Boston's winning streak went to seven games before Angel Sandy Alomar beat the Sox with a two-out single in the bottom of the 16th inning. Alomar's hit was not the only untimely blow struck in Boston. Earlier, Red Sox Pitcher Luis Tiant and Outfielder Reggie Smith were seen swinging at each other in the Boston runway beyond the dugout. Still, Boston's prospects for a second-half surge seemed good. For the first time in 21 years Red Sox pitchers managed five straight complete games in cramped Fenway Park.
Baltimore moved into first place by shattering Detroit with 21 hits in a 15-3 victory. "Potentially this club is better than any of my three others," said Manager Farl Weaver. The Orioles now have defeated Detroit nine of 13 this year, and things finally appear to be returning to normal for the Birds. Even Boog Powell broke out of his dreadful slump. The first baseman put on glasses and promptly went 10 for 24.
Shuffling his lineup following the Baltimore series, Detroit's Manager Billy Martin moved cleanup hitter Willie Horton to the top of the order, hoping Horton "might hit a home run and get us started." He hit no homer, but his single started a 13-hit attack against the Royals that broke a four-game losing streak.
Despite his impressive record, Sparky Lyle says he really does not deserve a spot on the All-Star team because he is a reliever. But the Yankee ace moved closer to possibly attaining the honor by striking out two of the three men he faced as New York ended its week with an 11-inning, 1-0 victory in Minnesota. It was Lyle's 18th save.
A victory over Vida Blue was one of three wins brewed by Milwaukee. And Cleveland's pitching improved as newly acquired Mike Kilkenny, who has played for four different teams this year, posted a 1.82 ERA.
BALT 40-33 DET 39-33 BOST 34-34 NY 34-36 CLEV 31-40 MIL 29-42
Before the Kansas City Royals took the field against Detroit's Mickey Lolich, they heard some special words of wisdom from Batting Coach Charley Lau: "Get him early. If you don't, you don't get him at all." The Royals scored three runs in the first, sent Lolich to the showers by the sixth and beat him for the first time since September 1969.
The Oakland A's swapped Denny McLain to Atlanta for Orlando Cepeda because they felt Mike Epstein could not hit left-handed pitchers. Epstein promptly started banging out hits against everybody, .579 against lefthanders and .364 against right-handers, and Cepeda, who had complained that the Braves did not play him enough, was on the bench again.
The Chicago White Sox lost two consecutive games at home for the first time this season—then lost two more. Manager Chuck Tanner, perhaps trying to solve any Dick Allen problems before they arose, had allowed all the White Sox to skip batting practice for several games. The Sox fell 2-1, 1-0 and 2-1 to the Orioles, and Tanner ordered everybody back to the batting cage.
Frank Quilici replaced Bill Rigney as manager of the Minnesota Twins as President Cal Griffith appeared to be trying to soothe Minnesota fans who still have not forgiven him for firing Billy Martin two years ago. The Twins greeted their new skipper by defeating the Yanks 5-2.
When he was traded by the Mets to the Angels, Nolan Ryan brought some rattlesnake oil with him from New York in case he suffered arm trouble in California. So far Ryan has found winning elixir enough. His unoiled arm produced his 10th victory last week.
Texas fell 15½ games out of first and helped revitalize Cleveland, which had lost eight straight before the Rangers visited. Result: three in a row for the Indians.
OAK 47-27 CHI 42-32 MINN 37-35 KC 36-37 CAL 33-42 TEX 32-43
The Mets' Tom Seaver gave the Fourth of July crowd at Shea Stadium plenty of fireworks. Going into the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres, Seaver had a no-hitter; coming out of it he had a one-hit 2-0 victory. The spoiler was Leron Lee, who punched a broken bat single into centerfield with one out. For Seaver, who picked up his 11th win, it was his second 8‚Öì-inning no-hitter. In 1969 the Chicago Cubs' Jimmy Quails singled to left center with one out in the ninth to break up a perfect game for the Met pitcher.
After beating Chicago three straight at Three Rivers Stadium the Pirates hit the road, but opened up a three-game lead over the Mets. Pittsburgh left Houston and Atlanta startled—or was it Stargelled? The Bucs' slugging Willie blasted two home runs, and both led to victories as the Pirates won six of eight. And the Cardinals continued soaring. Reggie Cleveland pitched his sixth straight win as St. Louis improved its record to 16 wins in its last 18 games.
On the hapless Phillies, even the coaching staff was charged with an error. Pitching Coach Ray Rippelmeyer marched to the mound during a tense moment of a game against San Francisco to give Reliever Darrell Brandon advice on how to pitch to Giant Dave Kingman. As Rippelmeyer returned to the dugout, Brandon called out a question. The coach paused, then marched back to the mound to answer, a maneuver which drew a quick reply from Umpire Nick Colosi. The umpire ruled Rippelmeyer was making his second visit of the inning to Brandon. Enforcing a special ruling covering situations in which two visits are made to the same pitcher during one batter's turn, Colosi allowed Brandon, by now doubly informed on how to handle Kingman, to pitch to the Giant slugger. As soon as all the Phillies' strategy had finished with Kingman—who (sigh) walked—Colosi threw Brandon, Rippelmeyer and Manager Frank Lucchesi out of the game, as the rule requires.
At the start of the season Montreal President John McHale said: "One of these years we are going to get lucky on the weather." Not this year, John. A heavy storm washed out a big doubleheader against the Mets, and the Expos looked as if they might not draw a million customers for the first time in their four-year history.
The Cub slump (10 losses in their last 15 games) continued although Joe Pepitone beat the Reds with his first home run since coming out of retirement.
PITT 47-27 NY 44-30 ST. L 40-34 CHI 39-36 MONT 32-42 PHIL 26-49
Houston dropped five of seven, compiling the only losing record for the week in its division. Earlier in the year the Astros had been celebrated as the "Glass-House Gang," but now the opposition is beginning to find you can rock the team that plays in the dome. The most painful pelting came in a 17-inning 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh. "A game like this kills you," said Third Baseman Doug Rader prophetically after the defeat. Houston lost the next two nights to St. Louis, scoring one run in each game.
Johnny Bench continued his run-producing revival for Cincinnati. Bench, who knocked in only 61 runs all last season, exceeded that total on the same day Gary Nolan won his 12th game. Bench batted in two of the Reds' runs in the 3-2 victory, giving him a league-leading total of 63 RBIs.
The Braves' fourth-largest crowd ever (50,000 fans) filed into Atlanta Stadium to watch Denny McLain pitch for his third team—and league—of the season. Arriving from the Oakland A's via Birmingham of the Southern League, McLain was surprised by the standing ovation when he took the mound. "I've never had a feeling like that," said Denny. "After all those cheers, I could have gotten the saints in heaven out." The saints apparently felt benevolent toward McLain, too. When a heavy rain ended the game in the eighth inning, the score was tied at 3-3—but the Chicago Cubs had two runners on base and nobody out.
With still-slumping Los Angeles splitting six games, Dodger fans began criticizing 18-year Manager Walter Alston. They should have checked with the team doctor first, because the Dodgers' biggest problem is fielding nine healthy men. Frank Robinson, Willie Davis and Bobby Valentine all missed games with injuries. For a change, both San Francisco and San Diego enjoyed successful weeks. The Giants won four of six while the Padres took four of seven.
CIN 45-29 HOUS 44-33 LA 39-36 ATL 36-41 SF 33-48 SD 28-48