Sports Illustrated - July 28, 1980

Baseball- N.L. East


By Herm Weiskopf


With two out in the last of the ninth and the Padres ahead 7-6, Cliff Johnson of the Cubs (2-4) kissed his bat as he waited in the on-deck circle. "I do that when I need something," he said later. "It's like your wife - when you want something from her, you butter her up." Buttered up, Johnson's bat produced a two-run double for an 8-7 win.


The Pirates (7-0) had reason to love their lumber, too, batting a resounding .331 and scoring 44 runs. Mike Easler hit .474 and John Milner, who had swatted just two homers all season, slugged three. One of Milner's drives helped Rick Rhoden beat the Dodgers 6-4 for his first victory since September 1978, when he was with L.A. Dave Parker's second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the ninth, finished off Philadelphia 13-11. In moving to within one percentage point of the first-place Expos, the Bucs also got magnificent relief work from Kent Tekulve (two saves, one win), Grant Jackson (one win, one save) and Enrique Romo (one save), who held the opposition scoreless for 11-2/3 innings.


Montreal (5-2) had to scramble to stay on top. The first of Gary Carter's three homers for the week and 3-2/3 innings of shutout relief by Stan Bahnsen beat Chicago 2-1. Steve Rogers' 11th victory was a 6-4 decision against Cincinnati, in which Ellis Valentine returned to the cleanup spot for the first time since he was hurt in May and got two of his nine RBIs for the week. Scott Sanderson earned his ninth triumph, 6-1 over the Reds. Ron LeFlore, who had seven of the Expos' 15 steals, triggered that victory with three hits, three thefts and three runs. Montreal's toughest win was a 5-4 decision in Houston, Carter singling in the tie-breaking run in the 11th. Although the Astros outhit the Expos 18-10, they left 19 men on base. Winner Woodie Fryman exasperated Houston by not allowing a run after the Astros had loaded the bases in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings.


Tight pitching and the play of Bake McBride kept the Phillies (3-5) from collapsing. Rookie Bob Walk ran his record to 6-0 when he beat Houston 4-2 on three hits. Steve Carlton fanned 10 Astros while defeating them 2-1 with the aid of McBride, who stole second after each of his two singles and scored both runs. McBride and Pete Rose then drove in three runs each to down Atlanta 7-2.


Lee Mazzilli's five home runs, 11 RBIs and .471 batting kept the Mets (5-3) in the race. In his first start since coming up from the minors, Roy Lee Jackson struck out 12 Reds and coasted to a 13-3 victory.


It was an up-and-down week for the Cardinals (3-4). They were at their best when Pete Vukovich defeated San Diego 3-0 and when they scored 10 times in the third inning of a 15-3 win the next day. It was their biggest inning since 1968. George Hendrick, who hit his 20th homer in that game, had 10 RBIs and took over the major league lead with 76. St. Louis was at its worst while dropping a doubleheader to New York, committing six errors and adding two balks and a wild pitch it its list of cardinal sins.


MONT 49-38; PITT 50-39; PHIL 47-40; NY 44-45; ST. L 39-51; CHI 36-50