"Opponents nave been laughing at us. It's about time we put the coin on the other foot." Opponents would really have laughed at the Yankees (5-1) if they'd had coins on their feet. Lou Piniella's metaphor may have been garbled, but his .429 hitting helped straighten out New York. So did two victories by Ron Guidry (7-1), one of which was preserved by Reliever Goose Gossage. Gossage, who has 11 saves, also locked up Tommy John's win over the Royals 3-2 and Dave Righetti's 1-0 triumph over the Twins. But a pulled hamstring put Dave Winfield out of commission for at least 15 days.
No one laughed at the Red Sox (5-1). Gary Allenson doubled in the 12th to finish off Seattle 6-5, Rich Gedman batted .555, and Bob Stanley fired 8‚Öì innings of one-run relief to defeat Oakland 7-4. Carl Yastrzemski helped settle that game with some frisky base running. Yaz turned a single into a double when he lulled Rightfielder Joe Rudi with an easy turn around first and then, after Rudi had leisurely pegged the ball back to the infield, zipped into second. Yaz's pinch-runner then scored the first of a three-run eighth that broke a 4-4 deadlock. Dwight Evans, who tied for the league home-run lead last season, finally hit his first of the year. Manager Ralph Houk stuck up his forearm to keep a wicked foul into the dugout from hitting Stanley. Painful as it was, Houk felt the bruise was worth the effort, because Stanley has yielded only six runs in his last 41 innings. During that time he has picked up 109 of 123 outs via grounders and strikeouts. Another fine pitching performance was the one by Dennis Eckersley, who handcuffed Oakland on three hits while winning 6-0.
Baltimore (4-2) got some respect, too. John Lowenstein slugged his seventh, eighth and ninth homers. After an 81-minute rain delay, Benny Ayala stepped up and slammed a three-run homer that did in Minnesota 4-2. From there on, the pitchers took charge with three consecutive shutouts: Scott McGregor blanked the Twins 6-0, Mike Flanagan, Tim Stoddard and Tippy Martinez whitewashed the Blue Jays 3-0, and Dennis Martinez won another Battle of the Birds 6-0.
"He's always had the power, but he always was an opposite-field hitter," explained Batting Coach Gates Brown of Detroit (4-2), speaking of Larry Herndon. Brown has taught Herndon how to open his hips and pull the ball. The result: Herndon had three homers and seven RBIs to beat the A's 11-9. That gave Herndon four round-trippers in successive at bats spanning two games, making him the 15th player to accomplish that feat. Herndon, who has never had more than eight taters in a season, already has seven so far this year. He was part of the Tigers' explosive Candlestick Connection—Enos Cabell and Mike Ivie are the other former Giants in that group—that batted .357 and drove across 21 runs.
Toby Harrah of the Indians (2-4) and Rollie Fingers of the Brewers (2-4) continued to be overachievers. Even though Harrah hit .579 and raised his average to .392, Cleveland clunked into last place. The Indians outlasted the White Sox on Sunday, winning 6-4 in the 14th inning when Andre Thornton singled, Ron Hassey had an RBI double and Rick Manning stroked a run-scoring single. Fingers picked up his ninth save for Milwaukee, No. 281 of his record-setting career.
Jim Clancy of Toronto (3-3) was another pitcher who was in the groove. A 2-0 victory over Cleveland was Clancy's fifth straight.
BOS 28-13 DET 25-14 MIL 20-19 NY 20-19 BALT 18-21 TOR 17-23 CLEV 16-23
While driving to the ball park, Larry Gura of the Royals (3-3) saw a kitten that had been struck by a car. As Gura put the kitten in his truck so he could get it medical attention, it bit him on his pitching hand. "I didn't know if I'd be able to grip the ball," said Gura, who grasped it well enough that night to shut out the Yankees 7-0, giving him a 9-2 record and 2.19 ERA against them since they traded him in 1976. Dennis Leonard also pitched well—until he threw up his hands to protect his face and was struck by a line drive hit by Buddy Bell of Texas. The middle and index fingers of Leonard's right hand were broken, shelving him for at least six weeks. Dan Quisenberry went the final 2‚Öì innings and wrapped up the 3-0 triumph with his 10th save. As for the ball that hit Leonard, it caromed right to Second Baseman Frank White, who caught it on the fly and stepped on second for a double play.
