HOUSTON—I’m not gonna say it’s a good thing Mikey died, but he sure wouldn’t have cared for this swampy patch of golf course rough we woke up in here, because the mosquitoes hadn’t had breakfast yet and treated us like an iHop buffet, and I would’ve had a headache from all his whining before I even found coffee.

We ended up walking behind backed-up Astrodome traffic down Almeda Rd., and got into the stadium just a few minutes before Houston took the field against the Phillies for the second of three games. They beat Carlton yesterday and J.R. Richard was going today, and another Astro win would mean six in a row, which is amazing seeing where the team was at a week ago. There were doubleheaders all over the map on this sweat-dripping Sunday, but the 4-Ds sent us to a singleheader with the hottest team—one of ’em, anyway.

Game of the Day

It’s hard to get used to watching an indoor game, but at least the turf is a darker green here and doesn’t make the ball vanish like it does in Montreal. Richard and Christenson for the Phils both put two guys on in the 1st but escape their jams, and then Tom Hutton, boinks one that lands in the right bleachers just to the left of the right foul pole. Christenson has his wicked stuff, and it stays 1-0 Brotherly Lovers until one out in the 6th, when Jose Cruuuz doubles and one out later Art Howe (can’t do anything fun with his name) doubles him in to tie the game.

Richard throws a 1-2-3 7th, and Christenson gets the first two Astros in the bottom half.  Then Ferguson raps a single. Cedeno singles him to third. Bob Watson picks out a curve and rakes it high and deep and into the left field seats and snorting cartoon bulls charge across the scoreboard!! Real Bull Luzinski doubles to lead the 8th and Schmidt walks, but J.R. bears down to get Hebner and Boone on liners and whiffs Maddox. McCarver pinch-hits a single with one out in the 9th, and here comes Sambito to face tough pinch-hitters Davey Johnson and Sizemore. Not tough enough for the Samb Man. Zip-zip, and the ‘Stros have six in a row!

PHL 001 000 000 – 1  5  2
HOU 000 001 30x – 4 11 0

W-Richard L-Christenson SV-Sambito HRS: Hutton, Watson GWRBI-Watson

Oodles of Other Action:

at CARDS 12-22-1, REDS 8-11-1
The other blistering team pummels Cincy into submission with a season-high 22 hits, including five from the unstoppable Templeton, now up to .398. St, Louis is actually down 7-3 in the 4th when they score eight off Moskau and Borbon, capped by a Mike Tyson grand slam punch-out.

W-Eastwick L-Borbon HRS: Foster, Tyson, GWRBI-Scott

at CARDS 4-7-0, REDS 2-5-0
Pete Falcone returns from the dead with five non-horrendous innings, and Ted Simmons powers three homers out of the big yard.  That’s five in a row for the Cards, and eight out of their last nine.

W-Falcone L-Soto SV-Schultz HRS: Bailey, Simmons-3, GWRBI-Simmons

PIRATES 7-14-0, at CUBS 1-9-2
The wind’s blowing out at Wrigley, just what the Bucs ordered after a rough three-game meltdown in Los Angeles. Candelaria gives the hip but hapless Cubbies nothing but a Steve Swisher homer, while the Pirates launch four into the zephyr.

W-Candelaria L-Reuschel HRS: Oliver-2, Parker, Garner, Swisher GWRBI-Stennett

PIRATES 8-12-2, at CUBS 5-8-1
Forster has to start for the Bucs, but Dennis Lamp gets the ball for Chicago, which kind of makes the result of this one obvious. Lamp is lit up for nine hits and five runs before his plug is pulled.

W-Forster L-Lamp SV-Gossage HRS: Garner, Murcer, Buckner GWRBI-Garner

EXPOS 5-12-0, at DODGERS 3-12-0
Well how about that? Rogers throws a shaky game but goes the distance and gets some revenge for the Dodgers’ 3-game sweep at the Big O.

