"I'm like a kid in a candy store," said a jubilant Vida Blue after his one-hitter took care of Seattle 8-0 for Kansas City (3-4). Others found how sweet it was to help the Royals' cause: Steve Hammond singled in the 11th to beat the Mariners 5-4; Bill Castro, in his first major league start since 1975, defeated Seattle 5-2; and Hal McRae increased his RBI total to 123, the most ever for a designated hitter.
Minnesota (6-1), which had its finest week of the season, beat K.C. 5-4, 11-5 and 9-4. Against the Royals the Twins hit a total of seven homers, Ron Davis got his 20th save, and Jack O'Connor went the route in the 9-4 win. O'Connor had earlier beaten Texas 3-2.
Seattle (3-4) defeated Kansas City 4-2 as Floyd Bannister, Ed Vande Berg and Mike Stanton teamed up for a three-hitter and Joe Simpson hit a two-run triple in the ninth. In a 6-0 win over Texas, Bob Stoddard tied a team mark by allowing only two hits.
Fred Lynn stroked two game-winning hits for California (4-3): a pinch single in the seventh that beat Chicago 6-4 and a two-run single in the ninth that defeated Toronto 8-6. Those hits helped the Angels move into a deadlock for first with the Royals.
Chicago (3-4) kept its flickering hopes aglow when Jerry Koosman beat California 8-3. But Tony Bernazard was sidelined with a fractured left fibula, Mike Squires with a pulled hamstring, Britt Burns with a sore shoulder and Rudy Law with a bruised right ankle. Rich Dotson was healthy, but Oakland halted his victory streak at eight with a 2-1 win.
Charlie Hough of Texas (2-5) beat Minnesota 8-2 for his 15th triumph. Oakland (2-4) Manager Billy Martin's departure—with permission from owner Roy Eisenhardt—during a 12-11 loss in Toronto irked more than a few A's. What prompted Martin to leave the premises was probably his players' ineptitude—nine errors last week. One player threatened to order room service and send the bill to Martin because, according to the player, Martin had knocked over a tableful of postgame chow in the clubhouse.
KC 84-65 CAL 84-65 CHI 79-69 SEA 70-78 OAK 62-87 TEX 59-90 MINN 56-93
As they have so often done, the Yankees (0-8) turned on the power in the stretch. New York hit 11 home runs, including four by Dave Winfield. That gave Winfield 13 in 21 games and 36 in all. During four games in three days in Baltimore, the Yankees slammed nine homers, Roy Smalley twice hitting two in one game. With such prodigious slugging, New York led 6-3 in the sixth inning of the first game, 4-0 in the fifth of the second game, 2-0 in the sixth of the third game and 5-2 in the sixth of the fourth game. Over the remainder of these games, though, the Orioles (7-1) out-scored the Yankees 21-2 to win all four of them. The scores were 8-7, 5-4, 5-3 and 8-5, respectively. Eight RBIs by Cal Ripken—coupled with six New York errors—during the five-game series with the Yankees helped keep the unflappable Birds flapping. And their bullpen was superb: Rookies Mike Boddicker and Don Welchel were winners; newcomer John Flinn, pitching in the majors for only the second time in two years, struck out seven in six scoreless innings en route to winning the second game; and Tippy Martinez had three saves. The O's won the fifth game of that series 3-1 behind the six-hit pitching of Jim Palmer (14-4). Rich Dauer's two-run homer in the 10th on Sunday made Mike Flanagan a 4-2 victor over Cleveland.