"I've been thinking for four days about what could happen next," said Manager Don Zimmer, mindful of the woes that have befallen his Rangers (1-5). "A line drive breaks the pitcher's hand—and they get a double play. That's a new one." Texas had other troubles: Mark Wagner sat out the week after being beaned in batting practice; Lee Mazzilli went on the disabled list with torn ligaments in his right wrist; and the owners were restless. Minority owner Dee Kelly said, "I'm about ready to call up the whole Denver team [Texas' AAA farm club] and swap it with this one." A brief respite came when Charlie Hough went the distance to beat the Royals 3-1 with a 12-inning six-hitter. Kansas City added to the Rangers' miseries by defeating them 5-3 the next day. The Royals pulled the game out by scoring three times in the bottom of the eighth inning, twice on a double by pinch hitter Cesar Geronimo.
There was little joy in Oakland (0-6) and Minnesota (1-5), too. In the past 16 games, A's pitchers have been clobbered for 173 hits and 125 runs. Last week, despite hitting four homers in one game, Oakland lost 11-9 in Detroit. The Twins were outscored 34-13, but they did hold off Baltimore 8-7 as newcomer Tom Brunansky slugged his third homer in as many games.
Chicago (5-1) bumped California (3-2) out of first place even though Tim Foli batted .500. Steve Renko, 37, hurled his first complete game in almost two years when he stopped Milwaukee 4-1 on three hits. Renko needed only 92 pitches—67 of them strikes—and retired the last 20 Brewers in order. On Sunday, Renko went the distance for the second time in a row, holding the Tigers to only four hits, winning 7-2 and raising his record to 5-1.
"I think he has arrived," said Bruce Bochte of Seattle (3-3) of teammate Floyd Bannister after the lefthander pitched a three-hitter and won 3-0 in Boston. "He doesn't spend himself in the first five innings and he doesn't pick at the plate as much as he used to." Bannister, who had been long on promise and short on victories since coming to the majors five years ago, is now 5-2. By whiffing nine Red Sox, he maintained the league strikeout lead with 61, nine more than runners-up Ron Guidry and Dennis Eckersley. Manny Castillo's pinch single in the 11th inning pulled the Mariners past the Brewers 6-5.
CHI 26-13 CAL 28-15 KC 22-17 OAK 20-23 SEA 19-25 TEX 11-25 MINN 12-32
A shot in the arm gave Mike Krukow of Philadelphia (2-4) a shot in the arm. Krukow, who struggled with his control early against Atlanta, was hit on his pitching arm by a ball off the bat of the Brave's Brett Butler, which went for a single. "I could feel the ball better with my fingers after that," explained Krukow, who went on to win 5-2. Pete Rose, who was playing his 500th consecutive game, drove across the run that made Dick Ruthven a 2-1 winner in Atlanta.
There was no catching St. Louis (3-3), which found that Glenn Brummer was no bummer. Two weeks ago Catcher Darrell Porter suffered a broken finger. Last week Catcher Gene Tenace broke a bone in his right hand. Up from the minors, where he has spent eight years, came Brummer, who was hitting .107 at Louisville. Brummer had three hits and three RBIs in 6-3 defeats of the Padres and Dodgers. Bob Forsch's five-hitter took care of San Diego 2-0.
New York (4-2) won with hits both long and short. Dave Kingman's 13th homer enabled Pat Zachry to defeat Cincinnati 4-2. And Reliever Neil Allen's 12th-inning bunt at Houston brought in John Stearns for a 6-5 victory. For the week Stearns hit .467.
Steve Rogers of Montreal (4-2) continued his mastery over Atlanta. A 4-0 two-hitter gave Rogers a 7-1 record and 1.10 ERA in his last 10 starts against the Braves. Rogers then earned his sixth win of the season and Jeff Reardon picked up his seventh save as the Expos knocked off the Reds 4-2 on Sunday.
The biggest hit of the week for Chicago (3-4) was a pinch double by Gary Woods breaking a 3-3 tie and leading to a 6-4 win in San Francisco that lifted Chicago out of the cellar. Until Woods came through, Cub pinch batters had hit .146 for the season.
Pittsburgh (2-4) collapsed into the basement, largely because of .211 hitting during the first five games of the week. Then the Bucs broke loose for 14 hits on Sunday and defeated the Padres 4-2. John Candelaria struck out nine batters in 7‚Öî innings before Rod Scurry came in from the bullpen to get the last four outs.
