- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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As far as the Expos (3-0) are concerned, home is where the victories are. After dropping the last five games of a 1-6 road trip, it was back to Montreal, where Warren Cromartie called a players' meeting. "We need leadership, more discipline, more concentration," he said. Whatever it took, the Expos had plenty of it as they tore apart the Braves 12-1, 11-2 and 7-0, with Steve Rogers getting two hits and hurling the shutout. In those three outings Montreal batted .351 and improved its home record to 21-7. For the week Andre Dawson hit .600, had five RBIs and four doubles. Tim Raines batted .500, scored six runs, drove in five and swiped five bases.
Tug McGraw of the Phillies (3-0) had a thigh ol' time, which is to say he was able to repeatedly slap his right thigh with his gloved hand—a favorite move after he mows down batters. McGraw came on in relief against Houston to save a 4-3 victory for Dick Ruthven (8-3) and a 5-4 win for Steve Carlton (9-1).
When is a single a two-run homer? When the ball gets by an outfielder and rolls to the wall. George Hendrick of the Cardinals (2-1) was credited with such a hit—an inside-the-park homer—when his liner to right was charged by Pedro Guerrero, who failed to make a shoestring catch as L.A. lost 2-1.
"I know a couple people who can't wait to fry my posterior for this trade," said Cub General Manager Herman Franks after sending Pitcher Rick Reuschel to the Yankees for Pitcher Doug Bird, a player to be named later (probably promising minor league Infielder Pat Tabler) and an undisclosed amount of cash. "But I don't care. I can take the heat." There had been plenty of heat on all the Cubs (3-0) since the season began, but they took care of it last week by sweeping three games from the Giants.
The Mets (0-3) had more errors (seven) than runs (six). That gave the New Yorkers 72 miscues in 52 games.
Rain didn't dampen the spirits of the Pirates (0-2), who were bogged down by injuries and, therefore, rather pleased to have two games washed out.
PHIL 34-21 ST.L 30-20 MONT 30-25 PITT 25-23 NY 17-34 CHI 15-37
"Frank gives a player a lot of rope, but he holds on to the other end," said Padre Catcher Terry Kennedy of Manager Frank Howard. Kennedy might have been benched by some skippers after he threw out only nine of the first 54 base stealers who challenged him this season. But, given ample rope—and tips from Coach Clyde McCullough—Kennedy stayed behind the plate and lassoed seven of the nine most recent would-be thieves. There was convincing proof of Kennedy's improvement last week: He twice gunned down Pittsburgh's Omar Moreno. Gary Lucas picked up his ninth and 10th saves as the Padres (2-0), .500 since May 9, continued to improve.