While the Athletics were overwhelming seven straight starters with hair power, the Chicago White Sox lost but once in six games yet dropped another 1½ games behind their Western rivals. Before their biggest home crowd (51,904) since 1954, the Sox twice rocked the Yankees as Dick Allen won the nightcap 5-4 with his now-famous pinch home run. Shaking off a yearlong slump, Bill Melton fouled off six consecutive pitches against Milwaukee before hitting a three-run homer into the teeth of a 25-mph wind. The 3-2 triumph was Chicago's 21st in 25 home games and the Sox' 15th win in 21 one-run decisions.
Minnesota used three of its least-noted hitters, Eric Soderholm, Steve Brye and Rick Dempsey, for a game of beat the clock in Baltimore. All three came through in the ninth inning to erase a 4-1 deficit and the Twins went on to win 5-4 in the 15th, beating the Baltimore curfew by one minute. The Twins proceeded to lose three games in which they scored a total of four runs.
California started a so-so week the hard way by ending a five-game win streak at Cleveland, where Manager Del Rice was ejected for unangelic lobbying the third time this season. California also suffered a one-run loss to Boston in a rain-shortened, 6½ inning contest before bouncing back Saturday afternoon to win 7-3, sparked by Bob Oliver's seventh home run.
Kansas City got a superb pitching performance from Jim Rooker, who blanked the Yanks 1-0 on a four-hitter. Earlier Paul Schaal's first grand-slam homer salvaged half a doubleheader with Boston.
Texas, with Catcher Rich Billings collecting 10 hits in 23 at bats, was remarkable for banging out 57 hits, considerably above the Ranger norm.
OAK 33-13 CHI 28-18 MINN 25-19 CAL 23-26 KC 20-27 TEX 20-29
What with the problems pervading that dynasty in Baltimore, Detroit should have been ready to take command, but the Tigers' high point of the week was a rather ragged occasion. Mickey Lolich pitched his 150th career victory when he somehow survived three home runs for an 8-6 decision over the Angels. Detroit thereafter dropped four straight as its four-game lead dwindled to one. Lolich was tagged for two more homers Saturday by the A's, running his gopher ball count to five in 14 innings. "My slider just isn't working," he said, "so I have to go to my fastball, and I knew they'd catch up with that."
The Orioles also began to catch up a bit after starting the week with a pair of 2-0 losses to Oakland. Reacting perhaps to Earl Weaver's thought that "we might have some guys over the hill," Brooks Robinson hit his first homer in 146 at bats, then another and was nine for 18 over the week. Boog Powell, now crowding the plate but still hitting in the .150 area, got two hits in an 11-2 conquest of the Twins that ended a five-game Oriole losing streak.
Cleveland endured a 3-3 split as Gaylord Perry threw a six-hitter at the Twins, a 7-1 triumph that made the ex-Giant the first 10-game winner in the majors. Perry, who hit a two-run homer to aid his cause, had only four defeats and a 1.77 ERA.
Sidelined since May 9 with a torn knee ligament, Carl Yastrzemski returned to the Boston lineup—and frightened Manager Eddie Kasko with a slide into second. Sonny Siebert shut out Chicago on four hits and Boston took over fourth place.
Before the Yankees beat Kansas City Saturday they had suffered eight defeats in 11 road games, including a doubleheader at Chicago Sunday and two out of three at Texas. And Milwaukee showed new Manager Del Crandall the nature of problems ahead when the Brewers won only once in six games.
DET 25-21 BALT 24-22 CLEV 22-22 BOST 19-24 NY 20-27 MIL 16-27
It appears that when St. Louis sent Joe Hague to Cincinnati for Bernie Carbo, the Cards dealt the Reds an ace. At least that was the feeling last week when Hague hit homers on those occasions when Johnny Bench didn't and the Reds moved into first place for the first time this year. The Reds were 4-1 for the week as Hague's homers twice helped beat the Mets, who, however, stopped Bench's hitting streak at 12 games. Bench hit his 15th homer Friday, the day Cincy overtook the Dodgers. "You know," said Denis Menke, "we've become a good, good team."
