All things come to him who waits, and heaven knows Al Fitzmorris, Marty Pattin and Lindy McDaniel of the Royals had waited. Fitzmorris, who had a career ERA of 10.80 against the Yankees and had not started against them since 1970, got a measure of revenge with a 3-0 three-hitter. Pattin, winless heretofore and all but forgotten in the bullpen, gained his second victory in three days by holding the Yankees to one hit in three innings. McDaniel, pitching for the first time in a month—before that he had been shelved with a prostate infection—put in 5‚Öî innings of one-hit relief as the Royals overcame the Brewers 7-5.
In his first starts since being traded from Cleveland to Oakland, Dick Bosman made the Indians wince as he beat them 6-3 and 6-2. Also contributing importantly to Oakland's 5-2 week were Vida Blue, who downed Baltimore 5-0 for his ninth win, and Gene Tenace, who drove in five runs as the A's trimmed the Orioles 6-5.
Minnesota rookie Jim Hughes, who uses a palm ball "not quite 50% of the time," held off Detroit 5-2. That left him with a 6-1 record and a 1.53 ERA, the lowest among league starters. Supplying much of the offense for the Twins was Rod Carew, whose .500 week brought his average to .367, the highest in baseball.
Chicago's Stan Bahnsen, who a month ago seemed washed up, won his third in a row, 9-3 over the Brewers. But Terry Forster, the league's foremost reliever last season, was placed on the disabled list with an aching elbow.
Willie Davis of the Rangers went on a sit-down strike in center field when teammate Steve Hargan refused to retaliate by throwing at Red Sox batters after Willie had been brushed back with a pitch by Rick Wise. Fortunately for the Rangers and Davis, no balls were hit to center during his fit of pique. Throughout the rest of the week, however, opponents slashed balls all over the field against the Rangers, who lost five of six. Seven times this year Texas has drawn 20,000 or more and each time the Rangers have lost. Last week, before their second-largest crowd ever—38,714—they were shellacked by the Yankees 6-0.
The Angels played as badly as their 1-5 record indicates. Mickey Rivers ran through Coach Whitey Herzog's stop sign at third and was easily thrown out at home. Ed Figueroa twice went into full windups with Orioles on base, allowing three of them to steal. On one steal the Angels just plain forgot to cover second base.
OAK 28-18 KC 27-20 MINN 23-19 TEX 23-23 CAL 22-25 CHI 20-24
Although the Red Sox were plagued by the flu and bugged by Umpire Lou Di Muro, they frolicked to the top of the division by taking three of five games. Carl Yastrzemski drew some laughs when, after being called out on strikes, he scooped dirt atop home plate. One person who did not think this was funny was Di Muro, who gave the thumb to Yaz, one of three Sox he banished that day. California Manager Dick Williams responded to Boston Pitcher Bill Lee's suggestion that the weak-hitting Angels take batting practice in their hotel lobby, but Williams' attempt to have his players swing miniature bats at whiffle balls was thwarted by hotel officials. Lee missed achieving his third shutout in a row when his throwing error let in a run, but he did beat Texas 4-1. A touch of the flu did not deter Fred Lynn and Jim Rice, who combined to produce 18 runs.
Milwaukee stumbled badly, dropping four of five and losing Third Baseman Don Money because of a hernia operation. The lone Brewer win came in a 9-8 slugfest with the White Sox in which Tom Murphy picked up his eighth save.
Despite committing seven errors (54 in 40 games so far), the Tigers won three of five. Mickey Lolich got his 200th victory, downing Chicago 4-1, and Vern Ruhle won twice. Ruhle subdued Minnesota 6-2 and, bolstered by Willie Horton's 11th homer, defeated Chicago 2-0.
Bobby Bonds drove in six runs with three homers as he helped the Yankees to a 4-3 week. Catfish Hunter stifled Texas 6-0 on one hit. But Doc Medich continued to be cuffed around. After being pummeled by the Rangers, Medich (3-7) tried to be philosophical. "I realize this is going to happen to everyone," he said, "and I think I can compensate for it by delving into it and trying to analyze it."
When Manager Frank Robinson was suspended for three days for delving into an umpire, Cleveland players signed a petition saying they would join him on the sidelines. But Robby coaxed them into playing by telling them, "The best thing you could do for me is to win three games in Anaheim." And that is what the Indians did as they ran their winning streak in that ball park to 10 games. Rookie Eric Raich downed the Angels 9-2 for his first major league victory. In his first major league start another Indian rookie, Dennis Eckersley, tamed Oakland 6-0 on three hits. In his second start Eckersley again beat the A's, this time 4-1 on six hits. And Cleveland's sluggers pounded out 10 home runs, three by George Hendrick, in the best Indian week (5-2) of the year.
