Baltimore' a red-hot 26-6 going into the week, lost five of seven games. But while the team cooled, the bat of Outfielder Ken Singleton got hotter. He belted four home runs, giving him 14 for the season and a tie with Fred Lynn for the league lead. Most welcome was a two-run clout in an 8-1 rout of the Royals that ended a 10-game team losing streak in Kansas City. Jim Palmer, who missed two previous starts because of a sore elbow, earned the victory, allowing five hits over seven innings. "I suppose we should be pleased because we finally won," said Manager Earl Weaver grumpily. After a 2-1 loss at Kansas City in which the Orioles stranded 10 base runners, Weaver said, "You heard of games where everyone chips in for a victory? Tonight nobody chipped in."
Still, the Orioles clung to the divisional lead, mainly because chief contenders Boston (3-3), Milwaukee (3-4) and New York (4-4) were all running in place. Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski; and Butch Hobson—the batters behind Jim Rice—got just 20 hits in 102 at bats (.196) in a 4-6 road trip. Consequently, opposing pitchers are not giving Rice anything good to hit. "They pitch him like every at bat is in the seventh game of the World Series, bases loaded, two out," says Boston Coach Walt Hriniak. George Scott, who went 0 for 25, was benched and announced he wants to play or be traded. "This team is uptight," he said. "We have problems like the Yankees do, but our players are afraid to express their opinions." With key hitters like Larry Hisle and Don Money on the disabled list, normally explosive Milwaukee scored just 24 runs in losing to Oakland and splitting six games with Kansas City and New York.
The Yankees seemed to have found a suitable replacement for injured Reliever Goose Gossage when Ron Davis, up from Columbus, saved a pair of wins by pitching 5‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® scorless innings. But in his next outing Davis was tagged by Milwaukee for two hits in the ninth to turn a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 loss. Cliff Johnson, whose roughhousing rendered Gossage disabled, was doubly contrite. Lumbering home on a sacrifice fly, Johnson inadvertently barreled into Ump Lou DiMuro, knocking him out. "I'm beginning to feel like an outlaw," Johnson said.
Detroit (7-1) enjoyed its best week so far, as Jack Billingham, Dave Rozema, Jack Morris and Milt Wilcox pitched complete games and helped hold Tiger opponents to just 50 hits in 250 at bats (.200). For its part, Detroit hammered out 84 hits (.304), Lance Parrish leading the way with 15 in 26 trips.
Righthander Rick Wise beat California and shut out New York on five hits as Cleveland had a typical Indian 3-4 week.
"It's stupid," said Tom Underwood of Toronto (1-6) upon learning that his younger brother, Pat, of Detroit, would be making his major league pitching debut against—who else?—Tom Underwood. Pat won 1-0, yielding three hits in 8‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings. It was Tom's seventh loss without a win.
BALT 31-19 BOS 28-20 MIL 29-24 NY 27-24 DET 23-22 CLEV 22-27 TOR 13-39
Manager Jim Fregosi of California (5-2) had a cold, which was the least of his troubles. Outfielder Rick Miller fractured his hand. The next day Rod Carew, hitting .355, jammed a thumb and was forced out of the lineup. The day after that Nolan Ryan, fresh from a three-hit triumph over Seattle, took two steps while jogging and pulled a calf muscle and was out indefinitely. All in all, so far this season 14 players on the Angels' 25-man roster have missed games because of injury, including every starting pitcher.
Luckily, however, major league RBI leader Don Baylor is fit as a fiddle. Last week Baylor received a letter and two checks made out to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation from Richard M. Nixon. "I'm donating $5 for each of your first 50 RBIs and $50 for each of your first 10 home runs," Nixon wrote. By week's end Baylor had knocked in 11 more runs, giving him 54, smacked five more homers, for a total of 11, and hit .370 to propel the Angels into first place, a game ahead of Texas and Minnesota.
The Twins (3-3) got a boost when the much-ballyhooed but disappointing pitching staff tossed four complete games, although two were losses by Jerry Koosman, to Boston and Kansas City. The wins went to Paul Hartzell and Dave Goltz over Oakland and Boston, respectively. The Twins now have an 18-3 record against sub-.500 foes, but are 10-17 against everybody else.
Texas (4-2) and Kansas City (4-2) hung tough. George Brett broke a Royals record for total bases when he hit for the cycle and then clouted a 16th-inning home run for 14 total bases in a 5-4 win over Baltimore. Rookie Todd Cruz hit his first major league home run to beat Minnesota, and Al Cowens, out since May 8 with a broken jaw, had the wires removed, ate some barbecued spareribs and doubled on the second ball pitched to him after he rejoined the lineup. To make room for him, Clint Hurdle was sent to Omaha. Ranger Reliever Jim Kern gave up one run in 7‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings to get his seventh victory without a defeat and his seventh and eighth saves. Buddy Bell, off to a .177 start, went 11 for 27, raising his average to .281.
Chicago (3-4) got back-to-back three-hit complete-game victories from Ken Kravec, his fifth and sixth straight wins, and Bruce Bochte of Seattle (2-4) had 10 hits to join the league leaders in batting (.356) and RBIs (40). His three-run blast into the upper deck of the Kingdome, a Mariner first, helped down California 12-10. "That's it," he said. "I can do no more with a baseball bat."
Oakland (3-3), giving Detroit its only defeat, employed a useful if far less spectacular attack. A grounder by Jim Essian and Mario Guerrero's single scored a pair of runs in the ninth for a 3-2 win.
