-4.
The Reds (3-2) were concerned about two pitchers—Mike LaCoss and Tom Seaver. A 12-2 loss to St. Louis left LaCoss with a 4-7 record and 5.38 ERA. Seaver gave up nine hits and three runs and struck out just one Atlanta batter in seven innings as he won 15-3 for his third victory, about one-third of his usual number at this stage of the season. Tom Hume's 11th save, Johnny Bench's three-run double, Dave Collins' 22nd steal in a row and Ken Griffey's ninth and 10th RBIs of the week beat Houston 8-5.
Despite the confusion caused by the unexpected retirement announcements of First Basemen Willie McCovey and Mike Ivie, San Francisco (2-4) defeated Los Angeles for the first time in eight tries, 4-3, on Terry Whitfield's 11th-inning single.
Dave Cash of the Padres (3-4) summed up a clubhouse talk by Manager Jerry Coleman by saying, "He told us he wanted to have some fun and that he wasn't going to be as uptight as he has been." To prove he meant it, the manager, in Cash's words, is "even sitting down part of the time instead of pacing the dugout for nine innings." Helping the rookie skipper relax was a 5-3 victory over the Giants in which John D'Acquisto pitched five innings of hitless relief to pick up the win and Aurelio Rodriguez hit the team's first home run in 14 games. The next day Dave Winfield drove in five runs and slammed his first four-bagger in 23 games as San Diego beat San Francisco 7-3. Leftfielder Gene Richards threw out five base runners to double his season's total.
"The people in Cincinnati must think we're a bunch of clowns," said Brave Manager Bobby Cox following 8-2 and 15-3 losses to the Reds. In San Diego, however, the Braves (2-4) got the last laugh. Reliever Gene Garber saved successive games, a 5-3 victory in which Atlanta scored four times in the eighth and a 5-4 comebacker in which Bill Nahorodny hit a two-run homer with two out in the ninth. But a 3-2 loss to Chicago left Phil Niekro with a Woolworth record—5 and 10.
HOUS 42-27 LA 41-30 CIN 37-33 SF 32-39 SD 32-41 ATL 30-39
Lee Mazzilli of the Mets (7-1), who was supposed to bring back some of the team's old magic, had been as frustrated during the early season as a sorcerer with lots of hats but no rabbits. Last week, though, Mazzilli got his act together and—presto!—pulled New York out of a slump. Maz helped beat the Cubs 4-3 by doubling and scoring from second when Centerfielder Jerry Martin got tangled in the Wrigley Field ivy while hauling down a drive by Joel Youngblood. In the same game Mazzilli bunted safely, stole second and scored on a single. Mazzilli helped defeat the Phillies' Steve Carlton by hitting the first homer off the lefty in 72 innings, an inside-the-park job on which Rightfielder Bake McBride missed a diving catch and let the ball roll to the wall. Mazzilli then had six hits and two steals as New York took a doubleheader in Philadelphia 2-1 and 5-4. Neil Allen got his fourth win in the opener and his 13th save in the second. Allen saved two earlier contests, one a 9-6 triumph in L.A. in which Claudell Washington homered three times.