Milwaukee's starting pitchers no longer worked with the assurance that Rollie Fingers could arrive from the bullpen to bail them out. In fact, some Brewers feared that Fingers, who tested his sore right arm and admitted it still hurt, might be through for the season. Dwight Bernard (two saves) and Jim Slaton (one save) helped ease Milwaukee's concern. Mike Caldwell threw a three-hitter as he beat New York 14-0 that eliminated the Yankees from the race. Caldwell now has a 12-3 career record against New York, and his .800 winning percentage is the best ever for a pitcher with 10 or more wins over the Yanks. As usual, the Brewers (5-1) pounded the ball. Don Money had three RBIs as Milwaukee beat Detroit 6-2: Roy Howell had ditto in a 5-3 win over the Tigers; Paul Molitor knocked in four runs to help beat New York 6-4; Gorman Thomas hit his league-leading 37th homer during a 14-1 rout of the Yankees; and Robin Yount (page 34) batted .519.
Boston (3-5) virtually dropped out of contention despite the efforts of Bob Stanley and rookie Wade Boggs. Stanley's 7‚Öî innings of scoreless relief in a 6-2 defeat of Detroit gave him his 11th victory. Boggs batted .419. Although that performance raised his average to .374, Boggs doesn't have nearly enough plate appearances (327 through Sunday) to qualify for the batting title.
With Howard Johnson hitting .455, Detroit (3-4) regained fourth place. Milt Wilcox (11-8) and Dan Petry (15-8) defeated Boston 4-2 and 5-1, respectively, and Lance Parrish stunned Milwaukee 4-3 with a two-run homer in the 11th.
Ron Hassey of the Indians (4-3) hit an 11th-inning homer to beat the Red Sox 4-3 in the second game of a doubleheader sweep. Cleveland's Ed Whitson got the win in the opener by a score of 3-1. Then Dan Spillner gave up only one hit to the Bosox in three innings while sewing up a 7-4 victory with his 19th save. Four RBIs by Von Hayes plus the pitching of Rick Sutcliffe (13-6) beat Baltimore 5-3.
Even last-place Toronto (4-2) did some spoiling, defeating California 2-1 and 6-2. The Blue Jays' Dave Stieb yielded just one run and three hits in 11 innings in the first of those games but didn't get the victory. Toronto won in the 12th when Alfredo Griffin got on base via Reggie Jackson's two-base error and scored on Willie Upshaw's single.
MIL 89-60 BALT 87-62 BOS 82-67 DET 74-73 NY 73-76 CLEV 72-75 TOR 69-80
Lots of good Pitching moved St. Louis (7-1) in front by 4½ games. While winning seven straight, the St. Louis pitchers yielded only six runs. Reliever Bruce Sutter had a win and saved 2-0 victories for John Stuper (in Philadelphia) and Bob Forsch (in New York).
The Phillies (2-4) briefly took over first place early in the week when Steve Carlton did it all against the Cardinals: He pitched a three-hitter, fanned 12, homered and became the season's first 20-game winner. But thereafter .191 hitting and a string of 25 innings without producing a single run sent the Phillies reeling.
Woes mounted in Montreal (2-4). Tim Raines confessed that he'd used drugs, although he insisted he'd quit "about four months ago." Manager Jim Fanning's migraines became so severe he was placed in Queen Elizabeth Hospital's intensive-care unit. Andre Dawson's homer in the 11th inning beat the Mets 6-5, but the Expos' opponents got most of the big home runs. Montreal blew a 7-0 lead against the Cubs (5-1), who prevailed 10-7 as Jerry Morales and Bump Wills each homered with two on in the eighth. Reliever Lee Smith saved that game, as well as 3-1 and 7-5 defeats of the Expos. Chicago also beat Pittsburgh twice, 7-3 and 7-2. The Cubs' Jody Davis had a total of five RBIs in those games, the second of which was Ferguson Jenkins' 275th career win. For the week Bill Buckner batted .444 as Chicago roughed up two of the East's contenders.