CAL 31-21 MINN 28-20 TEX 29-21 KC 29-22 CHI 25-25 SEA 19-34 OAK 18-34
Houston, off to its best start ever (31-23), regained the divisional lead on sharp pitching and Denny Walling's late-inning pinch hitting in a 6-1 week. When Joaquin Andujar pitched a seven-hit, six-strikeout 2-1 gem against Montreal, it was the Astros' fifth complete-game victory in seven outings. Walling singled with the bases loaded in the ninth to beat Cincinnati and then tripled home the deciding run in the eighth in the 2-1 victory over the Expos. Afterward, Manager Bill Virdon announced that Andujar would remain in the starting rotation. "He's excitable," Virdon said, "and needs some innings to get his feet on the ground." Excitable is hardly the word. Andujar celebrated by showering with his uniform on.
That rumbling you hear near the bottom of the standing is—hello?—San Diego (6-2). Gaylord Perry (5-4) won twice and allowed just one earned run in 18 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.32. Hurt most by the Padre surge was Atlanta (3-5), which dropped four straight by a combined 22-8 score in an otherwise so-so Braves week. They beat the Giants twice and split with the Mets. Los Angeles (4-3) swept a three-game series from the Giants to regain the edge (203-201) in that ancient series. In the third game Steve Garvey led a 17-hit Dodger attack by singling, doubling and homering but was upstaged by a woman in a bright red halter who paraded among the box seats. As Garvey's homer was clearing the fence, there was a commotion in the seats. Garvey looked up and spotted the woman. "Never," he said, "has a home run been so anonymous."
San Francisco (1-6) avoided a winless week when Terry Whitfield pinch-hit a two-run single in the eighth to help defeat Chicago 8-6. Life turned out to be less than rosy for Pete Rose when he returned to Cincinnati (3-4) as a Phillie. The 48,968 in attendance gave Rose a 45-second ovation when he received a trophy as last year's most valuable Red. But each time he batted, there were more and more boos, while cheers broke out each time Ray Knight, Rose's replacement at third base, stepped to the plate. Knight singled home one run and scored another, Rose went 0 for 4 and Cincinnati prevailed 4-2. Pitcher Mike LaCoss won his sixth game and kept alive a personal string: in his 11 starts, the Reds have yet to lose.
HOU 31-23 CIN 28-22 SF 26-27 LA 26-28 SD 25-30 ATL 19-32
"Scoring runs has been our problem all year," said Pete Rose, pointing out that in 28 games in which the Phils scored three runs or more, they won 25. The problem got serious as Philadelphia (1-6) scored only five runs in a six-game stretch and plummeted to third place. The makeshift keystone combination of Ramon Aviles and Rudy Meoli (5 for 28 combined) and Mike Schmidt (3 for 25) were the least productive as 57 Phillie base runners were stranded. Even in their lone win, 6-4 over Chicago, the Phillies lacked punch, scoring three unearned runs and two others when Rose took second on a passed ball and Garry Maddox beat out a double-play ball.
One benefactor was Montreal (4-3), which swept three straight from the Phillies and surged to a three-game lead, the Expos' largest ever in June. Moreover, each win was a six-hit shutout—by Steve Rogers, Bill Lee and Scott Sanderson—another Expo first that no doubt was at least partly responsible for the fired-up record crowds that crammed into Olympic Stadium. In four dates 128,766 fans turned out, pushing attendance 82,543 ahead of last year's pace. The fans offered ovation after ovation—for the pitchers, for Ellis Valentine, who drove home six runs in a win over St. Louis, and even for Gary Carter's simply throwing out a runner trying to steal second. "In 40 years of baseball I've never seen that," said Manager Dick Williams.
Benefiting even more from Philadelphia's el pholdo was Pittsburgh (6-1), which, propelled by the hitting of Bill Robinson (.474), Omar Moreno (.406), Willie Stargell (.333) and Dave Parker (.300), had its best week of the season and rejoined the divisional race by gaining five games on the Phillies. Victories by 2-1, 4-3 and 9-8 scores represented a surprise turnaround for Pittsburgh, which earlier had lost nine of 12 one-run games. After doubling twice, homering and driving in three runs, Parker cooed, "It's about time. I consider it a slump when I get only one hit a day."
St. Louis (5-2) exploded for 95 hits and 49 runs to go ahead of the Phillies into second place. The hottest bats belonged to Garry Templeton (three four-hit games), George Hendrick (two four-hit games) and Keith Hernandez, who batted .567 and had at least two hits in seven straight games. Bob Forsch, frequently a victim of silent Card bats, benefited twice, in an 11-3 decision over Montreal and in a 12-5 laugher over Los Angeles.
Chicago (2-5) and New York (2-5) were unimpressive, which is not unusual. Met Reliever Neil Allen tore rib-cage muscles delivering a pitch. The Cubs' Dave Kingman rapped two homers and a double for six RBIs in a win over San Francisco and another four-bagger the next day to raise his league-leading home run total to 18.
MONT 28-17 ST. L 26-19 PHIL 27-22 PITT 24-22 CHI 20-26 NY 17-29
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DAVE WINFIELD: The Padre rightfielder hit .517 and had 14 RBIs with 15 hits, including five home runs. That tied him for the league lead in RBIs (43), put him second in batting (.354) and tied for third in homers (13).