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Picky, picky. That was what the western teams were during a week of interdivisional combat in which they overwhelmed the eastern clubs 24-15. Houston and Cincinnati hitters picked apart the St. Louis staff for 40 runs. Meanwhile, opposing pitchers picked on Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals (2-5), who went 0 for 16. The Padres picked on the Mets (2-5) by hitting routine balls to them; the New Yorkers made eight errors in three games in San Diego. Los Angeles, which the previous week had sent Scout Eddie Libertore to check out the Philadelphia (3-3) pitchers, stole seven bases on them in three games. Three came against Dick Ruthven, which is nothing new; during the past two seasons runners have been safe in 32 of 33 tries against him, including 23 in a row.
Eastern teams, though, had some upbeat moments. The Phillies scored in only two innings of a three-game series in L.A., but that was enough to beat the Dodgers 9-3 in one of those games. Pete Rose tied a league record with his ninth five-hit game that night. A two-run homer in the 10th by Bo Diaz made Steve Carlton a 3-1 winner in San Diego. On Sunday, Mike Krukow's four-hitter and Mike Schmidt's two-run homer, his first since coming off the disabled list, cooled off the Padres 3-0. Dickie Noles of the Cubs (2-4) beat the Reds 6-0 with a one-hitter. Dave Kingman of the Mets hit his 300th career home run. The Pirates (3-4) walloped 12 homers and batted .296. Jason Thompson, who had 20 RBIs in the last 18 games, drove in 12 runs and Tony Pena eight. And for the first time since July 1979, the Expos (3-3) won at Dodger Stadium, 4-2 and 13-1. The latter win went to Steve Rogers, who earlier had beaten the Giants 3-2.
ST.L 14-9 MONT 11-8 NY 11-12 PITT 8-12 CHI 8-15 PHIL 7-14
"During our win streak we stressed not getting overexcited. And when you're in a losing streak, it's the same thing, just in reverse. You have to know how to lose, too." So said Manager Joe Torre of the Braves (4-3), who started the season 13-0 and then lost five straight. Atlanta fans, displaying none of the equanimity that Torre seeks from his players, whooped and hollered as homers by Claudell Washington, Dale Murphy and Bob Horner helped beat Pittsburgh 7-6 and end the five-game skid. For the week, Murphy had three round-trippers and 10 RBIs. Washington, who batted .423, homered for a l-O victory over the Cubs, who were held in check by Steve Bedrosian and Reliever Gene Garber. The day before, Garber was the winner and Rick Camp the saver during a 3-0 defeat of Chicago. Those were the Braves' first back-to-back shutouts since April of 1978.
"Our bats have been singing," said Manager Dick Williams of the Padres (3-3). Pitcher Tim Lollar had one of the most melodious sticks, slugging his second home run of the season while shutting out New York 6-0. For the season Lollar had six hits in 12 at bats, was 2-0 and had a 2.27 ERA. Five innings of shutout relief by Eric Show made him an 8-5 victor over the Mets, and a carbon copy performance by Luis DeLeon enabled him to gain a 9-6 triumph over the Phils. San Diego's relief corps, the youngest and least experienced in the majors, had a 7-1 record, seven saves and a l.44 ERA for the year.
Young pitchers buoyed the Giants (5-2), too. "I know people are saying that maybe this is the first time in major league history that an established team has changed its entire rotation, but we hope it works," Manager Frank Robinson said. Last week it worked as San Francisco, which had traded away 1981 starters Doyle Alexander, Vida Blue, Alan Ripley and Ed Whitson, moved up from sixth to fourth. Three members of the revamped staff won: Bill Laskey, 24, defeated Montreal 7-0 on three hits; Alan Fowlkes, 23, beat the Expos 7-3; and Atlee Hammaker, 24, knocked off the Mets 6-3. And a three-run, last-of-the-ninth pinch homer by Reggie Smith jarred New York 5-4. Greg Minton preserved a 4-3 Sunday triumph over the Mets despite giving up his first home run in 269⅓ innings since September 1978, a drive by John Stearns.
Jerry Reuss of the Dodgers (3-3) won twice. The first victory was his second shutout in a row, 3-0 over the Phillies. He owed his other win, 2-1 over Montreal, to Jorge Orta, who hit a two-run pinch homer in the seventh. One hit was all Burt Hooton allowed while shutting out Philly 4-0.
Dave Concepcion highlighted the Cincinnati (4-2) attack by going on a .455 tear. But the biggest blow was a grand slam by Dan Driessen that helped Mario Soto coast past the Cardinals 10-1.