Ending another season on a misleading upswing, Minnesota (7-0) built an eight-game winning streak, moved into third and extended Manager John Goryl's tenure through 1981. The Twins had won 19 of 30 since Goryl replaced Gene Mauch on Aug. 25.
Chicago regained sole possession of fifth place with a 6-3 victory over California (3-3). The White Sox (3-4) more than earned it, getting four hits from Second Baseman Jim Morrison and a complete game from Rich Dotson. Earlier they accepted a 6-4 gift win from the A's (4-2), who yielded 10 walks and committed four errors.
KC 92-63 OAK 79-77 MINN 73-82 TEX 72-83 CHI 65-88 CAL 64-89 SEA 59-96
While the Phillies (5-2) and Expos (3-4) were fighting for the spoils (page 20), other clubs were being spoilers. St. Louis (5-2) took three out of five from Philadelphia, Montreal and Pittsburgh. But the Cardinals weren't exactly overcome with joy, not even Jim Kaat, whose 2,397th career strikeout lifted him past Sandy Koufax on the alltime list, nor Ted Simmons, whose grand slam and six RBIs whipped the Pirates 10-2. Said Kaat, "We shouldn't take much delight in being spoilers. If we'd played the kind of ball we're capable of, we'd be in contention ourselves." Added Simmons, "I'm looking forward to the September when I can have a big game that helps us win our division."
The Cubs (5-2) beat the Pirates twice and the Expos once. "It doesn't mean anything," said Pitcher Lynn McGlothen, a 5-4 victor over Montreal. "It was just as dead in our dugout today as it was in July. The ultimate goal is to win, and we've been awful." The Mets were worse than that—losing seven of seven, including their 13th straight one-run game, and falling to within half a game of last place.
Slipping down among the also-rans, the Pirates (3-4) began concentrating on individual goals. Omar Moreno said he would start swiping third as well as second to reach 100 steals—he had 93 at week's end. Moreno stole twice when the Pirates were trailing by six or more runs, outraging the Expos' Ron Le-Flore, who also had 93 swipes. "What Moreno did was stupid," he said. "It didn't show a great deal of dignity. He was running scared." So, however, was LeFlore, whose broken hand prevents him from doing anything but pinch run. "It's not a race anymore," he said sadly. "It's all Omar Moreno." But that was the only title the defending world champions are likely to win. Their attack was so enfeebled that Pirate pitchers were among the best hitters. John Candelaria went 2 for 4 in his 9-4 win over the Mets, and Rick Rhoden, who was batting .405, drove in two runs to help beat St. Louis 6-3.
PHIL 85-69 MONT 85-70 PITT 80-75 ST.L 72-83 NY 63-92 CHI 62-92
Though eliminated from the race, the Braves (3-4) didn't lose their enthusiasm. "We're the guillotine now," said Pitcher Preston Hanna, as Atlanta took the heads of Los Angeles 7-2 and Houston 4-2. In the Astro game, a crowd of 24,897 pushed Braves attendance over the one-million mark for the first time since 1971. As a result, every team in the league reached that figure in the same season for the first time.