Darrell Evans' two-run home run completed a three-run rally in the fifth inning that carried San Francisco over Los Angeles, 3-2, yesterday and put the Giants just one game behind the NL West Division-leading Dodgers.
The Giants, with their first three-game series sweep in Dodger Stadium since 1967, pulled even with Atlanta for second place. The Dodgers lost their fifth straight; the Giants won their fifth game in succession and 10th in 12.
"We've got something in our grasp we've never had before, and we're hungry," said Evans. Replied Dodgers Manager Tom Lasorda, "We're still in first place . . . "I'd rather be where we are than where they are."
The Giants played the game, delayed nearly three hours by rain, under protest because they considered the field unsafe.
Fred Breining (11-5) shut out the Dodgers until the sixth inning, then got 3 2/3 innings of two-hit, one-run relief from Al Holland.
Breining was given a 3-0 lead when Joe Morgan walked, stole second and scored on Jack Clark's double off Burt Hooton (3-7). Evans hit a 1-1 pitch for his 16th homer.
Holland, who had not allowed a hit his past 16 2/3 innings, entered with three on, one out and a run in. He retired pinch hitters Jose Morales and Mike Marshall on fly balls. Next inning, he gave up a run on a walk, single and infield out but stranded the tying run.
Padres 3, Braves 2: Atlanta, hurt early by a four-base error on a fluke play, saw Joe Pittman single home San Diego's tie-breaking run in the top of the ninth.
A walk and a sacrifice preceded Pittman's single off Rick Camp (11-11) and made reliever Gary Lucas, 0-10 coming in, a winner. Camp lost on a complete-game six-hitter.
In the third, Gene Richards hit a fly that left fielder Terry Harper gloved just inside the foul line; Harper's momentum took him four strides into foul territory and hurtling over a fence into the Padres' bullpen. The ball popped free and umpire Ed Vargo ruled fair ball, no catch, as Richards circled the bases.
The Braves didn't fault Vargo. "A judgment call," said Manager Joe Torre. Added third baseman Jerry Royster. "He's got to show the ball. I think if the ball was fair the umpire was totally right."
The Padres made it a 2-2 game with an unearned run in the seventh.
With just seven games to play, all on the West Coast, Royster--filling in for Bob Horner (left elbow strain) more than a week now--said Atlanta could not afford any more losses. "The Giants are playing better than us or the Dodgers," he said. "A loss tomorrow (Monday night) in San Francisco would be deadly."
Astros 4, Reds 0: Nolan Ryan allowed five hits and struck out 11 over eight innings in pitching Houston to victory in Cincinnati on two-run doubles by Scott Loucks and Art Howe. It was Ryan's 144th double-digit strikeout game.
Ryan (16-10) raised his career strikeouts to 3,484, only 24 shy of Walter Johnson's record.
It was Cincinnati's home finale and 98th loss. The Reds are within two defeats of becoming the first Cincinnati club in their 114-year history to lose 100 games in a season.
Ryan had both benches doubled up with laughter after he fanned leadoff man Duane Walker and stalked around the mound waving his arms, obviously imitating the Reds' excitable rookie Brad Lesley.
Said Ryan: "You have to put some fun into a game between the two worst teams in the division."
Mets 6, Phillies 4: Mookie Wilson's broken-bat, two-run pinch single in the seventh inning at New York completed a three-run rally, broke a 4-4 tie and reduced Philadelphia's East Division pennant-elimination number to two Phillie losses or St. Louis wins.
The Phillies led, 4-3, when Ed Farmer (2-6) relieved John Denny to begin the seventh. A walk, Ron Gardenhire's single and Ellis Valentine's double tied the score. Dave Kingman was intentionally walked, Tug McGraw relieved and Wilson singled.
Pirates 3, Expos 0: Jason Thompson hit a two-run homer, Jim Morrison a solo and Larry McWilliams pitched a five-hitter for Pittsburgh at Montreal. The Expos slipped within one loss or St. Louis victory of pennant elimination.