The Pirates (3-3) had anticipated a large crowd for the first of those games with Chicago, but they were disappointed when only 2,859 showed up. Many other fans preferred to watch the Steeler-Cowboy game on TV. "We played just like the crowd—our worst performance of the year," said First Baseman Jason Thompson. Pittsburgh bounced back with a 15-5 rout of the Cubs as Richie Hebner and Bill Madlock combined for 10 RBIs on just two hits—a brace of grand slams. Mad-lock drove in the two other runs with sacrifice flies. Manager Chuck Tanner's all-righty lineup and Kent Tekulve's relief work helped Rick Rhoden defeat Carlton and the Phils 4-2. The big blow in that game was Brian Harper's three-run homer. Four hits by Mookie Wilson, who led off the game with a home run, helped the Mets (1-7) beat the Expos 9-4.
ST.L 86-63 PHIL 81-67 MONT 79-69 PITT 79-69 CHI 66-83 NY 57-91
After moving from sixth to fifth in the batting order on Sept. 6, Steve Garvey helped move the Dodgers (5-1) from second to first. Over a 12-game span, Garvey drove in 18 runs, the most vital RBI coming on a homer in the last of the 16th to beat San Diego 4-3. Los Angeles then shut out the Padres twice. Fernando Valenzuela defeated them 1-0 with a six-hitter, and Burt Hooton won 5-0 with a three-hitter. Valenzuela's 19th win came on Sunday when Pedro Guerrero's two-run double in the 10th beat Houston 5-4.
Second-place Atlanta (2-4) lost two key players for at least several days. Bob Horner hyperextended his left elbow, and Bruce Benedict bruised his right heel. But the Braves ended a four-game skid when Reliever Gene Garber sealed a 5-4 win in Cincinnati.
The Giants (5-2) refused to succumb. Dave Bergman's two-run home run in the seventh gave Atlee Hammaker a 2-1 win over the Reds, and Chili Davis hit a two-run pinch homer in the eighth to defeat Cincy 5-4. Gary Lavelle got two saves, and Al Holland and Greg Minton had one apiece. Holland was also a 4-3 victor over the Padres, thanks to Tom O'Malley's RBI single in the 11th.
Slumps, injuries and grief hounded sagging San Diego (1-6). The Padres went 29 innings without a run and lost the 16-inning game to the Dodgers even though Joe Lefebvre went 6 for 8 and Gene Richards 5 for 8. Garry Templeton was sidelined by a lower-back sprain, and Sixto Lezcano went out after being hit on the hand by a pitch. Saturday brought the worst news of all: the death of Bullpen Coach Clyde McCullough, 65. McCullough had been largely responsible for the rapid development of the Padres' corps of good young pitchers this season.
Joe Niekro, who has given up only five earned runs in his last 53? innings, was a two-time winner for Houston (4-2). Joe beat brother Phil and the Braves 5-3 and then muzzled the Dodgers 2-0 on two hits.
Bruce Berenyi of Cincinnati (2-4) again pitched well—and again lost. In his last nine starts Berenyi has had a 3.03 ERA, but the Reds have come up with just 12 runs in those games, and he has lost seven times. Last week the Braves defeated him 6-1 and the Giants beat him 2-1 even though Cincy's Alex Trevino hit the first homer of his big-league career in his 1,057th at bat.
LA 85-65 ATL 82-67 SF 79-70 SD 75-75 HOUS 69-80 CIN 55-94