- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The Dodgers (5-2) didn't need any lectures. In fact, they played the kind of ball teams such as the Padres dream of: They made just four errors, pulled off 12 double plays and stole six bases. Hitting? Los Angeles had plenty, including .316 batting by the pitchers and a .467, seven-RBI week by Ron Cey. Pitching? The Dodgers got a five-hit shutout from Burt Hooton and a four-hitter from Fernando Valenzuela, Hooton's second straight whitewashing being a 3-0 win at Pittsburgh. Valenzuela struck out 10 Cubs in a 6-0 victory, his sixth shutout.
Art Howe was the main cog in the Houston (5-2) offense, driving in five runs as the Astros bombed the Mets 9-3 and hammering two doubles in a 6-1 defeat of Philadelphia. Howe also doubled in the ninth and scored the tying run against Philadelphia on a single by Harry Spilman; Houston won that game 3-2 in the 10th on a two-bagger by Tony Scott and a single by Craig Reynolds. A couple of pitchers named Smith helped account for a doubleheader sweep of the Phils; Dave Smith went the final 2⅔ innings in the 6-1 opener, and Billy Smith worked the first seven innings of the 2-1 nightcap, kept Philly scoreless and won his first major league start. The Astros wrapped up a four-game sweep of the Phillies by winning 5-4 when Jose Cruz drove in the tie-breaker in the 10th that left Houston tied for first with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Five RBIs by Chris Chambliss and a grand slam by Bruce Benedict powered the Braves (3-3) past the Phillies 12-2. "You wanna talk some hitting?" Pete Rose of the Phils yelled to Atlanta rookie Brett Butler. After listening to Rose for 30 minutes, Butler led off the game with a triple and then singled in a run in the 10th as the Braves prevailed 5-3.
Bruce Berenyi fanned 23 Mets in two outings, but because of feeble hitting by the Reds (they batted .224 while losing four of seven games), the best he could do was split: a 2-0 victory and a 3-2 loss. Tom Seaver slapped out two hits of his own and drove in a run while beating New York 5-2.
SF 12-8 ATL 12-8 LA 12-8 HOU 12-8 CIN 9-10 SD 4-17
"Right now there's nothing to laugh about in Mudville, but it will all come together," philosophized Steve Rogers of the Expos (5-1) after two errors cost him a 2-1 loss to the Braves two weeks ago. Immediately thereafter, it all did come together for Montreal: The fielders made only two errors, the hitters hit, the runners zipped around the bases and the pitchers were tagged for only four runs. Gary Carter went 7 for 10 with 11 RBIs during a three-game sweep of Cincinnati in which the Expos outscored the Reds 27-1. Bill Gullickson blanked Cincy 6-0, and Ray Burris gave up only one hit in eight innings as he defeated the Reds 12-0. Rogers made it three straight shutouts when he held off Atlanta 3-0. Tim Raines, who like Carter had an injured ankle, missed two games but stole seven bases in the other four. That gave Raines 61 stolen bases, the most ever by a rookie. Andre Dawson also was on the go, stealing six bases and raising his total to 22.
Although Garry Templeton was suspended indefinitely (page 28), the Cardinals (5-2) clung to first place. Mike Ramsey replaced Templeton at shortstop, turned in a number of dazzling fielding plays and also drove in two vital runs during a 6-5 victory in San Diego. Keith Hernandez hit .444 and George Hendrick spiced his .433 spree with nine RBIs, one on a homer in the 13th that knocked off the Padres 3-2. Venerable Jim Kaat pitched 3⅓ innings of runless relief, won twice and improved his record to 6-2.
"I've never been in a pennant race before in September," said reliever Neil Allen of the Mets (3-4) near the end of August. Allen kept New York in contention with his 12th and 13th saves. Mike Marshall picked up two victories, the first when Mookie Wilson homered in the eighth to beat Houston 2-1. Stolen bases by Lee Mazzilli, Alex Trevino and Frank Taveras all led to runs as the Mets downed the Reds 3-2.
Even the Cubs (5-2) got into the act, climbing into a tie for second place for a day. Chicago overcame San Diego 9-8, tying the score with two out in the ninth on Bill Buckner's two-run single and winning in the 11th on Mike Tyson's double. Buckner, often criticized for failing to drive in runs, had two other big ribbies during a 3-1 triumph in Los Angeles. The Cubs even hit some homers. Leon Durham slugged two—the first ending an 82-inning homer drought—in a 9-7 win over the Padres. Rookie Jody Davis had three hits and drove in both runs as Doug Bird and Dick Tidrow combined to defeat the Dodgers 2-1 on Sunday.