After his lowly team pounded the Houston Astros for 21 runs and 29 hits in the last two games, Manager Jim Leyland of the Pirates said he didn't think the Astros needed to worry.
"I've got the feeling that no matter what happens, they will win it (the National League West). I think they will play above it all, injuries or otherwise," Leyland said.
The Pirates, after pounding the Astros, 13-3, Saturday at the Astrodome, came right back Sunday to bomb the leaders of the West, 8-2, behind Bob Walk (7-7).
Although the Astros maintained their seven-game lead because Cincinnati also lost, Manager Hal Lanier was concerned enough to call a postgame meeting.
A more serious blow than the two defeats at the hands of the Pirates, who became the first major league team eliminated Saturday, was the injury to first baseman Glenn Davis.
Davis, the only real power hitter on the club, hurt his back in pregame practice, then aggravated the injury taking a swing in the fourth inning. Although it was initially diagnosed as a pinched-nerve in the lower back, he will remain behind for X-rays. The Astros open a three-game series in Chicago today.
"The Astros have veterans like Phil Garner, Denny Walling and Davey Lopes who know how hard it is to get there," Leyland said. "They will find a way to win it, even if Davis is out for a while."
Davis leads the Astros with 26 home runs and 80 runs batted in.
Joe Orsulak was the offensive catalyst in both games for the Pirates. The young outfielder was 2 for 2 Saturday and scored three times. Sunday, he also scored three times and went 3 for 5, including a double and triple.
Bob Knepper (15-10) didn't make it through the fifth inning, giving up eight hits and seven runs.
Walk pitched seven innings, giving up both runs and seven hits. Larry McWilliams finished up.
St. Louis 9, Cincinnati 3--The Reds missed two chances to gain ground on the Astros mainly because the Cardinals rediscovered their offense at St. Louis.
After scoring five runs to back Tim Conroy's excellent pitching Saturday night, the Cardinals came right back to make it easy for Bob Forsch (13-8).
On a team with the lowest batting average and the fewest runs scored in the majors, it has been a tough struggle for Forsch most of the season.
But, in this game, with Terry Pendleton pacing the attack, Forsch had the luxury of giving up three early runs, then breezing to victory.
Pendleton was 3 for 5, including a double, scored three runs and drove in two runs as the Cardinals knocked out Tom Browning early. Vince Coleman had two hits, scored three runs and stole his 88th base.
Forsch gave up only four singles after Dave Parker's run-scoring single gave the Reds a 3-2 lead in the third.
"We did pretty well, considering we had a hot ballclub come in here," Manager Whitey Herzog of the Cardinals said. "You get your starting pitcher into the ninth inning of all three games and you've done well. We feel fortunate."
Philadelphia 4, San Francisco 3--The weekend sweep by the Phillies at Philadelphia dealt a severe blow to the Giants' pennant hopes. Instead of gaining ground on the slumping Astros, they now trail by eight in the West.
The Giants can blame Steve Bedrosian. The hard-throwing bullpen ace, came to the rescue in all three games, facing 10 batters and retiring them all to earn three saves.
Bedrosian now has a career-high 22 saves.
Mike Schmidt hit his league-leading 29th home run for the Phillies and Juan Samuel homered in the seventh to break a 3-3 tie.
The Giants, who have won only four of their last 14 games, finished the season, 0-6 at Veterans Stadium.
Atlanta 4, Chicago 3--Ted Simmons is known as a good fastball hitter. And Lee Smith has a good fastball.
Simmons came up as a pinch-hitter to lead off the bottom of the ninth at Atlanta and hit a good fastball over the fence in right for his fourth home run of the season. It climaxed an uphill battle for the Braves, who spotted the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
San Diego 4, Montreal 1--Kevin McReynolds and Tony Gwynn each drove in two runs at Montreal to help rookie Ed Wojna gain his first victory. Wojna gave up three hits and one run in seven innings.
Gwynn was 0 for 12 in the series until the third when he doubled in two runs. McReynolds equaled his career high when he hit his 20th home run in the second inning. He also drove in Gwynn with an infield hit in the third.
Lance McCullers pitched the last 1 innings for the save.