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THE WEEK (April 13-19)
Herm Weiskopf
April 27, 1981
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April 27, 1981

The Week (april 13-19)

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Fernando Valenzuela, the Mexican southpaw who is built like an overstuffed taco, continued to fatten his reputation by keeping hitters on a starvation diet. First, the 20-year-old Dodger rookie muzzled the Giants 7-1 with a four-hit, 10-strikeout effort at bitterly cold Candlestick Park. About all the Giants could do was score the first earned run ever off Valenzuela, terminating a 34⅓-inning streak that began last Sept. 15. Then, on a drizzly night in San Diego, Valenzuela fanned 10 Padres, gave up only five hits, singled twice and pared his ERA to 0.33 with a 2-0 triumph. Reliever Bobby Castillo picked up three saves. Burt Hooton helped keep Los Angeles (5-1) in first place by driving in two runs during a 4-2 victory at Candlestick, his 10th consecutive win there. That gave the Dodgers a 6-0 record, their best start since 1955.

San Diego (1-5) ended the L.A. streak 3-2 and broke its own five-game losing string when Broderick Perkins singled in the decisive run in the 10th. Singles were almost all the Padres had in their first five games last week; they batted .145 during that span and had just three doubles among 22 hits.

Atlanta's erstwhile sluggers also had difficulty laying on the lumber. While dropping four of their first five games, the Braves (2-4) produced only seven runs, and their lone homer was by Rufino Linares, a rookie outfielder. Linares' most vital hit, however, was a single in the 10th that knocked off the Astros 2-1. Biff Pocoroba also delivered a game-winning hit, singling in two runs in the ninth to topple the Giants 4-3.

Houston (2-4) got only two hits off Atlanta's Tommy Boggs, but defeated him 2-0 behind the four-hit pitching of Nolan Ryan and Frank LaCorte. The Astros' first hit was a single by Craig Reynolds in the seventh. A few minutes later, Boggs committed a three-base throwing error on a bunt and then fired a wild pitch. Ryan's nine Ks moved him into third place on the alltime list with 3,118.

Tom Seaver of Cincinnati (3-2) became the fifth pitcher to reach 3,000 strikeouts (Keith Hernandez, swinging in the fourth), a feat that lost some of its gloss when he was beaten by St. Louis 10-4. Three home runs helped Seaver to an earlier 7-1 triumph over the Padres. Rookie Bruce Berenyi, who pitched a two-hitter and won 4-0, and Mario Soto, who breezed 10-1 with a three-hitter, completed a sweep in San Diego.

Milt May batted .471 and Larry Herndon .409 for the Giants (2-4). Doyle Alexander will never be mistaken for Grover Cleveland, but he enhanced his standing as a master junkballer by stopping his former Atlanta teammates 6-2. Tom Griffin pitched his first complete game since 1976 when he dispatched the Braves 4-1 on four hits.

LA 8-1 CIN 5-4 ATL 4-5 SF 4-6 SD 3-7 HOUS 2-7


On the whole, the only ones glad to be in Philadelphia were the Phillies. All four umpires assigned to the Phillie-Pittsburgh series were hurt, starting with plate ump Joe West, who got his head bloodied in the opener when Lonnie Smith's bat slipped out of his hands as he was following through on a swinging strike. West went back to his hotel. His cohorts were late in joining him there, the three of them suffering minor injuries when their car was struck by another vehicle after the game. There was a fifth casualty: Pirate First Base Coach Al Monchak slipped in the dugout, pulled a muscle and had to be replaced.

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