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On Monday night in Philadelphia there was an explosion of cheers and fireworks for what turned out to be an error. It all happened in the first inning of the Second Season. A huge crowd was on hand in anticipation of Pete Rose's 3,631st hit. Phillie Executive Vice-President Bill Giles, who was to give the signal for the pyrotechnics, shouted "No! No! No!" into a microphone when Rose's chopper was muffed by Cardinal Shortstop Garry Templeton. Alas, the man in charge of touching off the fireworks thought Giles said "Go! Go! Go!" Thus the barrage was ignited. In the eighth came another round of throaty cheers and pyrotechnics and the release of 3,631 balloons—but this time it was no mistake as Rose had singled cleanly. St. Louis won that game 7-3 with a four-homer outburst. The Cardinals took two more games in Philly, 11-3 as George Hendrick homered twice and 5-2 as John Martin and Bruce Sutter combined on a four-hitter that ended Steve Carlton's 10-game victory streak over St. Louis. That was one of three saves for Sutter, another coming when Joaquin Andujar ran his career record against Montreal to 8-0 with a 3-1 triumph. The Phillies salvaged a 6-5 win over the Cardinals when Keith Moreland singled with the bases loaded in the 10th. Then, with Larry Christenson fanning nine in six innings, Mike Schmidt slamming his 300th homer and Moreland driving in five runs, the Phils beat the Mets 8-4.
Reliever Neil Allen chalked up three saves and a win, Dave Kingman hit his 15th and 16th homers, rookie Hubie Brooks chipped in with his first three round-trippers and Rightfielder Ellis Valentine had two game-winning hits for the Mets. Valentine also threw out Tim Blackwell at second after the Chicago catcher had knotted the score at 5-5 with a single and then inexplicably slowed down after rounding first. "I had a brain spasm," Blackwell said. That wasn't the only boo-boo by the Cubs, Centerfielder Bobby Bonds and Rightfielder Heity Cruz were chasing a long drive by Kingman in the 10th when both suddenly backed off and let the ball drop for a triple that led to the decisive run in a 7-4 loss. Both outfielders thought they heard the other yell "I've got it." But, as Bonds later related, "The voice came from a fan behind us." Bonds, who had three RBIs, and Blackwell, who had two hits and scored twice, made up for their gaffes during Sunday's 6-4 triumph over Pittsburgh. Doug Bird and Mike Griffin, new acquisitions from the Yankees, downed the Mets 6-1 with the aid of a three-run homer by Jody Davis, a onetime Met farmhand.
Andre Dawson of the Expos slugged three home runs, including a grand slam that was his first four-bagger with anyone aboard this season. Bill Lee came out of the bullpen to thwart the Pirates, winning 3-1 when he tossed four innings of one-hit ball and saving a 3-2 victory by whiffing Dave Parker on three pitches with the bases jammed in the ninth. It was a dismal week for Pittsburgh, which lost twice because of errors. Fielding lapses undid Luis Tiant in his first game back in the big leagues after he had allowed only one hit to the Expos in his first five innings. The Pirates had to scramble to beat the Cubs on Sunday, Tony Pena singling in the 11th to make a 4-3 winner of Kent Tekulve, who pitched 4? innings of shutout relief.
ST.L 4-1 NY 5-2 MONT 3-2 CHI 3-4 PHIL 2-5 PITT 2-5
Lured by owner Ray Kroc's offer of free seats, 52,608—the largest crowd in the Padres' history—attended the second-half opener against the Braves. Juan Tyrone Eichelberger, San Diego's starting pitcher, supplemented Kroc's generosity by donating his day's pay—approximately $300—to charity. Such good deeds went for naught as Atlanta swept three games from the Padres; only 35,499 paid to see the last six games of the week. Reliever Rick Camp of the Braves saved the 3-2 opener and won the 4-3 closer. Gaylord Perry (page 92) went five strong innings for a 5-1 victory over the Padres, and No. 295 in his career. San Diego's two one-run losses to Atlanta gave the Padres a 4-15 record in that department. But Pitcher Chris Welsh provided some solace when he had 15 ground-ball outs in seven innings while muzzling Houston 9-1.
A pair of pinch hits by Dennis Walling carried the Astros past the Giants 6-5 and 5-4. Nifty pitching by Nolan Ryan (two hits and one run in six innings), Don Sutton (three hits in eight innings) and Joe Niekro (two hits in seven innings) provided 5-1, 5-0 and 3-0 wins over the Padres.
Los Angeles won two shutouts, Steve Howe going the final three innings in relief of Jerry Reuss as the Dodgers beat Cincinnati 4-0, and Dave Goltz and rookie reliever Alejandro Pena stopping Atlanta 5-0. Pena, a 22-year-old Dominican, allowed only one hit in four innings; he had 23 saves in the Pacific Coast League before being brought up last week. The Dodgers' other Latin whiz, Fernando Valenzuela, was a 7-6 loser to the Reds. Cincy took another 7-6 contest, beating the Giants when Sam Mejias singled in the 10th.
When Doyle Alexander of the Giants beat the Reds 5-2, he became the fourth pitcher in history to gain wins against all 26 clubs. Ed Whitson was also sharp, blanking Cincinnati 4-0. But Vida Blue was cuffed around by Houston and lasted only 2? innings. Similar shellackings were absorbed by most of the league's other All-Star hurlers last week. Collectively, the nine pitchers on the NL staff had a 5.94 ERA.