Howe's also on the mound. Steve Howe of the Dodgers (7-1), that is. The rookie reliever was one big reason why Los Angeles took a one-game lead over Houston; he worked 4? scoreless innings as he got three saves. Don Stanhouse, with three hitless innings, had two more. Stanhouse finished up a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia for Don Sutton, and Howe wrapped up Burt Hooton's 2-0 defeat of New York. Jerry Reuss, however, needed no bullpen help to beat Montreal 2-0. Ron Cey, Rick Monday and Joe Ferguson hit consecutive homers during a 7-2 romp over the Expos. Cey walloped two more home runs, one in Sutton's 1-0 victory.
Atlanta (6-0) had no Howes, just howitzers. The Braves, a bunch of late boomers, gained 2� games and climbed into fourth place as they hit six homers. Dale Murphy's 26th of the year and Gary Matthews' 18th took care of Chicago 4-3. No. 27 by Murphy put them ahead of the Pirates briefly on Friday. Then, following a seventh-inning stretch during which members of the Atlanta Ballet led the fans in stretching exercises, came the most telling boom of the week—a three-run pinch blast by Jeff Burroughs that defeated the Bucs 7-4. Bob Horner's 29th home run helped Phil Niekro beat Pittsburgh 3-2. That was the second win of the week for Niekro, who defeated the Cardinals 6-2 and, like brother Joe, had two hits against them, both doubles. Rick Camp was effective, too, chalking up two saves and a victory. All of which left the Braves with 23 wins in their last 29 games, a surge that put them above the .500 level for the first time since April 25,1977.
With Terry Whitfield going 6 for 7 and with his teammates adding 23 more hits, the Giants (2-6) swept a twin bill from the Mets 11-4 and 9-4. From there on, though, the San Francisco offense fizzled, producing four runs in the last 51 innings of the week and being shut out three times in a row.
Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace, who both are disgruntled and want to be traded by the Padres (5-2), were highly productive. Three saves by Fingers brought his total to 20. When San Diego won four games in a row by a total of five runs, it was Tenace who had eight RBIs and drove in the decisive run three times. The Padres, .251 hitters for the season, batted a solid .312 for the week. Big cogs were Jerry Mumphrey (.500), Broderick Perkins (.455) and Gene Richards (.429).
LA 78-58 HOUS 77-59 CIN 74-62 ATL 70-65 SF 66-70 SD 59-78
Manager Dallas Green accused his team of "turning off the faucet" after the Phillies (4-3) had lost 10-3 to the Padres. But General Manager Paul Owens tried a different tack. "You've been trying to do this [win the Eastern race] for yourselves," Owens told the team. "For just this month, do it for me and Ruly [owner Ruly Carpenter]." According to Pete Rose, Owens got his message across. "The Pope [ Owens] isn't like most general managers," he said. "He's more of a father figure. He speaks a ballplayer's language. He hates to see us play bad. He hates to see us be non-aggressive." During the next four days, the Phillies were more aggressive, presumably having turned on the mysterious tap. Steve Carlton got his 21st victory by beating the Giants 6-4, and superb relief pitching brought three more wins. Reliever Warren Brusstar worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out mess in the 11th in San Francisco, and the Phillies won 2-1 in the 13th. The next day Pitcher Dick Ruthven had Philadelphia's only extra-base hit, an RBI double, and with Tug McGraw getting the final two outs the Phils defeated the Giants 4-3. McGraw also saved a 3-2 victory in Los Angeles for Bob Walk, who once did a different sort of throwing at Dodger Stadium. Several years ago Walk, then a mere fan, was arrested for hurling a tennis ball at Houston's Cesar Cedeno from the stands. After beating the Dodgers, the Phillies turned off the faucet and wound up a length back of the Expos.
Montreal's Warren Cromartie had eight RBIs, Rowland Office hit .414, Tim Wallach homered in his first official big league at bat, and Woodie Fryman had two saves. And unlike the Phillies and Pirates, the Expos (5-3) finished with a flourish: three shutouts in a row in San Francisco. Bill Gullickson held the Giants to three hits while winning 4-0, a two-hitter by Steve Rogers made him an 8-0 victor and Scott Sanderson breezed 9-0.
Two doubles, a home run and three RBIs by Pitcher Rick Rhoden helped defeat the Astros 7-5 and break an eight-game losing streak for the Pirates (2-4). The hitting of Dave Parker (two homers, two singles and five RBIs) and the pitching of Enrique Romo (four shutout innings of relief) beat Houston 10-4.
Ken Reitz, customarily an early-season hitting terror and late-season flop, and Tony Scott helped the Cardinals (3-4) move up to fourth. Reitz homered three times, twice during a 4-3 victory over Cincinnati in which Scott, who hit .407, applied the clincher with a single in the 10th.