Some National League managers undoubtedly thought it was a misprint when they read it, but Dick Allen really did hit two inside-the-park home runs in one game for the Chicago White Sox. "He's better than Riva Ridge," Manager Chuck Tanner cracked after Allen twice galloped around the bases to tie a record set 40 years ago by Ben Chapman. Allen puffed, "You don't know how far it is around those damn bases until you really have to run them. Now I'll appreciate the trot." Dick's first home run in Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium bounced over the head of Center Fielder Bobby Darwin and rolled to the warning track. Allen easily beat the relay home. On the second Darwin missed a try at a shoestring catch, the ball skipping past him to carom off the fence. "They came at me like knuckleballs," Darwin said. "He's the only player I've ever seen who can hit balls that behave as those two did."
Stunned by the loss of a doubleheader to the Texas Rangers, Oakland responded with a triple shutout as Vida Blue two-hit the Rangers, Ken Holtzman three-hit Kansas City and Catfish Hunter five-hit the Royals. Following all those zeros the A's went into Minnesota and were shut out by Dick Woodson, who also had blanked the Rangers earlier in the week.
The big hit of the week for Kansas City was a pitch by Dick Drago that nicked Oakland's Sal Bando in the Achilles' tendon. Bando said something unprintable to Royal Catcher Ed Kirkpatrick, and the fighting began. California's Nolan Ryan held Kansas City hitless for seven innings but lost the game when Amos Otis stole home for an unearned run in the fourth inning. Astonishingly, Otis took off for the plate on a three-ball, two-strike pitch to left-handed batter John May-berry. "I'd be up for manslaughter if I ever put on a steal sign in that situation," said Manager Bob Lemon. "I'm glad Mayberry didn't swing. If he had, he would have planted Amos in the bleachers."
They could use somebody in the bleachers in Texas, where plans to increase the seating capacity at Arlington Stadium from 35,000 to 45,000 have been delayed. Said Owner Bob Short, whose team probably will not draw 800,000 in its first season in the Lone Star State, "Our attendance has not warranted this immediate expansion, so we agreed to defer the addition of 10,000 seats until a complete survey of the first year's operation of Arlington Stadium can be made." Hello, Toronto.
OAK 61-40 CHI 56-44 MINN 51-46 KC 47-52 CAL 45-56 TEX 41-60
The Milwaukee Brewers, fresh from losing back-to-back doubleheaders in Cleveland, arrived in Detroit hungering for victory and promptly ruined Tiger Manager Billy Martin's appetite. In sweeping a three-game series, the last-place Brewers pounded Detroit pitchers for 45 hits and 28 runs in 25 innings. Modest George Scott tore the Tigers for eight hits in 12 at bats, then said, "They threw me everything. Fastballs and curveballs—in, out, down. It didn't matter. I hit everything." Surveying the ruins, Martin said, "I'm not hungry, and all I've had to eat today is a hamburger. If we had won, I would have had a steak."
The Tigers, nevertheless, picked up two games on Baltimore as the Orioles lost seven of eight. "I think we'll have four teams alive in the pennant race on Sept. 15," said Brooks Robinson. "Good," added Jim Palmer. "Our hitters will be well rested for the stretch drive." What hitters? Three times the Orioles were shut out, and three times they had only two hits in a game. Palmer, who pitched the Baltimore victory, joked, "My game plan called for a five-inning shutout, a one-run lead and rain. The way things are, I suppose I'll be wearing my right arm in my shoe all winter."
Boston and New York continued to close in on the leaders. Rico Petrocelli, gradually regaining the 20 pounds he lost when he went on a crash no-spaghetti diet, helped the Red Sox wreck the Orioles in one game with a two-run double and his third grand-slam home run of the year. "It was a real Fenway Park homer," Petrocelli said. "By that, I mean it would have been an out in almost every other park." Bobby Murcer of the Yankees hit a grand slam against Milwaukee and a pinch-hit homer against the Red Sox.
Cleveland's pitchers were impressive as the Indians won eight of 10. Dick Tidrow hurled 1-0 victories over Milwaukee and Detroit and Tom Hilgendorf and Mike Kilkenny also won two games apiece for the revived Indians.
DET 56-44 BALT 53-47 BOST 51-48 NY 50-48 CLEV 46-54 MIL 41-59
"I'm surprised I'm not in a hospital somewhere," joked Outfielder Clarence Gaston of the San Diego Padres after watching teammate Nate Colbert hit five home runs, including a grand slam, and drive in 13 runs as the Padres swept a doubleheader from Atlanta. Gaston bats behind Colbert, who leads the major leagues with 31 home runs and 84 RBIs, and spends a considerable amount of time ducking knockdown pitches following Colbert home runs. In one week Colbert tied Stan Musial's record for most homers in a doubleheader (5) and broke the records for most RBIs in a doubleheader (13), most RBIs in two successive games (13) and most total bases in a doubleheader (22). He also tied the National League record for most homers from a Sunday through a Saturday (8).
Houston Manager Harry Walker asked Pitcher George Culver to warm up in the second game of a doubleheader after Culver had worked three innings in the opener. Culver balked, claiming his arm was stiff, and Walker replied, "How can you hurt your arm with that———you throw?" Incensed at the insult, Culver talked back to Walker and later was fined $199 for his comments. The pitcher then filed a grievance claim with Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Juan Marichal 4-12 for the season, lost two more games for San Francisco; Los Angeles made 11 errors and lost five of eight games; and Atlanta lost seven straight games to cost Manager Luman Harris his job. Coach Eddie Mathews replaced him. Meanwhile, Cincinnati (page 22) won five of eight to maintain a five-game lead.
CIN 61-38 HOUS 57-45 LA 51-48 ATL 46-57 SF 45-58 SD 41-59
Not even gamma globulin could stop the surging Philadelphia Phillies. When an examination showed that Pitcher Barry Lersch was suffering from hepatitis, all the Phillies were inoculated—but they still won five straight games, including two by Pitcher Steve (The Franchise) Carlton. "Wait 'til they really get to feeling their oats," gloated new Manager Paul Owens. Carlton extended his winning streak to 12 games with five-hit victories over both New York and St. Louis. Owens, who also is the general manager, is certain that Carlton will not have any salary problems at contract time. "He can have anything he wants within reason," Owens said. "I told him I'm willing to bet I'll have him signed by Christmas."
Owens managed boldly. In one game he removed Outfielder Willie Montanez at the start of the second inning because Montanez had failed to hustle after a ball in the outfield. In another he called on Deron Johnson to pinch hit for his No. 1 power hitter, Greg Luzinski, in the ninth inning. Johnson responded with a home run to beat Tom Seaver and the Mets. New York lost another player to the disabled list when Shortstop Bud Harrelson's sore back rendered him useless afield.
In Montreal 21-year-old rookie lefthander Balor Moore faced the toughest predicament of his brief career: a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth, the bases loaded with Pittsburgh Pirates and Willie Stargell at bat. As the crowd roared, Moore struck out Stargell on three pitches and escaped with the victory. The next day, though, Stargell beat the Expos with a grand-slam home run.
Chicago failed to hit a single home run in nine games but won six of them, including a one-hitter by Bill Hands against the Expos. St. Louis fell back, losing six of eight. Despite complete games from Bob Gibson and Rick Wise, the Cardinals still used 22 pitchers.
PITT 62-38 NY 54-45 CHI 54-49 ST. L 48-51 MONT 45-53 PHIL 39-62