AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Setting the stage for the playoff against the Orioles, Dick Williams of OAKLAND said: "I'd love to be named Manager of the Year, but if I don't get the award I hope that fat guy in Baltimore doesn't." Neither Williams nor his A's won much of anything last week. Their lone victory came on a bases-loaded walk, and their only punch was supplied by solid 6'4", 225-pound Mike Epstein. He landed on 6'5", 195-pound Pitcher Bart Johnson of the White Sox who, Epstein claimed, was throwing beanballs. Williams limited his starting pitchers to five innings, resting them for the Orioles, and gave the opening-game assignment against Baltimore to Vida Blue, who completed his five without allowing a run. On another Blue note, Blue Moon Odom admitted his arm was dead, finishing him for the year. MILWAUKEE, which had lost 13 of 14 games to the A's, beat them twice, once 1-0 behind Jim Slaton. And Skip Lockwood blanked MINNESOTA. The Twins were winless until they swept a doubleheader from the Royals with Bert Blyleven winning his fifth in a row and Jim Kaat pitching his fourth shutout. CHICAGO solidified its grip on third place as Wilbur Wood won No. 21 and lowered his ERA to 1.95 with his seventh shutout. Tom Bradley also hurled a shutout, his sixth. Dick Drago became the biggest winner ever for KANSAS CITY with his 17th win. On Aug. 13 Andy Messersmith of CALIFORNIA was 11-12. Last week he beat the White Sox to make his record 19-13.
OAK 99-60 KC 85-74 CHI 77-82 CAL 74-85 MINN 73-84 MIL 68-90
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
While the Orioles won the Eastern title, WASHINGTON won the war—to get out of town. Unaccustomed to winning anything, the Senators suddenly were hearing turnstiles clicking in Dallas-Fort Worth, where they will play their brand of ball in 1972. Immovable BALTIMORE finished first for the third straight year as Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer all won 20th games. For McNally it was the fourth such season in a row, making him the first American Leaguer to do that well since the Yankees' Red Ruffing, who won 20 or more from 1936 through 1939. DETROIT Manager Billy Martin was miffed by his Oriole counterpart Earl Weaver. Weaver insisted his team was cool and oh, so relaxed. "So relaxed," said Martin, "that with an 8-1 lead in the ninth he's got his two best relievers throwing. If we could just get them in September and be only one game behind them, we'd show Weaver something. We'd walk right by him—and then you'd see the real Earl Weaver." The Tigers twice walked right by NEW YORK despite trailing 5-0 both times. Yankee pitchers were pummeled for 41 runs in five straight losses. Bobby Murcer made a final surge for the batting title, going 4 for 9 and closing to within five points of Tony Oliva of the Twins, BOSTON kept kidding around and the kids looked good. Rookie Pitchers Mike Carman, Rogelio Moret and John Curtis each won once, and Juan Beniquez, Cecil Cooper, Carlton Fisk and Rick Miller all hit well. The CLEVELAND Indians faded away like old soldiers, losing seven and putting a lock on the cellar.
BALT 98-57 DET 90-69 BOST 85-74 NY 80-79 WASH 62-94 CLEV 58-101
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
The shortest distance between SAN FRANCISCO and a playoff berth was definitely not the route the Giants chose. Their week began with a 3-1 loss to the Astros, but then 3-1 and 2-1 wins behind Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry matched the team's longest winning streak of the month. The second victory, coming when Willie McCovey was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run, buttressed the Giant lead to a seemingly secure three games over the Dodgers with just six left for each team. Next, though, came two 6-5 losses to the Reds, one when Jerry Johnson balked in a run and later hung a slider that Johnny Bench slid out of the park; the other when the Reds hit four homers, LOS ANGELES did not exactly fly straight toward the top either. The Dodgers lost 9-3 and 4-1 to the Reds before Al Downing and Duke Sims went to work against the Braves. Downing won 2-0 for his 20th victory. Then Sims hit a three-run homer and snuffed out a Brave rally in the ninth by turning a dropped bunt into a double play, and the Dodgers won 5-4. After Sunday, when both teams won, Los Angeles was only one game behind the Giants. Budget-conscious President Nixon did not telephone Hank Aaron of ATLANTA to congratulate him on supplanting Ty Cobb as the third best RBI man of all time; he wrote him a letter. It was a good move, but it came much too late as CINCINNATI won 16 of its last 20 games against the league's top teams—Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. SAN DIEGO and HOUSTON were ending the season in a fog, and at 2:28 a.m. at that. Ollie Brown's ninth-inning hit won the second game of a doubleheader against the Astros, who had taken the opener in the 21st inning when Gary Ross, in a mist, balked.
SF 88-71 LA 87-72 ATL 80-80 CIN 79-81 HOUS 78-81 SD 60-98
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Four days and 600 miles after laying in a stock of champagne, PITTSBURGH finally popped the corks and celebrated its second straight divisional championship. En route, Dave Giusti earned his 29th save and Willie Stargell hit his 46th and 47th homers. Ron Santo of CHICAGO hit his 300th lifetime home run as rookie Burt Hooton shut out the Mets. For NEW YORK, Bob Aspromonte had two game-winning hits, one making a winner out of Nolan Ryan, who had lost nine of 10 previous games. Joe Hague of ST. LOUIS blitzed MONTREAL, beating the Expos one day with a grand slam, the next with a two-run triple. Rusty Staub, of the Expos, a .400 hitter since mid-August, raised his average to .313. Willie Montanez tied Richie Allen's PHILADELPHIA record for homers by a rookie with his 29th. It took four months and two days, but Barry Lersch finally got his fifth win, ending an 11-game losing streak. Rick Wise needed less time to complete his pitching feat, but still a lot. During a 12-inning game against the Cubs, he retired 32 men in succession before Santo broke the string. Wise got a big hit, too; it gave him the win 4-3.
PITT 96-64 ST. L 88-71 CHI 82-77 NY 82-77 MONT 69-89 PHIL 66-94