Porch Power helped the Twins, who have moved their left-field and left-center fences in 16 feet. This was done at the behest of Vice-President Billy Robertson in an attempt to aid Minnesota's right-handed batters and to lure fans with a pepped-up offense. Trailing Detroit 5-4 in the 11th, Larry Hisle drilled a ball that a year ago would have been an out, but this time it was a game-winning homer into Robertson's Porch. Two other wins came against Milwaukee: 6-0 behind Jim Hughes, a rookie, and 2-1 on RBI singles in the ninth by Eric Soderholm and Tom Kelly.
Three teams—White Sox, Angels and Rangers—matched the Twins' 3-2 record. Chicago's Stan Bahnsen, who had not pitched in three weeks, surfaced with a 12.00 ERA for the year and a 3-14 career mark against Baltimore and put down the Orioles 2-1. Rich Gossage preserved that game and another victory over the Orioles with a total of 6‚Öì innings of scoreless relief. That gave him seven saves, an 0.81 ERA and ran his shutout string to 23‚Öî innings. The Angels, who hit nine homers in their first 36 games, unloaded three in a 12-5 rout of the Indians, but failed to come up with any in Nolan Ryan's second loss of the season, a 6-1 defeat by Boston. Texas scored three runs in the last of the 10th to tie Detroit, then won 7-6 in the 11th on Tom Grieve's hit.
Kansas City, 2-3, upended New York 4-1 on Fran Healy's three-run home run in the 10th, and a pair of two-run homers by Harmon Killebrew highlighted a 10-1 romp over Baltimore.
Oakland Owner Charlie Finley said he was "on the 15-day disabled list" after being hospitalized because of possible heart trouble. His A's did little to make him feel better, losing four of five and hitting .202. However, Sonny Siebert, recently obtained by Finley from the Padres, won 3-0 over the Indians with the aid of four innings of relief from Jim Todd.
OAK 22-16 TEX 22-17 KC 22-19 CAL 21-20 MINN 18-17 CHI 17-21
Castor oil, Sharp Pitching and vigorous slugging propelled Boston to a 5-1 week. Because he had not felt well for two days, Luis Tiant took a swig of the nasty stuff, after which he pitched a 6-1 win over the Angels. Earlier the Sox began a three-game sweep of the A's by giving Tiant a 10-5 victory. Boston had been shut out in six of Tiant's 16 previous starts. Bill Lee followed Tiant's win with a two-hit, 7-0 verdict. For the first time since 1951 the Red Sox got six straight complete-game performances from its pitching staff. Oakland started three lefties in Boston and the Red Sox hammered A's pitchers for six of their 13 home runs, Bernie Carbo hitting three of them.
For Detroit's Mickey Lolich the elixir was soda pop, 64 ounces of which he gulped en route to a 5-3 win at Minnesota, his first in four weeks. Joe Coleman also beat the Twins, 6-3, making it the first time in 12 months the Tigers' two most reliable pitchers had won back to back.
Before the Yankees' first game of the week, Manager Bill Virdon told them he was fed up with their lackluster efforts. His troops promptly demolished the A's 9-1. Catfish Hunter earned that win as well as an 11-7 affair over Texas to bring his record to 6-4. Chris Chambliss, who had not hit a homer all season, poked two against Kansas City's Steve Busby, who had not given up a gopher ball in 78‚Öì innings. Roy White's .400 hitting also helped New York go 4-1 and vacate last place.
Two homers by Manager-DH Frank Robinson enabled Cleveland to down California 3-2, but the Indian pitching staff was a shambles. Jim Perry and Dick Bosman were traded to the A's for Blue Moon Odom, who brought along an 0-2 record and a 12.27 ERA. And Gaylord Perry was tagged for his 11th and 12th homers in 88‚Öì innings as the A's zonked him 3-0.
Milwaukee and Baltimore both lost four of five. The Brewers were shut out twice and did not hit a homer. Jim Palmer of the Orioles equaled last year's victory total by stopping the White Sox 6-2 for No. 7, but in their other outings the Birds hit just .151. Manager Earl Weaver explained why he benched Brooks Robinson on his 38th birthday: "That's my present to him. He doesn't have to face Nolan Ryan." It was just as well, for Ryan picked up his eighth win by subduing the Orioles 5-1 on two hits.