The Pirates (3-3) had anticipated a large crowd for the first of those games with Chicago, but they were disappointed when only 2,859 showed up. Many other fans preferred to watch the Steeler-Cowboy game on TV. "We played just like the crowd—our worst performance of the year," said First Baseman Jason Thompson. Pittsburgh bounced back with a 15-5 rout of the Cubs as Richie Hebner and Bill Madlock combined for 10 RBIs on just two hits—a brace of grand slams. Mad-lock drove in the two other runs with sacrifice flies. Manager Chuck Tanner's all-righty lineup and Kent Tekulve's relief work helped Rick Rhoden defeat Carlton and the Phils 4-2. The big blow in that game was Brian Harper's three-run homer. Four hits by Mookie Wilson, who led off the game with a home run, helped the Mets (1-7) beat the Expos 9-4.
ST.L 86-63 PHIL 81-67 MONT 79-69 PITT 79-69 CHI 66-83 NY 57-91
After moving from sixth to fifth in the batting order on Sept. 6, Steve Garvey helped move the Dodgers (5-1) from second to first. Over a 12-game span, Garvey drove in 18 runs, the most vital RBI coming on a homer in the last of the 16th to beat San Diego 4-3. Los Angeles then shut out the Padres twice. Fernando Valenzuela defeated them 1-0 with a six-hitter, and Burt Hooton won 5-0 with a three-hitter. Valenzuela's 19th win came on Sunday when Pedro Guerrero's two-run double in the 10th beat Houston 5-4.
Second-place Atlanta (2-4) lost two key players for at least several days. Bob Horner hyperextended his left elbow, and Bruce Benedict bruised his right heel. But the Braves ended a four-game skid when Reliever Gene Garber sealed a 5-4 win in Cincinnati.
The Giants (5-2) refused to succumb. Dave Bergman's two-run home run in the seventh gave Atlee Hammaker a 2-1 win over the Reds, and Chili Davis hit a two-run pinch homer in the eighth to defeat Cincy 5-4. Gary Lavelle got two saves, and Al Holland and Greg Minton had one apiece. Holland was also a 4-3 victor over the Padres, thanks to Tom O'Malley's RBI single in the 11th.
Slumps, injuries and grief hounded sagging San Diego (1-6). The Padres went 29 innings without a run and lost the 16-inning game to the Dodgers even though Joe Lefebvre went 6 for 8 and Gene Richards 5 for 8. Garry Templeton was sidelined by a lower-back sprain, and Sixto Lezcano went out after being hit on the hand by a pitch. Saturday brought the worst news of all: the death of Bullpen Coach Clyde McCullough, 65. McCullough had been largely responsible for the rapid development of the Padres' corps of good young pitchers this season.
Joe Niekro, who has given up only five earned runs in his last 53‚Öî innings, was a two-time winner for Houston (4-2). Joe beat brother Phil and the Braves 5-3 and then muzzled the Dodgers 2-0 on two hits.
Bruce Berenyi of Cincinnati (2-4) again pitched well—and again lost. In his last nine starts Berenyi has had a 3.03 ERA, but the Reds have come up with just 12 runs in those games, and he has lost seven times. Last week the Braves defeated him 6-1 and the Giants beat him 2-1 even though Cincy's Alex Trevino hit the first homer of his big-league career in his 1,057th at bat.
LA 85-65 ATL 82-67 SF 79-70 SD 75-75 HOUS 69-80 CIN 55-94
BALL PARK FIGURES
According to an SI poll of big league players, the visiting clubhouses in these cities offer the best postgame spreads:
1. Kansas City: barbecued chicken
2. California: turkey, roast beef
3. Milwaukee: corn on the cob, lasagna
4. New York: Italian cuisine
5. Seattle: hamburgers, candy bars
1. Houston: red snapper, rice
2. St. Louis: barbecued ribs and chicken
3. Cincinnati: barbecued ribs, coleslaw
4. San Francisco: lasagna, chicken
5. Los Angeles: roast turkey, ham
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BRUCE KISON: By defeating the White Sox 7-0 on seven hits and the Blue Jays 5-1 on four hits, the California righthander helped the Angels tie Kansas City for first in the American League West.