"Wnen things look grim, we always seem able to bounce back," said Manager Dick Williams of the Padres (4-4). Trailing Jerry Reuss 4-0 in the ninth in L.A. is about as grim as things can get, but San Diego won 7-5 in the 10th on Alan Wiggins' two-run single. The next night, the Padres overcame a 3-0 deficit, jolting the Dodgers 6-4 with the help of Terry Kennedy's three-run pinch homer.
Atlanta (5-1) extended its lead over San Diego to 4� games by doing lots of bouncing back itself. Glenn Hubbard's 11th-inning single gave the Braves a 6-5 victory over the Astros, who had led 5-0 in the sixth. The next day, consecutive-pitch homers by Dale Murphy and Bob Horner plus Biff Pocoroba's two-run pinch single, all in the ninth, erased Houston's 4-1 lead and made Atlanta a 5-4 winner. The Braves then trailed the Reds 2-0 and 4-3 before winning 6-4, their first win over Tom Seaver in almost four years. Atlanta scored another comeback against Mario Soto, trailing 2-0 in the first before winning 4-2 on Hubbard's shattered-bat, two-run bloop single in the seventh. "I can't enjoy anything with what we're doing," said Soto in a sotto voce postgame comment. A newspaper headline in Cincinnati (0-6) summed it up: LET'S FACE IT: REDS ARE GOING NOWHERE.
Houston (3-3) will have a hard time going anywhere without ace reliever Joe Sambito, out for the season after elbow surgery. But at least the Astros bumped the Reds out of fifth.
Renie Martin and Atlee Hammaker of the Giants (5-2) pitched back-to-back four-hitters, beating the Reds 7-1 and 3-0. By defeating Cincy 7-6 on a 12th-inning wild pitch and San Diego 4-3 on a homer in the 15th by Chili Davis, San Francisco improved its record to 16-17 in one-run games.
Timely hits by a pair of Steves made Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers (3-4) the majors' first 11-game winner. Steve Yeager's three-run blast carried Valenzuela past San Diego 6-4 and Steve Garvey's single in the eighth polished off Houston 5-4.
ATL 48-29 SD 44-34 LA 42-39 SF 37-44 HOUS 33-45 CIN 31-47
Steve Carlton of the Phillies (4-2) used his guile and slider to improve his record to 11-7. During a 1-0 triumph over St. Louis in a showdown for first, Carlton picked men off base for the eighth and ninth times this season. Then, while holding on for a 9-7 victory In New York, Carlton struck out 13 Mets.
Despite Ken Oberkfell's .421 hitting, the Cardinals (2-4) stalled, winning their only game by clobbering the Phillies 15-3 as George Hendrick drove across seven runs.