The Orioles survived a couple of scares. One came when their plane made a bumpy emergency landing. The other consisted of their longest losing streak since 1968, a seven-game ordeal that plunged them into last place. Jim Palmer brought the skid to a halt with his fourth shutout of the season, a 5-0 defeat of the Angels. Mike Cuellar followed up with a 1-0 one-hitter in which Brooks Robinson hit his first homer of the year.
BOS 23-18 MIL 21-21 DET 19-21 NY 21-24 CLEV 19-24 BALT 17-26
With their redoubtable offense next to last in the league in scoring and batting .250, it might be expected that Pittsburgh would be where it was at this time a year ago—in the cellar. But the Pirates hit when it counted most, got some nifty pitching, won six in a row and moved into first place. Bill Robinson's ninth-inning single finished off Houston 6-5 and a comparable hit by Ed Kirkpatrick toppled Atlanta 2-1. Jerry Reuss won the latter game, one of four route-going performances by the Bucs. The others were tossed by Ken Brett (3-0 over Houston) and Bruce Kison (11-4 over the Braves and 10-2 over the Astros).
Falling from the lead, Chicago (3-3) blew a 7-1 advantage and lost to San Francisco 9-7. But Ray Burris stopped the Braves 6-0 and Rick Reuschel, backed by Jose Cardenal's two homers, beat the Dodgers 2-1.
L.A. lost two of three to New York because of some more long drives, 6-3 on a three-run pinch homer in the ninth by Wayne Garrett and 4-3 on a sacrifice fly by Ed Kranepool. Tom Seaver won twice as the Mets took three of six.
While out for three weeks with a bad back, Reggie Smith, a sometime drummer, strengthened his arms, wrists and hands by practicing with weighted drumsticks. In five games since returning to the Cardinal lineup Smith has hit .368. Lou Brock, batting at .417 over a 20-game span, beat the Reds 5-4 with a ninth-inning single and hit for the cycle in a 7-1 romp over the Padres. But Smith and Brock could not make up for poor pitching, and St. Louis was 3-3 for the week.
Philadelphia, 2-4, placed two men on the disabled list, Shortstop Larry Bowa with a broken thumb and Centerfielder Garry Maddox with a cracked knee. Tug McGraw, who tried to lighten the atmosphere by wearing a Halloween mask before the game, treated the Phillies to an 8-6 win over the Giants with his fourth save but then was tricked by the Astros, who got to him for five runs in one-third of an inning.
Montreal, 1-4, also suffered. The Expos blew a 6-0 lead in losing to the Astros 8-7, dropped a 5-4 decision to the Reds after having led 4-0 and lost to Cincy 4-3 on a bases-loaded balk. Montreal was further aggrieved when, in a rare ruling, League President Chub Feeney upheld Atlanta's protest of a rain-shortened game at Jarry Park and ordered the game to be resumed July 20 with the Braves retaining their 4-1 lead.
PITT 24-18 CHI 25-20 NY 21-19 PHIL 22-23 ST.L. 19-24 MONT 15-24
San Francisco, which already led the majors in a novel category—Most Players One Team, Permanent Waves—hiked the total to nine curlyheads as three more Giants got perms. Glenn Adams may well have set a record, too. His two-run pinch homer meant that in just six pinch swings this season he has hit for the cycle. The Giants, 2-3, beat the Phillies 1-0 in 10 innings behind the pitching of John Montefusco.
Andy Messersmith was tagged for five home runs and two losses as Los Angeles sagged in a 3-3 week. Don Sutton, though, boosted his record to 9-3 by beating St. Louis 7-3 and Chicago 3-1. Meanwhile Cincinnati (page 18) was on the move, shrinking the Dodgers' margin.
Randy Jones of the Padres brought his record to 7-2 by defeating the Mets 6-2. Willie McCovey tied Henry Aaron for the league record in grand slams, socking his 16th to down New York. Earlier, McCovey drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth as the Padres, 2-4 for the week, beat the Cardinals 9-6.
Atlanta, 2-4, and Houston, 3-3, had troubles. Carl Morton, who had won his first five decisions for the Braves, lost to the Cubs 5-4 for his fifth loss in a row. The Astros dropped all three tries in Pittsburgh; their 14-year mark there is now 21-81. But in Philadelphia they feasted. Doug Konieczny stymied the Phillies 5-0 and then the Astros blasted them 15-3 with a 12-run eighth-inning uprising.
LA 30-20 CIN 28-21 SF 23-22 SD 24-24 ATL 22-27 HOUS 20-31