Sports Illustrated - May 12, 1980

Baseball – N.L. East 


By Herm Weiskopf


Three relievers came in from the cold to heat up the St. Louis (3-3) bullpen, which previously had an ERA of 7.46. Jim Kaat, who had not thrown in two weeks since being released by the Yankees, needed just eight pitches to retire the five batters he faced to wrap up an 8-2 victory over Chicago. Two days later, St. Louis benefited from two tight relief efforts against the Astros. After starter Bob Forsch came out with a spike wound in his right foot that required 15 stitches, Don Hood gave up one run in 5? innings and then gave way to Kaat, who set down seven batters in a row to conclude a 9-1 victory. Even a 4-2 loss to Houston provided some encouragement when Pedro Borbon, cut earlier by the Giants, worked three innings of shutout relief. On offense, St. Louis relied heavily on Garry Templeton (.444), Keith Hernandez (.417 and four stolen bases) and Ken Reitz, whose .409 week gave him a league-leading .386 average.


For the third and fourth times this season, Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski homered in the same game, helping Philadelphia (3-2) slow down Los Angeles (page 20) 9-5 and 7-3. Another homer, a two-run drive by rookie Luis Aguayo, made Steve Carlton a 2-1 winner over the Mets. Tug McGraw saved the win for Carlton by coming in with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh and pitching hitless ball the rest of the way.


That was only part of a frustrating week for the Mets (1-4), who lost four times by a total of four runs. Pete Falcone was the loser in the 2-1 game with the Phillies, though he equaled a major league record by striking out the first six batters. The only reprieve came when rookie Mark Bomback beat the Phillies 2-0 on two hits.


The Expos (1-5) also were frustrated. Four Montreal runners were guilty of costly base-running errors; the hitters batted .125 with men in scoring position; and six players came down with minor injuries. After being benched for weak hitting, Rodney Scott had a pinch single in the ninth against the Giants, stole second and third, and scored the winning run in a 4-3 game when Ellis Valentine singled.


Pittsburgh (3-2) added to the Expos' problems with a sweep of their series. Willie Stargell set up 5-4 and 2-1 wins with 10th-inning singles, and then doubles by Bill Madlock and Bill Robinson ended the games. Two homers by Phil Garner on his 31st birthday and the six-hit pitching of Jim Bibby knocked off the Expos 5-0.


Chicago (4-1) bumped Pittsburgh out of first place by percentage points as Lenny Randle hit .550 and Bruce Sutter got a win and two saves. Randle, a switch hitter, batted from the left side when he doubled to begin an eight-run 12th that beat the Reds 12-4 and finished the scoring with a two-run homer from the right side. The only Cub pitcher with a complete game was Mike Krukow, who defeated Cincinnati 7-1 on four hits.


CHI 11-6; PITT 12-7; PHIL 9-9; ST.L 9-11; MONT 7-12; NY 6-13