The Philadelphia (4-3) bats, which of late had seemed as badly cracked as the Liberty Bell, finally began to resound. Big. As in an 11-run inning, the major leagues' biggest such outburst of the season, in a 14-6 drubbing of St. Louis. The Phillies had nine straight hits over two innings that night, the longest streak of that sort in the league since 1930. Even reliever Sparky Lyle had a hit last week and the first stolen base of his 16-year career. But the biggest bopper was Gary Matthews, who drove in 12 runs and hit .435. That gave Matthews 31 RBIs in his last 26 games. In a week replete with superb pitching—there were nine shutouts in the National League—one of the finest performances was Steve Carlton's 10 scoreless innings during a 17-inning, 1-0 loss in Montreal. Carlton yielded only three hits, and his 12 strikeouts pushed him past Bob Gibson for a career league record of 3,128. Meanwhile, the race for first came down to a battle between the Expos and Cardinals (page 32).
Leon Durham and Ty Waller, who came to Chicago (4-3) in the off-season trade that sent Bruce Sutter to St. Louis, both homered during a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals. Steve Henderson's RBI single helped beat his former Met teammates 2-1. And Jody Davis, once a New York farmhand, hit one of four Cub homers during a 10-9 defeat of the Mets. Durham and Waller also slugged four-baggers that day, and Bobby Bonds broke a 9-9 deadlock when he unloaded in the eighth.
Jason Thompson's fourth home run in live games, a three-run blast, enabled Pittsburgh (2-5) to beat New York 5-3. The Mets (2-5) defeated the Pirates 4-3 on Mark Lee's wild pitch in the 13th.
MONT 26-20 ST.L 24-21 CHI 21-23 PHIL 21-24 NY 21-25 PITT 18-28
"Shoot, I don't get emotional about these things anymore," said Nolan Ryan of the Astros (4-2) after pitching a record-setting fifth no-hitter to beat the Dodgers 5-0. To understand Ryan, 34, is to realize that in his own way he was thrilled but that he learned to master his emotions long before he got control of his pitches. Although Ryan's fastball has been timed at 101 mph, his personality putt-putts along at 46 mph or so. Besides, he'd fired lour no-hitters between 1973 and 1975 while with the Angels. Nonetheless, he said, "This is probably the one I'll cherish the most. I did it at home, on national TV and my mother was here. This is the first one my mom has seen."
Mom got an eyeful. Ryan walked three men in the first three innings and then retired the last 19 Dodgers in order. On the way to his 188th career win, Ryan fired his fastball at as much as 97 mph, had a snapping curve and fanned I I batters. That gave him 3,240 strikeouts, 268 shy of Walter Johnson's big league record. Only one ball came close to being a hit, but Rightfielder Terry Puhl made a backhanded grab of that drive by Mike Scioscia near the warning track in the seventh. With two down in the ninth, Dusty Baker took two fastballs from Ryan. Both missed the plate. "I knew the curve was coming," Baker said of the next pitch. In all his no-hitters, Ryan pointed out later, his breaking pitch was at its best. It was against Baker, who, despite having guessed right, grounded to Art Howe at third for the final out. Also keeping Houston in first were Don Sutton, who defeated Atlanta 3-0 and L.A. 4-1 on a total of five hits, and Jose Cruz, who batted .500.
There were plenty of other fine pitching performances. Reliever Tom Hume of the Reds (5-1) saved Tom Seaver's 3-2 victory in San Diego and Bruce Berenyi's 2-0 triumph in Atlanta. Burt Hooton of the Dodgers (2-4) was a 3-0 victor in Houston. Chris Welsh of the Padres (1-5) blanked the Reds 6-0. Rick Mahler of the Braves (1-5) held the Astros to three hits, slammed a two-run double and won 3-1. For the Giants (5-1), it was the bullpen that excelled, Greg Minton getting three saves and Gary Lavelle winning twice. Minton also set a major league mark by extending the innings he's pitched without allowing a homer to 248 in a row. What's more, Al Holland, a longtime reliever, started in San Diego, went eight innings and won 3-0.
HOUS 30-16 CIN 28-17 SF 26-19 LA 24-22 ATL 21-24 SD 13-34