The one constant for the St. Louis Cardinals this season has been Terry Pendleton.
In a year when his teammates have been going to the sideline with alarming frequency, Pendleton has gone out to third base every day. He has played the position about as well as it can be played and has been the most consistent offensive performer on the top-scoring team in the National League.
The Cardinals welcomed slugger Jack Clark back Sunday, but it was Pendleton who came through with the big hits as Joe Magrane pitched the Cardinals to a 9-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pendleton hit his ninth home run and drove in four runs to make it easy for Magrane (6-2) to go the distance despite giving up 11 hits. The win, their third in a row after a seven-game losing streak, increased the Cardinals' lead in the East to six games.
During the winter, reports persisted that the Cardinals were trying to make a deal involving Pendleton. He, like so many of his teammates, had been in a batting slump the entire 1986 season. But, in spring training, Manager Whitey Herzog told him third base was his. Pendleton wasn't flattered, though, when the Cardinals renewed his contract at last year's terms.
The L.A. native started hitting in the first week of the season and hasn't stopped yet. He has a 19-game hitting streak and is batting .311. His 66 runs batted in are more than he had in 159 games last season.
"I was pressing last season," Pendleton said. "I was too aggressive, swinging at pitches I shouldn't (have). Herzog told me he wasn't concerned with my hitting, he just wanted me there doing the job at third because of all our left-handed pitchers.
"I've felt comfortable at the plate all season. I don't really feel pressure, because we have lots of guys who can deliver the big hit."
Clark, who suffered bruises and a swollen arm as the result of a collision at first base in last Wednesday's game with the New York Mets, was 0 for 2 in his first game back. But he drew his 105th walk in the fifth and, one out later, Pendleton hit his homer to give the Cardinals a 5-1 lead.
Magrane, a 6-6 rookie left-hander, threw 127 pitches. The 103-degree heat didn't bother him, he said.
"I come from the University of Arizona, where it's hot, too," Magrane said. "In fact, it's scorching. It's not quite like it was out there today, but it's not as if I've never pitched where it's hot."
Cincinnati 5, San Francisco 4--Eric Davis led off the bottom of the 11th inning at Cincinnati with a home run to give the Reds the win and make him a member of the exclusive "30-30" club.
The 30th home run for the young star gave the Reds a three-game lead in the West after taking two of three games from their hottest pursuer . With the Dodgers due in for three games beginning tonight, they are in a position to fatten their lead.
Davis becomes only the seventh player to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season. He stole his 38th and 39th bases earlier in the game, so he has a shot at becoming the first member of the "40-40" club.
"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit," Davis said. "I just wanted to get on base and score a run. I knew I would get a pitch I could hit. I'm not concerned about any 30-30 club. I'm concerned with us winning the division."
The Reds missed a chance to win it in regulation. They tied it in the eighth when Tracy Jones singled with one out, stole second and scored on Terry McGriff's single. But in the ninth, with the bases loaded and one out, Jones took a called third strike and McGriff popped out.
New York 7, Montreal 4--The Mets have had more fun in the last few days than they've had in the nine months since they won the World Series.
With Keith Hernandez driving in three runs and Ron Darling and Roger McDowell combining on a four-hitter, the Mets took the series at Montreal, 2-1. Coming right after a sweep of a three-game series in St. Louis, the Mets are showing confidence.
Although they are 6 1/2 games behind the Cardinals, the Mets are confident they will repeat in the East.
About the only consolation for the Expos was that the three-game series drew 122,300 and left them only 5,582 short of their total attendance last year.
Chicago 3, Philadelphia 2--With runners on first and third and Ryne Sandberg at the plate in the 10th inning at Chicago, the Phillies moved in their infield and their outfield.
Sandberg hit the ball over the head of right fielder Glenn Wilson to drive in the winning run on what ordinarily would have been just another out.
High temperatures and high humidity contributed to the Cub victory. Shane Rawley gave up eight hits and five walks in seven innings and had to depart, holding a 2-0 lead. Bullpen ace Steve Bedrosian blew the lead and Kent Tekulve gave up the hit to Sandberg.
Rick Sutcliffe matched Rawley for seven innings, but he gave up a lead-off homer to Milt Thompson to start the eighth, then walked two batters and gave up an RBI single to Wilson.
Houston 6, San Diego 0--With the Astros having lost two in a row at Houston to the Padres and 20 of their last 30 games, Manager Hal Lanier made some changes.
First, he moved Alan Ashby to the cleanup spot, then, in order to have batting coach Denis Menke in the dugout to observe the hitters, took over the coaching chores at third base.
The switch-hitting catcher hit a double and home run and drove in three runs. With Mike Scott (12-7) giving up just three hits in eight innings, it was enough to end the skid.