For Houston's Jim York it was the kind of week relievers dream about. Against San Diego he pitched just one-third of an inning and earned a save. He got another with a one-inning workout. Against Montreal he faced only two batters but got a 10-inning 6-5 win. Then he added a third save in a 5-3 victory over the Expos. The Astros won five of seven games for Coach Preston Gomez, tilling in while Manager Leo Durocher was hospitalized with an infection of the lower intestine. Making Gomez' task all the easier was Doug Rader, who hit four homers.
"The kids are different now; they all act like they've been around for six or seven years," said Willie McCovey, the San Francisco philosopher. "But don't ask me where they get all that cool." Three of those kids—Chris Speier, Gary Thomasson and Gary Maddox, average age 22—hit a combined .339 last week and had 12 RBIs. And Jim Willoughby, 24, beat the Cardinals 1-0 with the help of a homer by oldtimer Bobby Bonds, 27. It all added up to six straight wins.
There were eight home runs in the week for Atlanta, two of them by Henry Aaron and Darrell Evans to beat Tom Seaver and the Mets 2-0. Aaron's—career No. 678—was one of two hits he had in 14 times up last week.
San Diego Catcher Fred Kendall, a .216 hitter, put on glasses and last week hit .368 and raised his season's average to .271. The Padres nevertheless lost twice at Wrigley Field, where their overall record is 4-22.
If silence is golden then there was a fortune hidden in Los Angeles and Cincinnati bats last week. Both teams managed to win twice, despite respective team batting averages of .193 and .182.
SF 18-5 CIN 12-8 HOUS 13-10 LA 9-11 ATL 7-12 SD 7-14
"We're going to stop giving games away," Montreal Manager Gene Mauch pledged early this year. Alas for the slips between exclamations and the execution thereof. Last week the Expos made 14 errors, giving them 29 in 17 games. With the aid of three errors by their imaginative defense, the Expos came from ahead to lose 7-4 to the Reds. They outhit the Astros 13-7 but blew a 5-2 lead as they erred four times, missed signals and had a runner picked off third base. Again against the Astros, the Expos led by three runs before they came through with four clutch bobbles and nailed down another defeat. But they did beat the Mets 2-1 on Tim Foli's 10th-inning single and overcame the Reds 7-2 with the help of a double by Boots Day, one of five pinch hitters used by Mauch in a seven-run ninth.
Eleven errors and the loss of Ted Sizemore, who was hitting .333 until he pulled a hamstring, were the lowlights of a 1-5 week for St. Louis. Clearly, the Cardinals needed help. A lady fan donated 50 lucky pennies and Pitcher Al Santorini put on a lucky sports coat. With all that—and with the shutout pitching of Rick Wise—the Cardinals beat the Dodgers 2-0. It was the second win for Wise—and the second all month for the Cardinals.
Willie Stargell and Bob Robertson each hit two homers as Pittsburgh beat the Cubs 10-4. Then the Pirates lost three in a row and their lead over New York was cut to half a game. The Mets were propelled by Jim McAndrew's two wins, Tug McGraw's two saves and Rusty Staub's two homers, which helped him shake a 1 for 29 slump and a .169 batting average.
The Cubs lost three times to the Giants. Said Manager Whitey Lockman: "Those aren't schoolgirls we're playing out there." Rick Reuschel became the first Cub pitcher to win two games when he beat the Padres 2-0 with Jack Aker in relief. Ron Santo had three homers and stole the 35th base of his 14-year career.
Philadelphia rooters hit a new low when they booed both Steve Carlton and the Easter Bunny on the same day. Carlton was jeered because he made an errant pickoff throw. Later in the week he beat the Cardinals 4-2 and the Reds 3-1, the last on four scratch singles. As for the Bunny, he will have to wait until next year.