W-Rogers L-Rhoden GWRBI-Dawson

at ROYALS 8-11-2, ORIOLES 4-9-0
Leaving Mikey’s body in the fountain has created all kinds of spooky crap in this place. Mike Flanagan, one of the toughest pitchers in the league, serves the Royals four doubles, a triple, and three homers, making eight of the eleven K.C. hits for extra bases. Which is one way to explain how Andy Hassler wins the game. The other way is the injury-battered Bird lineup, which is forced to bat Tom Shopay cleanup and still nearly fights back from a 6-0 deficit.

W-Hassler L-Flanagan HRS: Mayberry-2, McRae GWRBI-McRae (#5)

at ROYALS 3-12-0, ORIOLES 2-6-0
Another miracle, as Doug Bird leaves one out away from a complete game, and Littell enters to whiff Eddie Murray with the go-ahead run at the plate. Meanwhile, the Royals rake McGregor for three more doubles and a triple and go back up by two and a half games.

W-Bird L-McGregor SV-Littell GWRBI-Cowens

at TWINS 3-14-1, INDIANS 2-10-1 (11 innings)
Carew doubles in the 1st to stretch his hit streak to 32 games, but despite a zillion hits, Eckersley has them down 2-1 in the 9th when Rich Chiles doubles and Cubbage ties the game with a single. In extras, three singles off Kern, including the fourth of the game by Smalley, pull out the Twin win.

W-T. Johnson L-Kern GWRBI-Smalley

INDIANS 14-18-0, at TWINS 5-10-2
It’s a tight 1-0 Tribe lead in the 5th when Bill Butler, who gets the spot start because Cleveland is far weaker against lefties, nonetheless helps them string nine singles, four walks and two errors together for an 11-run inning and the ballgame. Fitzmorris doesn’t have much, either, but Carew is hitless when he comes up with a man on first in the last of the 9th. The crowd that’s left is delirious, standing. Rodney waits for his pitch, then slices it into left for 33 games in a row, and few remember the final score.

W-Fitzmorris L-Butler

RED SOX 10-9-1, at WHITE SOX 1-3-1
I think Lester reported that Knapp pitched yesterday against the Yanks, but I think he’s a little nuts sometimes, because it was actually Kravec. Knapp pitches today and completely sucks. Top of the 4th, he walks the first three guys and Jim Rice blasts a grand slam for all the runs Boston needs. They add six more for good luck.

W-Aase (5-0) L-Knapp HRS: Rice, Carbo GWRBI-Rice

YANKEES 5-10-0, at RANGERS 1-6-2
The first good Guidry game since Opening Day. Desperate for more runs, the Yanks start the infamous George Zeber at second in place of Randolph and all he does is go 2-for-4 with a homer.

W-Guidry L-Devine HRS: Zeber, Jackson, Hargrove

YANKEES 8-14-2, at RANGERS 7-10-2
Not nearly as easy, but it’s four out of five for New York. Chambliss turns around an early 3-1 Texas lead with a 3-run shot in the 4th, but Tidrow barfs it up in no time, giving up five doubles and four walks before he’s lifted infor new long relief man Sparky Lyle. Sparky is in constant trouble and boots two balls himself, but gives up nothing, and Ken Clay gets the brutal save after the Yanks take the lead for good with four in the 7th. Along with that zero-injury stat, another weird one for New York is the fact they’re second to last in the league in drawing walks, and have been hit by exactly one pitch in 33 games. The Royals have been hit 17 times.

American League through Sunday, May 18

Kansas CIty 23 11 .676
Baltimore 21 14 .600 2.5
Boston 20 14 .588 3
Texas 17 18 .486 6.5
Chicago 15 17 .469 7
New York 14 19 .424 8.5
Minnesota 13 20 .394 9.5
Cleveland 13 23 .361 11

National League through Sunday, May 18

Pittsburgh 22 13 .629
Los Angeles 19 13 .594 1.5
St. Louis 19 16 .543 3
Houston 17 18 .486 5
Cincinnati 15 17 .469 5.5
Philadelphia 15 17 .469 5.5
Montreal 14 18 .432 6.5
Chicago 12 21 .364 9

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