When the Phillies won the world championship in 1980, Dallas Green had a lot of young players on the bench, and Torre has a lot on his. Say hello to Ken Smith, Randy Johnson, Larry Whisenton, Rufino Linares and Matt Sinatro. START SPREADING THE NEWS.
For the record, the streak started on Opening Day when Mahler beat San Diego 1-0 on a two-hitter as Hubbard drove in Butler for the only run. The Braves then took the Padres 6-4, as Murphy had a single, double and home run, and Garber saved for Walk. Murphy had another homer and two RBIs in a 6-2 victory over the Astros with Hrabosky getting the save for Boggs. Win No. 4, 8-6 over Houston, featured Butler's two RBIs and three runs and a great catch by Murphy to deny a home run. Mahler shut out the Astros 5-0 the next day as Murphy and Horner homered.
On to Cincinnati, where the Braves won 6-1 on homers by Horner and Chambliss and the pitching of Walk and Camp. Then Murphy hit a three-run homer, reserve Outfielder Linares went 4 for 4 and Garber pitched 3? scoreless innings in an 8-5 victory over the Reds. The streak grew to eight with a 5-2 win over the Reds as Benedict doubled in Linares for the tying run in the ninth and drew a walk to force in the winner in the 10th. Afterward, Torre held a meeting to tell the Braves they didn't play well. "Teams listen better after a win," he says.
The acid test came last Friday night. The Braves haven't played very well in the Astrodome in the past because the park discourages home runs. And in the fourth inning Mahler surrendered his first runs in 26? innings as the Astros went ahead 3-0. Through five, Nolan Ryan had given up only one hit and faced the minimum number of batters. "At that point we used to lay down and die," Hubbard said later. But now Benedict led off the sixth with a double, Ramirez walked and, after Pocoroba moved the runners up, Butler singled in two runs. Butler scored without a hit—on a stolen base, ground out and wild pitch. Murphy walked and Horner doubled him home. A throwing error gave the Braves their fifth run of the inning, and they went on to win 5-3, thanks to fine relief pitching by rookie Steve (Bedrock) Bedrosian and Camp.
One inning was all they needed on Saturday night, too. Horner's two-run double in the first off Joe Niekro staked the Braves to an early lead, and they hung on to beat the Astros 2-1. Incidentally, the victory prevented the Niekros from moving into second place on the all-time brother victory list behind Gaylord and Jim Perry. The aforementioned John Clarkson and his brothers Arthur and Walter are tied with the Niekros at 386. Walk started, but struggled with his control. WALK ON THE WILD SIDE.
Garber finally nailed down the victory with three innings of perfect relief. Horner also saved at least two runs with a diving stop at third. Afterward, Garber said, "What record?" He meant it. The Braves were happy about the winning streak, but they also seemed a little bewildered. It's happened so fast.
In the meantime, Atlanta was turning on, particularly to Ted's SuperStation. The bars were buzzing. Schools were letting students watch games on TV and listen on the radio. Acting ticket-sales director Andre DeLorenzo reported peddling about $40,000 worth of season tickets on Thursday alone. At least three radio stations were encouraging fans to come to the airport on Sunday night.
To cap off the madness, Bob Kelly, who, dressed as a monk, leads cheers atop the Braves dugout, named his son after Rick Camp. Kelly, who also owns the Pew & Brew in Marietta, christened his boy, born shortly after the Braves' eighth victory, Timothy Joseph Camp Kelly. "First time that ever happened to me," said Camp, "but who knows, if we keep this up, there'll be children named Brett Butler and Bob Horner and...."
"I hope we get this record stuff over soon," said Hrabosky, "so we can just start winning." BRAVES' NEW WORLD.