ST.L 25-17 NY 23-18 PHIL 21-19 MONT 19-19 CHI 18-24 PITT 16-22
Manager Tom Lasorda of Los Angeles (4-2) was blue on Saturday. Not his beloved Dodger blue. Just blue, as in miserable. The reason: He had to bench Steve Garvey, whose average was down to .222, and Ron Cey, who was at .259. Garvey extended his consecutive-game playing streak to 986 anyway, by taking over at first base late that night for his replacement, Rick Monday. Taking Cey's place at third was Pedro Guerrero, who earlier in the week had homered in the ninth to defeat Chicago. Guerrero had a pair of RBIs on Saturday to help knock off St. Louis 3-2. The victory went to Ted Power, one of two pitchers Lasorda pulled out of the bullpen and gave starts to. Dave Stewart, with a 9.00 ERA as a reliever, was the other, and he defeated Chicago 4-1 with the aid of Bill Russell's first homer since 1980. Garvey returned to the starting lineup on Sunday against the Cardinals and responded with a single and a double. That plus two more runs batted in by Guerrero helped Bob Welch coast to his fifth victory, 5-0. Three usually reliable starters had trouble. Fernando Valenzuela gave up six runs in the first two innings of an 8-3 loss to the Cubs. Jerry Reuss, who lost 6-3 to the Cardinals, has been battered for 26 hits and 19 runs in 14‚Öì innings during his last three outings. And Burt Hooton was hampered by a bone spur in his right knee joint and may need surgery.
Juan Bonilla of the Padres (3-3) did have surgery. He sustained a compound fracture of his left wrist in a collision at first base and is through for '82. Until then, San Diego had two Juans. The other, Juan Eichelberger, survived eight walks in beating Pittsburgh 12-3. On the week, Leftfielder Alan Wiggins gunned down two runners at the plate, made several electrifying catches and stole five bases. That gave him 12 steals in 17 games since coming up from Hawaii to replace the injured Gene Richards. Keeping the Braves (3-3) comfortably ahead of San Diego were Dale Murphy, who walloped his 12th and 13th home runs, and Gene Garber, who got his eighth save.
The Astros (4-2) put it all together: The pitchers had a 1.95 ERA, the fielders turned seven double plays and the hitters batted a good-for-them .265. At the center of the offense was Phil Garner, who hit .385. Houston was thus able to not only end Philadelphia's seven-game winning streak 8-1 behind Vern Ruhle's four-hitter, but also to sweep a three-game series in Philly for the first time in 17 years. Ray Knight's double and Alan Ashby's single in the 12th settled the second game of the series 2-1. Don Sutton beat the Mets 5-1 for his seventh victory. However, Reliever Joe Sambito went on the disabled list with tendinitis in the elbow of his pitching arm.
San Francisco (4-3) had the pitching—the staff ERA was 2.11—but not the hitting. The Giants scored only 21 runs and lost two of three 2-1 decisions. Rookie Bill Laskey, whose 1.99 ERA is the league's second best, was a 2-1 winner over Pittsburgh, and Joe Morgan singled in two runs in the eighth inning to beat the Pirates 3-1 in another game. Jack Clark also delivered a clutch hit, a 10th-inning single that beat the Cubs 4-3.
Cincinnati (1-5) outhit New York 12-6 but fell 7-4. The Reds lost largely because their pitchers issued nine walks.
ATL 26-15 SD 21-18 LA 21-21 HOUS 19-23 SF 19-24 CIN 16-24
BALL PARK FIGURES
The 10 least flattering, but still printable, nicknames of major league players:
Airhead—Mark Littell, StL
Buffalohead—Tom Niedenfuer, LA
Chief Running Mouth—Warren Cromartie, Mont
Cuckoo Jar—Joaquin Andujar, StL
Horse Face—John Candelaria, Pitt
Moon Man—Greg Minton, SF
Kelp Breath—Tim Ireland, KC
Mullethead—George Brett, KC
Spongehead—Rick Cerone, Yanks
Whirlybird—Bob Walk, Atl
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LARRY HERNDON: A three-home-run game was only part of the Detroit outfielder's hitting splurge. He also had a double, two triples and eight runs batted in, scored 10 times while batting a torrid .619