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Faster than the Braves (1-6) could say "Gulp!" their nine-game lead had shrunk to 1�. Eight straight losses to the Dodgers (6-1) in 10 days had the Atlantans reeling. L.A. moved into second by beating the Braves four times last week: 3-2 and 5-4 in 10-inning contests; 7-6 when Dusty Baker singled in the 11th, stole second and scored on a pinch-hit single by Mike Marshall; and 2-0 on Sunday as righthander Bob Welch, who beat Cincinnati 4-0 earlier, earned his second win of the week. What's more, San Francisco (7-1) twice stunned Atlanta. Tom O'Malley's two-run homer triggered a four-run ninth that beat the Braves 6-3, and Joe Morgan's single in the ninth nipped them 3-2. Reggie Smith's .591 hitting helped the Giants look 10 feet tall.
Although Ruppert Jones went on the disabled list with a bruised heel, the Padres (4-3) were very much in the race. Keeping them there were Eric Show's 2-0 blanking of Cincinnati and John Montefusco's five-hit, 5-2 victory in Houston. But the Astros (2-6) burned the Padres twice, 6-4 with a five-run eighth and 7-6 on Tony Scott's bases-loaded single in the last of the 11th. Mario Soto of the Reds (2-5) slowed down the Dodgers 5-1.
ATL 62-47 LA 62-50 SD 60-51 SF 57-55 HOUS 48-62 CIN 40-71
"These are the things we are going to need to win the pennant," said Pittsburgh's Mike Easler. What happened was that Mets Leftfielder George Foster was about to catch a foul by Easier when he pulled up short because a ball girl was camped under the ball. Easler's foul dropped untouched, after which he doubled in a run to help the Pirates (4-4) win 7-3. Johnny Ray's two-run triple in the 17th finished off St. Louis 4-2. During that game the Cardinals (3-4) left 24 men on base, three short of the league record.
The Phillies (3-4) also had difficulty scoring. One reason was that they hit .213. Another was that Greg Gross, who was on third, failed to score on Gary Matthews' single in a 4-2 loss to the Cubs. Gross made a belated dash home and was thrown out by Right-fielder Jay Johnstone, who had decoyed him into thinking he was going to catch the ball. On successive days, the Expos intentionally walked George Vukovich to pitch to Manny Trillo, who singled in the decisive run each time as the Phils won 3-2 and 5-4.
But the Phils continued to be tormented in Chicago (5-1), where they lost for the fourth, fifth and sixth straight times. The Cubs won 4-2 and 3-2 on late hits by Bill Buckner, and 8-5 as Johnstone homered twice. The Sunshine Boys frolicked in Wrigley Field, also beating New York 5-0 behind Doug Bird's three-hitter, and 5-1 as Randy Martz yielded only two hits. New York (3-4) salvaged the finale in Chicago with some broad-daylight larceny—six stolen bases—to win 7-4.
Five years after Doug Flynn and Joel Youngblood were traded by the Reds to the Mets in separate deals on the same day, both were dealt to the Expos on the same day—from different teams. Flynn came from Texas to plug the hole at second base for the Expos (3-4). Youngblood became the first player ever to play for two teams in two cities on the same day. After singling in what would be the winning run for the Mets in Chicago Wednesday afternoon, Youngblood learned of his trade in the third inning, caught a flight and arrived in Philadelphia in the third inning that evening, went to rightfield for the Expos in the sixth and singled in the seventh. Tim Wallach had four homers and 10 RBIs.
PHIL 61-47 ST.L 61-49 PITT 58-50 MONT 57-51 NY 48-61 CHI 46-66