May Day A day to remember in Milwaukee, the day the Brewers beat the A's 4-3 and moved into first place with an improbable 10-9 record. Bill Parsons walked the first three A's he faced and was replaced by Jim Colborn, who pitched nine innings of five-hit relief and won when Johnny Briggs homered in the ninth. Thereafter, it was May Day of another kind as the Brewers looked everywhere for help, found none, blew a five-run lead and lost three straight.
East teams were 12-18 against the West, with Baltimore being the No. 1 victim. The Orioles dropped three one-run decisions, were 0-5 overall and plummeted from first place to fourth. Mike Cuellar was giving up homers at a record pace, four last week and 11 in all. Brooks Robinson's 2,417th hit moved him past Pie Traynor as the third baseman with the most hits ever.
Resting atop the East was Detroit, the only club with so much as a .500 record. "We're not mean enough on the field," said Manager Billy Martin. "We have to battle, battle, battle." Among those who were mean enough were Joe Coleman, winner of two games, and John Hiller, saver of two.
After Sparky Lyle finally notched his first save, the Yankee Stadium organist played It Seems Like Old Times. And the way New York started off they seemed like the old Yankees as they produced 23 runs and 32 hits in three quick wins. But after that they played like the more recent editions, scoring only three runs in three losses.
Three times the Indians came from behind to jump from last place to second. George Hendrick homered in the ninth to put down the Angels 3-2, and Chris Chambliss had a two-run double in the eighth to beat the A's 6-5. Against the Twins they got six innings of scoreless relief from Ray Lamb and a two-run, 10th-inning hit from Leo Cardenas to turn a 4-0 deficit into an 8-4 victory.
Orlando Cepeda of Boston socked a grand slam to take care of Texas 6-2, and Bill Lee switched from the bullpen to pick up his first win of the year as a starter when he defeated the Twins 5-1. In their three other tries the Red Sox came up losers and took up residence in the basement.
DET 12-12 CLEV 11-13 MIL 10-12 BALT 10-13 NY 10-13 BOST 9-12
There was almost nothing to Chicago's rise to the top of the West—as far as opposing batters were concerned, anyway. Only once did opponents produce runs—five of them by the Orioles. But the White Sox countered with six, two on homers by Dick Allen, who became only the 15th man in 62 years to loft a ball over the 71½-foot-high left-field grandstand in Chicago. White Sox pitchers took care of the rest of the work as the team ran its winning streak to eight games, the club's longest since 1967. In the process they hurled four shutouts, three in succession. Terry Forster pitched 6‚Öì innings of two-hit relief to wrap up wins over the Yankees for Stan Bahnsen and Eddie Fisher. Earlier, Wilbur Wood blanked the Red Sox and Orioles, giving him three shutouts in a row. Asked what he did in the locker room during a rain delay in the Oriole contest, Wood replied: "I did what I always do. I had a cigar.
"Artful pitching was also the trademark of the Angels, who won four of five. For Rudy May it was a 1-0 two-hitter against the Orioles, his third straight shutout. For Nolan Ryan (page 26) it was a 12-inning, 5-3 win over the Tigers. And for Bill Singer it was a two-hitter and a five-hitter as he put down the Orioles 3-1 and the Tigers 6-2. Three times last week the Angels played games in less than 2:15, making it 10 times in all.
Ninth-inning rallies gave Texas back-to-back wins as Dave Nelson and Toby Harrah drove in runs to beat the Brewers 2-1, and Jeff Burroughs finished off the Red Sox 7-6 with the last of his four RBIs. Ranger fielding was also impressive, but not even seven double plays in their final two outings could prevent losses.
Steve Busby, trying for his second no-hitter in a row, ran his hitless parade to 14‚Öì innings before Dave May of the Brewers homered. The American League owns sole rights to the designated hitter this season, but that did not stop the Royals from resorting to the ancient National League tradition of using a pinch hitter. John Mayberry, who spent much of the day soaking his injured wrist, hit a two-run pinch single for a 9-7 victory over the Brewers.