MIL 20-16 BOS 19-16 DET 16-18 BALT 16-21 NY 16-21 CLEV 14-21
Two weeks after frittering away a four-run lead in Montreal and quitting his club temporarily, Dave Roberts of Houston faced the Expos again. Dave Bristol, the Montreal third-base coach, heckled Roberts throughout the game. "He kept asking if I was going to quit again if I lost," Roberts said. But Roberts hung tough, tossed a six-hitter and won 4-2 to climax a 5-0 week for the Astros. Cesar Cedeno manufactured two runs with his speed in a 4-2 victory over the Phillies, scoring the winner in the eighth when he raced all the way home from first base on a single.
San Francisco, also 5-0, climbed above .500 and rose from fifth place to third. Jim Barr won twice: 2-0 over the Cardinals on a two-hitter and 2-1 over the Pirates in relief when Chris Speier singled with the bases full in the 11th inning.
San Diego continued to get superb pitching, the Padres winning four of six and lowering their staff ERA to 2.77, best in the majors. Joe McIntosh blanked St. Louis 1-0 to bring his ERA down to 1.41, the finest in either league for pitchers with 50 or more innings. And Randy Jones notched his third shutout, a one-hit, 10-inning 1-0 decision, also over the Cardinals, that left him with a 1.80 ERA. John Grubb settled that game with a home run and hit .500 for the week. Amid the prosperity was some rumbling, however. Gene Locklear sounded off after being benched despite his .441 average. Ordered to the minors, he refused to go and filed a grievance against the team.
Coach Tommy Lasorda took over as interim manager of the Dodgers because of the death of Walter Alston's father. When Lasorda managed in the Dominican Republic last winter one of his pitchers was Burt Hooton. "I told him he was too heavy at 230 and he got down to 195," Lasorda recalled. Trimmed down and now a Dodger, Hooton earned an 8-3 win over his former Cub teammates, striking out 11. Niftier yet was Andy Messersmith, who beat the Cubbies 10-0 to make his record 7-0.
Gary Nolan won twice for the Reds, who got six runs batted in from Tony Perez as they won three of four games. Atlanta's Vic Correll doubled his 1974 homer output by bopping his eighth of the season, a grand slam that finished off Montreal 9-4. Correll seemed more embarrassed than elated. "I am not a home-run hitter," said he. Dusty Baker also hit his eighth homer and Darrell Evans his seventh and eighth as the Braves split four games.
LA 27-16 CIN 22-20 SF 20-19 SD 21-20 ATL 20-22 HOUS 17-27
Everybody says we've got a good ball team. Where is it?" asked St. Louis Manager Red Schoendienst. Good question. Following three defeats in which his Cardinals produced just two runs, Schoendienst scolded his players. So they went out and lost 1-0 to the Padres when Bob Gibson, a nine-time Gold Glove winner, made a wild throw after fielding a bunt. St. Louis, 1-4, did escape last place, though, by nipping Los Angeles 4-3.
Clunking into the cellar, Montreal, 0-4, was the only winless team in the majors last week. Dave McNally lost his fifth consecutive game, and the offense sputtered.
Joe Torre, hitting .197 at game time, had four hits as the Mets downed the Reds 6-2. And Ed Kranepool, last of the original Mets, had seven hits in 10 at bats to raise his average to .389. Though the Mets split four games, they emerged as the East's most successful team during a week in which the West took 22 of 30 games in interdivisional play.
Chicago and Pittsburgh were both 2-4 and each had an exceptional two-hit pitching effort against Los Angeles. Bill Bon-ham fastballed his way past the Dodgers 2-1 and Ken Brett of the Pirates had more hits than he gave up as he singled, rapped two doubles and came out on top 7-2. Four hitters the Bucs rely on heavily—Richie Hebner, Al Oliver, Willie Stargell and Richie Zisk—went through a dry spell in which they were 17 for 83 (.205).
Tom Underwood pitched a four-hit, 5-1 win over Atlanta as Philadelphia won its seventh in a row and 12th straight at home. Then the Phillies took to the road and lost four times, running their away-from-home record to 6-14.
CHI 22-16 PHIL 20-18 NY 17-16 PITT 18-17 ST.L 15-21 MONT 13-20