In a .500 week the Dodgers beat the Cubs twice—once on Al Downing's five-hit shutout (his 100th career victory) and again when Billy Grabarkewitz scored from second on a wild pitch in a 2-1 game. But against the Pirates Frank Robinson's 511th homer, tying Mel Ott on the alltime list, couldn't prevent Don Sutton's first loss of the season against Steve Blass' three-hit pitching. The Dodgers came back with a 2-1 victory for Claude Osteen.
Injuries and inconsistency blunted Houston's attack during a 3-3 week that ended with a loss to the Mets' Jerry Koosman, defeat No. 10 in the Astros' last 14 games. Relief Pitcher Fred Gladding, who had a 1-for-58 batting record in the majors, dropped a sacrifice bunt for the second RBI of his nine-year career in Friday's win over the Mets. "I am not known for my hitting," he said.
A fellow who is, Henry Aaron of the Atlanta Braves, twitched Philadelphia's Wayne Twitchell for his 649th home run Saturday—a grand-slammer that lifted Henry past Willie Mays to No. 2 on the alltime list. It was the 14th grand slam of Aaron's career, tying Gil Hodges for the league record.
San Diego, en route to losing No. 21 of its last 25, signed the nation's No. 1 draft choice, Third Baseman Dave Roberts of Oregon U., but the old college try couldn't keep the Padres from an 0-6 week.
The Giants similarly suffered a winless week notable only for their second home rainout in two years. Charlie Williams, the pitcher the Giants got in the Mays deal, was sent to Phoenix after two dismal starts, and Randy Moffitt, Billie Jean King's brother, was brought up.
CIN 30-19 LA 31-20 HOUS 28-22 ATL 23-25 SD 16-34 SF 17-38
Pressured by the Pirates and vexed by errors, pitching lapses and hitting into double plays, the Mets suffered their first three-game losing streak of the season before Jerry Koosman came in from the cold and righted things with a 5-3 victory over Houston. Returning to starting duty after five weeks in the bullpen, Koosman went six innings for his first starting win since September. Tom Seaver couldn't find his fastball against the Reds. Result: his third loss.
The Pirates, who won 20 of their last 25 contests, picked up two games on the Mets in running their win streak to seven games before losing to LA 2-1. Willie Stargell's four homers for the week raised his total to 14 but the Bucs didn't do it all on power. Among their 24 runs in a three-game sweep of San Diego was a 1-0 win that came when Gene Alley walked home in the 18th inning. At week's end, however, Pittsburgh had nine .300 hitters and a .288 team batting average.
The Cubs, who had been winning at a .700 pace for a month, slowed to a 3-2 week marked by Randy Hundley's first home run since 1970. Billy Williams hit his seventh in a 5-1 win over the Dodgers and Rick Monday beat the Giants with a 400-footer.
The division's hottest team was St. Louis, which moved into fourth place during a defeatless six-game road week blessed by the pitching of Bob Gibson and Diego Segui, a reliever acquired from the A's. Gibson homered and threw a five-hitter against the Dodgers, then beat San Diego 3-2 to tie Jesse Haines' record of 210 Cardinal career victories. (Both had 388 starts.) Yielding no runs, Segui got a win and a save in two games.
Montreal, besieged by trade rumors, dismal weather and few clutch hits, won once in five home games when Mike Torrez went nine innings to beat Atlanta 5-2.
At Philadelphia ushers wore their caps backward, the lineup was introduced in reverse order and the organist's initial offering was Goodnight Sweetheart as the Phillies staged "Turn It Around Night" at Veterans Stadium. Houston was unobliging and won 4-3 as the Phils lost their 19th of 20 games. A day later the Phils did turn it around with a 3-1 win that started a three-game streak. Things reverted to normal on Saturday as the Braves bombed Philly 15-3.
NY 33-16 PITT 31-17 CHI 26-20 ST. L 22-28 MONT 20-27 PHIL 19-30