When Montreal (6-4) beat New York 11-5 for Dick Williams' 1,000th career victory as a manager, he said modestly, "I've either been around a long time or I've had good teams." When lefthanded Pitcher Bill Lee said he felt well enough to play despite hip, back and knee miseries and objected to being placed on the disabled list, Williams grumbled. "Everything's wrong with him," he said. "He got hit by a cab jogging last year, fell on an iron railing when he was jogging at 6 a.m. this year and then wrenched his knee when his spikes got caught in his shoelaces. He's just not right." Lee responded that Williams was looking for an excuse to replace him with a righthanded pitcher, Hal Dues. "They better have a lot of bats when I pitch batting practice," said Lee, "because I'm going to break a lot of them." When Umpire Bruce Froemming said the Cubs' Scot Thompson caught a ball that had plainly dropped in, Williams was furious. Understandably so, because the call deprived the Expos of a run that would have beaten Chicago. Instead, the Cubs won 8-4 on Cliff Johnson's 14th-inning grand slam.
For the week, Johnson had four homers and 10 runs batted in, all in home games at Wrigley Field. "I think I could have a serious love affair with this ball park," said Johnson, who was acquired by Chicago from Cleveland on June 23. Steve Carlton won his 17th game for Philadelphia (2-3), beating the Cardinals 3-2 and singling in what turned out to be the winning run. First Baseman Pete Rose made a diving catch of a foul pop, spiked the ball and got a standing ovation. During a delay in a Phillie game against St. Louis that was ultimately rained out, Cardinal pitchers Pete Vuckovich and Bob Sykes began making head-first slides on the field and were joined by several hundred fans.
St. Louis (3-2), Pittsburgh (5-3) and New York (3-5) all had typical weeks. The Cardinals either feasted (14-0 over Philadelphia, 9-6 over New York) or endured famines (3-2 losses to Philadelphia and New York). Only Silvio Martinez' 4-1 complete-game victory over Los Angeles failed to fit the pattern. The Cardinals were especially pleased by Sykes' three-hit shutout of the Phillies, even if they did score too many runs.
The streaky Pirates ended a six-game losing streak and ran off five straight wins, homering in each. Getting two wins and a save from Kent Tekulve and two saves from Enrique Romo, they beat Chicago 9-7, 2-0 and 11-3 and Philadelphia 6-5 and 4-1. Dave Parker had nine hits and Tim Foli two three-hit games as the Pirates stayed within a half a game of first-place Montreal.
The Mets' Neil (Hurricane) Allen had two saves and Ray Burris stopped Montreal 7-1 on six hits for his first nine-inning victory since April 12, 1978. In the Expo win, Elliott Maddox broke an 0-for-21 streak by going 3 for 4. Afterward Manager Joe Torre reiterated his favorite Panglossian rallying cry: "We're still in contention."
MONT 62-48 PITT 61-48 PHIL 55-50 NY 53-56 ST.L 48-59 CHI 45-63
Tom Lasorda's Happiness Boys have become the Controversy Kids. First Baseman Steve Garvey and his wife Cyndy filed an $11.2 million "civil suit against Inside Sports. On the field the Dodgers turned a 4-1 lead over the Braves into a 6-4 defeat. And in the clubhouse Lasorda and Centerfielder Derrel Thomas argued about whether Thomas had been correctly positioned in the outfield. The dispute and the loss so riled Reggie Smith that the rightfielder slammed his wrist against the metal lid of a beverage cooler, opening up a wound that took 60 stitches to close. L.A. bled Dodger blue all week, losing four of seven.
Another brouhaha raged in the San Diego (4-5) locker room. After talking to several players, Coach Bobby Tolan asked Manager Jerry Coleman to hold a postgame meeting. When the meeting finally took place the next afternoon, it turned into a grievance session lasting an hour and 40 minutes. "All 25 players had a chance to get things off their chest," said player representative Randy Jones. "We agreed things had been too negative on this club. Even our kidding is negative. With the trouble we've had scoring runs, when Dave Winfield or somebody comes up with runners on first and third, Rollie Fingers or someone on the bench would say, 'Here comes a 6-4-3.' We've decided to be more positive the rest of the way." Their play certainly was: the Padres beat Houston twice—5-1 behind Bob Shirley's four-hitter and 5-3 on Von Joshua's ninth-inning double. Despite the absence of J.R. Richard (page 12), the Astros continued to hold first place by winning four of seven. Ken Forsch strengthened the rotation by beating the Giants 1-0 for his first victory since June 20.