PITT 8-4 NY 11-8 CHI 10-8 PHIL 9-8 MONT 7-10 ST.L 2-15
The boys summer came back to Oakland, where Rudy May, Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson were all high school standouts. Playing this time for the California Angels, they beat the A's 4-0, May hurling the shutout, Robinson and Pinson combining for three RBIs. For Robinson there was an extra touch of nostalgia when he faced Baltimore for the first time since they traded him away two years ago. The Orioles decided not to curve him if they ever got two strikes on him. But in the sixth inning he hit a homer—off a two-strike hanging curve. The three-run drive led the Angels back from a 5-0 deficit to a 6-5 win sealed by Jim Spencer's bases-loaded hit in the 10th.
Oakland managed just 14 runs in seven games, but won four of them, three by one run.
Kansas City Manager Jack McKeon was in a quandary about who to pitch last Friday in Detroit. Asked if he might use Steve Busby, he replied, "Could be." McKeon's lack of enthusiasm about Busby was understandable, for in 15‚Öî innings the rookie had amassed a 7.88 ERA and had given up 26 hits. Busby got the start and threw a no-hitter, the first by KC since the team entered the league 18 years ago. That performance, plus timely hitting by Lou Piniella, kept the Royals in first place.
Chicago won four of five, Wilbur Wood and Stan Bahnsen each winning twice and Carlos May whacking three homers. The White Sox stealthily leaked word that Pat Kelly "has a little muscle strain in his leg." Kelly then showed off his "strained leg" by stroking three doubles, raising his average to .486 and scoring both runs in a 2-1 win.
Last year the Twins' best friends were left-handed pitchers—they were 29-23 against them but this time around things are different. Lefties have held Minnesota to a .204 batting average. Last week Boston Southpaw Bill Lee beat them with five innings of two-hit relief. The Twins split four games.
Tigers tickled pink to play rangers said a headline in the Detroit Free Press. The pink turned to an embarrassed red, though, as Texas beat the Tigers 2-1 and 4-1 with the help of two fine relief efforts by Steve Foucault. Texas fans were treated to the sight of elephantine Frank Howard, a Ranger last year and now Detroit's designated hitter, trying to steal a base. He didn't make it.
KC 13-7 CHI 9-5 MINN 9-6 CAL 9-7 OAK 8-11 TEX 5-10
Detroit lost five of six games yet found solace in, of all things, a three-base error by Willie Horton that led to a 5-3 loss to the Orioles. The redeeming aspects of that miscue were, first, that Horton made it while displaying newfound hustle and attitude in the outfield and, second, that he didn't go into one of his abysmal sulks afterward. "Keep hustling," Manager Billy Martin told him in consolation. Baltimore stayed in front as Jim Palmer held off the A's 2-1 to end a string of three straight one-run losses. For the first time ever—from Little League to the majors—Boog Powell batted eighth, going 0 for 4 and lowering his batting average to .222.
Johnny Briggs of Milwaukee had a tooth pulled, but it was the Royals who felt the pain as the Brewers pounded out 10 hits in the course of Jerry Bell's three-hit 9-1 victory. In all, the Brewers hit six homers during the week and climbed to the giddy heights of second place.
The Yankees arrived back in New York after a miserable road trip to wait in vain for a bus that was supposed to meet them at the airport. On the other hand, the home runs they have been expecting finally did arrive when they hit four (two by Bobby Murcer) in drubbing the Twins 11-3 behind George Medich.
Boston pitchers gave up 27 walks as the Red Sox lost three of five contests with the Indians, Twins and White Sox by a total of four runs.
Seven homers and some fine pitching bolstered Cleveland's self-esteem. The most dramatic of the clouts was a grand slam by Ron Lolich with two out in the last of the ninth to beat the Red Sox 8-7. Best of the pitching jobs were Dick Tidrow's 1-0 stopper against the A's and a 6-2 win over the Angels by Milt Wilcox, who went seven innings before allowing a hit.
BALT 10-8 MIL 9-8 DET 9-10 BOST 7-9 NY 7-10 CLEV 8-12