Rick Reuschel of the Cubs (1-5) says he can't stand the August heat, but the truth is that opposing hitters can't stand him. A 4-2 win over Cincinnati left Reuschel 5-0, with a 2.11 ERA for the month. In the three previous Augusts the big righthander was also hot stuff, going 4-2, 4-2 and 7-0.
MONT 69-59 PITT 70-60 PHIL 68-59 NY 59-69 ST.L 57-70 CHI 50-77
First-place Houston (5-2) continued to prove that little things mean a lot. Like making only four errors all week. Like yielding a mere 2.3 walks per game. Three wins in Chicago ex-, tended Houston's string of victories over the Cubs to 13. Two of those decisions went to low-profile pitchers: Vern Ruhle, who threw a five-hitter to win 2-0, and Joaquin Andujar, who won 4-1 after Joe Sambito went the final three innings for his 13th save. Nolan Ryan's two-hitter beat Chicago 3-1. Cesar Cedeno hit Houston's first grand slam in three years, to help defeat St. Louis 7-2.
"I'm getting back the feel," said George Foster after homering twice, getting seven hits and driving across nine runs as Cincinnati (4-2) took three games in Pittsburgh. Six of Foster's RBIs came as the Reds fought back from a 5-0 deficit to an 8-7 triumph over the Pirates. Paul Moskau blanked Pittsburgh 4-0 and Tom Seaver slapped a two-run double as he held off the Bucs 5-3.
Joe Ferguson of the Dodgers (5-1) turned what was supposed to be an intentional walk into a two-run single when the Phillies' McGraw got a pitch too close to the plate. Ferguson's hit finished off an 8-4 win for Los Angeles. Dusty Baker and Rick Monday also came through, setting up Burt Hooton's 3-2 win in New York with homers. Amid the roses, however, were thorns that may impair the Dodgers' stretch drive. Reggie Smith is out for the season after surgery on his right shoulder. Pedro Guerrero went on the disabled list with a partially torn ligament in his left knee. Don Sutton has a fractured big toe. And Steve Yeager was out with a bone chip in the middle finger of his right hand.
The bad news for San Diego (3-3) was that a damaged nerve in Randy Jones' pitching shoulder, which jeopardizes his career, is inoperable. Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace said they were fed up with Jerry Coleman's managerial boo-boos and asked to be traded. "Maybe if some of my players get mad enough at me they'll start playing better," Coleman said. Mad or not, Jerry Mumphrey hit .429 and Luis Salazar .400. After John Curtis downed Philadelphia 5-1 on a four-hitter in the nightcap of a doublcheader, he explained his success by saying, "Hitters usually go for the first pitch in the second game. I was getting the first pitch over with something on it."
"The days are gone when a team looks forward to the Braves coming to town," said Dave Parker of the Pirates, after Pittsburgh lost three straight to Atlanta (5-2). The Braves' once-mediocre bullpen gained new respect as Preston Hanna, Larry Bradford, Gene Garber, Al Hrabosky and Rick Camp all either won or saved games. On offense, Bruce Benedict had four hits and three RBIs during a 10-5 romp over St. Louis. Dale Murphy's four RBIs stopped Pittsburgh 8-6. Gary Matthews' fourth hit and second homer of the night led to a 4-2 defeat of the Bucs. And Bob Horner's 28th homer and five RBIs knocked off the Pirates 7-4.
HOUS 74-55 LA 71-57 CIN 70-59 SF 64-64 ATL 64-65 SD 54-76