Sports Illustrated - April 28, 1980

Baseball – N.L. East 


By Herm Weiskopf


The last thing the Pirates (3-2) need is more offense. That, however, was precisely what they got from two pitchers. En route to a 3-0 triumph in St. Louis, Jim Rooker hit a two-run homer. Then Jim Bibby drove in three runs as the Bucs outslugged the Cardinals 12-10.


The Cardinals (3-3) weren't intimidated by the Pirates. George Hendrick homered and had six RBIs to finish off the Bucs 12-9 and made John Fulgham a 2-1 victor in Pittsburgh by singling across the decisive run in the eighth. Hendrick batted .440 for the week and had nine RBIs. As for Fulgham, who had been clobbered the previous week by the Bucs, he said the difference was that "I had control of my mind this time" and that Coach Claude Osteen "got me to drive with my front shoulder instead of just slinging the ball." 


One pitcher the Cardinals would like to have back is Steve Carlton of the Phillies (2-3), who beat St. Louis 8-3 to raise his record against the Cards to 24-8 since he was traded away in 1972. Philly's Dickie Noles struck out eight and didn't give up a run in 6? innings in three relief appearances. Noles picked up a save during a 13-4 drubbing of the Expos as the Phillies scored eight times in the last two innings.


For late uprisings, though, no one matched Chicago (2-2), which defeated New York 12-9 after trailing 9-1 in the sixth. Dave Kingman, who already had hit a two-run homer, concluded the rally with the fifth Cub dinger of the day, a grand slam in the eighth.


Except for a 5-0 win over Chicago in which Pete Falcone gave up just five singles and a 3-2 triumph over Montreal in which Neil Allen got his third save, the week was bad news for New York (2-3). The Montreal victory was attended by only 2,052 fans, the sparsest gathering ever to watch the Mets at Shea.


Montreal starting pitchers lasted a total of only 24 innings, long enough to be racked up for 16 earned runs and 33 hits. But the Expos stole 10 bases, benefited from some long-ball hitting and got strong pitching from their bullpen, which in one 19-inning stretch gave up only a single run. Montreal beat the Phillies 5-4 when Ellis Valentine homered in the 10th and 7-5 as Gary Carter had four RBIs. The big gun, though, was Warren Cromartie, who hit .579 and unloaded two homers during a 7-3 triumph in New York.


PITT 5-3; CHI 4-3; PHIL 4-3; ST. L 4-5; MONT 3-4; NY 3-5