Reprinted from yesterday's lace editions
Riverfront Stadium was full to the rim with fairy-tale haters Friday night.
Most of the 51,163 gathered here were spoil sports anxious to see the Cinderella carriage of the San Francisco Giants turn back into a pumpkin. Squashed pumpkin.
Instead, the young Giants began their character-testing four-game weekend in the lair of the veteran Reds by shelling Tom Scaver to win the opener of this twinlight double-header, 7-6.
The beardless San Franciscans, who began the night with a three-game NL West Division lead over Cincinnati and Los Angeles, passed through many fires in the thrilling opener.
The Gaints knocked out Seaver, building a 5-0 lead by the sixth, then carried a seemingly safe 7-3 margin into the ninth inning.
The grizzled Reds threw a beauty of a three-run rally. After two singles and two ground outs made the score 7-4, injury-plagued Johnny Bench hit his first home run since June 2 to cut the deficit to one run.
The Giants had used almost their entire bullpen - Charlie Williams, John Curtis and Randy Moffitt - to try to save the victory for a shaky Vida Blue, who lasted only five innings.
Giant Manager Joe Altobelli had held back his ace of bullpen trumps.
Gary Lavelle, the southpaw who for two innings can throw as hard as Blue can for nine, entered to face the last Red - Dan Driessen.
The Red first baseman brought the crowd to its feet with a loud fly, but center fielder Larry Herndon snagged it near the warning track.
"That's three one-run wins in a row, beamed Darrell Evans, who with Willie McCovey, homered off Seaver. "They've come at a time when we were struggling and really needed them."
The Giants now know they cannot be nudged out of first place before the All-Star break, a watershed date that many players think foretells the pennant winner.
The Giants jumped and stomped in their visitors' dugout for every run that crossed the plate and the Reds made morale-beating mistakes.
Cesar Geronimo flubbed a one-handed catch of a 400-foot Evans fly for a three-base error that cost Seaver a run. Left fielder George Foster, who failed to hustle on two other plays, made an error - over-running a ground single that was barely moving - as another Giant run scampered home.
The Reds' flubs in the opener came large and small. Pete Rose killed a rally by being thrown out trying to go first to third. Cincinnati produced no runs out of a base-loaded, none out situation, and four other innings ended with men stranded in scoring positions.
Red pitchers walked Blue twice - a true blunder. Blue had spent most of his career in the DH world of the AL.
In that first game alone the Reds - tormented by injuries to their future Hall of Farmers, Bench and Joe Morgan - had three more injuries.
Seaver was smacked in the shin by a Roger Metzger line drive that would have been a double if Rose had not saved the ball from going into the Giant Dugout. Reliever Manny Sarmiento was sent to the hospital for X-rays after being nailed on the left arm by a liner (X-rays negative). Geronimo did not play the second game because of a "bruised left hip," which may be baseballese for the disease that outfielders get after they fail to make one-hand grabs of routine fly balls in games their team loses by a run.
Although the solo McCovey homer (his 503rd), the two-run Evans blast to right, and the run-producing errors by Geronimo and Foster led to the 5-0 lead, it was a pair of back-to-back RBI doubles by Marc Hill and Mike Ivie in the eighth that proved vital.
They looked like insurance at the time, but ended up being life-savers.
The Reds won the second game on the strength of Lum's homer following a Dave Concepcion single, plus the pitching of Bill Bonham and young Doug Bair.