Every team in the West experienced some sort of a revival. Last-place Minnesota (4-4) even won its first doubleheader since September 1973, surprising Chicago 4-1 and 8-3. Wilbur Wood of the White Sox (3-5), who had a dismal start, gained his fourth and fifth victories in a row to improve his record to 11-13. Texas had three resuscitated pitchers. Gaylord Perry, the majors' biggest loser with 15 setbacks, beat the Angels 2-1 on two hits and has yielded only one earned run in his last four games. Steve Hargan, winless for almost a month, muffled the A's 6-1. And after more than two months without a victory, Bill Hands stopped the Angels 8-2. Nolan Ryan of California (2-4) earned only his second win in his last 10 decisions, squeezing past Chicago 5-4. Making a winner out of Ryan was John Doherty, a .194 batter who hit a two-run pinch single in the ninth.
Kansas City (4-3) got two wins from Steve Busby (14-8) and ran its record to 7-3 under new Manager Whitey Herzog. But visions of catching Oakland (5-2) were crumbled by Billy Williams and Reggie Jackson. Williams homered and drove in the deciding run with an eighth-inning single as the A's put down K.C. 6-5. Jackson, who started slowly this year, also hit a homer in that game, his fourth of the week and 27th of the season.
OAK 67-39 KC 57-49 CHI 51-54
TEX 50-57 MINN 47-61 CAL 47-61
Bill Virdon began the week seeking a way "to turn things around"' after New York had lost three six-hit shutouts in a row. By week's end both the Yankees and Virdon had been turned around. For the Yanks it was a pleasant about-face as they won three straight. But that mini-streak did not help Virdon, who was turned out of his job. Billy Martin replaced him as manager and directed the Yankees to a 5-3 victory over the Indians in his first game. One of the runs was the result of a Roy White homer, New York's first in 13 games.
Boston (7-2) got a pair of wins from both Bill Lee and Roger Moret, who combined to sweep doubleheaders from New York (1-0 and 6-0) and Detroit (3-2 and 6-1), and two more from reliever Jim Willoughby. Jim Rice had two game-winning hits, one a bunt that defeated the Tigers 8-7, while Carlton Fisk's five-RBI night squelched the Brewers 7-6. Denny Doyle extended his hitting streak to 20 games.
Milwaukee was the only team to slow down Boston, Jim Colborn stopping the Sox 4-0 and Jim Slaton winning 6-2. Gorman Thomas went on a near-record strikeout binge, fanning in 10 consecutive official at bats, one short of the mark for nonpitchers. After ending his streak by grounding into a double play, Thomas took his post in center field and got a standing ovation from Boston fans. "I think they were sharing my success. They became attached to me," he said.
Thomas' DP ball was only the beginning of double trouble for the Brewers (2-6). They lost their fourth and fifth twin bills of the year, both to the Orioles (6-2). Tommy Davis, who had had only two homers all season, blasted Milwaukee with a pair of grand slams. His first came in the 10th inning of an 11-6 slugfest in which the Birds, down 6-0 in the ninth, tied the score on a three-run homer by Al Bumbry. Davis' other poke knocked off the Brewers 6-4.
Cleveland (3-4) downed Baltimore twice. Charlie Spikes settled a 7-5 contest with two RBIs in the 10th inning, and Johnny Ellis, released from Manager Frank Robinson's doghouse, slammed a two-run homer for a 3-1 Indian triumph.
Not even 10 home runs, four by Willie Horton, could untrack the Tigers (2-7), who committed 10 errors.
BOS 65-42 BALT 55-49 NY 54-51
MIL 52-56 CLEV 46-57 DET 46-61
John Montefusco of the Giants vowed he would shut out the Reds and strike out Johnny Bench four times. Not quite. After 1‚Öî innings Montefusco was removed, having been creamed for seven runs, three coming on a homer by Bench. Cincinnati set a major league mark for consecutive incomplete games (45) before Pat Darcy stopped the Giants for his first complete game ever. The Reds (4-3) lost twice to the Dodgers (3-4), but L.A.'s hopes for making up ground on the leaders were dimmed when Cincy won 1-0 behind Tom and Clay Carroll.
San Francisco and Atlanta (both 4-3) thrived on clutch hits. The Giants beat the Astros 3-2 on Chris Speier's homer and overcame the Reds 4-2 on Bobby Murcer's two-run double. The Braves handed Mike Marshall of the Dodgers his 10th and 11th losses. Biff Pocoroba beat him 5-3 with a two-run single, and in an 11-10 slugfest Rowland Office climaxed a six-run ninth with a homer. Atlanta also won a 15-inning, 8-6 game in San Diego when Darrell Evans homered.
San Diego (4-3), which lost 17 of 18 to the Braves last season, took two of three from them last week. Randy Jones was credited with both of the victories, 3-1 and 4-0, throwing only 79 pitches in the latter.
For Houston (2-5) the brightest moment came when Pitcher Jose Sosa hit a three-run homer in his first big-league at bat. That came in an 8-4 win over the Padres in which Sosa also got his first save.
CIN 70-38 LA 56-52 SF 54-53
SD 51-57 ATL 47-60 HOUS 38-72
"It's beautiful when we get the burners cooking," said Dave Cash after the Phillies (3-5) stole five bases in two wins over the Pirates. Also dazzling the Pirates was Rightfielder Jay Johnstone. In a bunt situation, Johnstone sneaked behind Buc Frank Taveras at first base and tagged him out on a pickoff throw from Catcher Johnny Oates.
New York (6-3) did even more to keep the first-place chase alive, beating Pittsburgh (3-5) three times. Jerry Koosman, aided by Dave Kingman's two homers, bumped off the Pirates 6-2. Kingman then bunted across a run in a 4-2 Met win. And Jon Matlack beat the Bucs 6-0. Only once did the Pirate bats boom—on Babushka Night in Pittsburgh when the Bucs rapped the Phils 8-1.
Bob Gibson, 39, and Ron Fairly, 37, gave St. Louis (5-3) a lift. Gibson hurled 7‚Öî scoreless innings as he got his first relief win since 1964 and his first save since 1965. Fairly batted .500, raising his average to .329.
Chicago (4-4) was bolstered by nine home runs and undermined by Keystone Cops fielding. The most embarrassing misadventure came when the Cubs made two wild throws to let Gary Carter of the Expos circle the bases on a bunt.
Montreal Manager Gene Mauch almost became a basket case. It all began when a drive by Barry Foote of the Expos hit a wire basket above the ivy-covered wall in Chicago for what should have been a three-run homer. Umpire Art Williams declared it a double, Mauch argued in vain and the Expos lost 4-3. A day later, Mike Jorgensen hit the same basket and was credited with a home run, and Montreal won 6-1. The Expos stunned the Phillies 4-3 with a lightning-quick rally in the bottom of the ninth. Tim Foli hit the first pitch for a single, Foote singled on the next delivery and Pinch Hitter Nate Colbert bopped the third pitch of the inning over the center-field fence.
PITT 63-43 PHIL 60-48 NY 56-48
ST. L 54-52 CHI 49-59 MONT 44-59