Chuckholes in the outfield, slow infield grass, dead air, low attendance—those were among the complaints lodged by the A's against their Oakland Coliseum. "And look how drab this place is," lamented Sal Ban-do. "Gray cement. We've nicknamed this the Oakland Mausoleum." Catfish Hunter picked up two of the A's three wins, but the team remained below .500.
Things weren't so hot in Minnesota, either. The Twins hit just one homer, were out-scored 36-18, left 41 men on base and lost four of five games. Rod Carew was fined $250 for not hustling, Harmon Killebrew was slumping along at .189 and the day after George Mitterwald hit his first homer he hurt his back while lifting his baby. Something had to be done, so Club President Calvin Griffith complained to League President Joe Cronin that Bert Blyleven's curves moved so much that umpires were calling them balls instead of strikes. Next time out Blyleven's curve—and just about everything else he threw—was moved for eight hits and four runs in 4‚Öì innings.
CHI 14-5 KC 16-9 CAL 13-8 MINN 10-10 OAK 11-13 TEX 7-13
So much for Montreal's youth movement. Last week the oldtimers took over and the Expos won four in a row after losing to the Astros 4-3 on a ninth-inning balk. It was an unlikely lot who got the team going: John Boccabella, 31, a .220 career hitter; Bob Bailey, 30, and .252; Ron Hunt, 32, and .271; and Ron Woods, 30, and .238. Boccabella batted .375, Bailey .385 and Hunt .500 while Woods hit .500 to take over the league lead in batting with a .429 average. Woods produced nine runs and Hunt seven as the Expos fought from behind for all their wins. Manager Gene Mauch, who enjoyed the turnabout but was confused by it, said: "Anyone who tries to analyze success is crazy."
There was little success to analyze in New York. Only Jerry Koosman could crow. "One of my goals in life was to throw a 3-2 changeup to Henry Aaron in a 1-0 game with two out in the ninth inning and get him," said Koos. "I did it."
The Chicago Cubs made just two errors, hit .310, won four of six and jumped to first place. Leading the assault were Jose Cardenal (.353 for the week), Glenn Beckert (.381) and Ron Santo (.435). Sandwiched between four one-run setbacks for Pittsburgh were three wins. Two came on the strength of slugging by Al Oliver and Rennie Stennett, who took turns getting two homers and six RBIs against the Giants.
While the Cardinals were struggling, so were the Phillies, although they did win a marathon. Denny Doyle of Philadelphia led off with a triple, the next two batters were intentionally walked and then Jose Pagan punched a fly ball to left field. Although he neglected to slide, Doyle was safe at home on a close play. And that was how the Phillies beat the Braves 5-4 in a 20-inning game that lasted 5:16. Twice the Phillies came from two runs down—in the eighth and 13th innings—and hung in there by stranding a record 27 Braves. Oh yes, the Phillies lost their other four games, three on shutouts.
CHI 14-10 PITT 11-8 MONT 11-11 NY 12-12 PHIL 10-12 ST. L 5-18
Bottom of the ninth trailing the Pirates by six—it was time for even the most ardent Giant rooter to head for home. Even Bobby Bonds put on his jacket and started to leave. "But at the last second something told me I should stay for the final out," Bonds recalls. So he did, saw Chris Arnold hit a pinch grand slam and soon after found himself at bat with the bases again bulging. Bad cold and all, Bonds doubled, cleared the bases and the Giants won 8-7. The rest of the week was not so fruitful, the Giants losing four of five.
Houston climbed to within 1½ games of the Giants with a 5-0 week. When Jimmy Wynn was shifted from his customary No. 3 spot in the batting order he was upset. Now, however, he is all agrin. As leadoff man he has hit .297 with eight home runs; batting elsewhere occasionally, Wynn has hit .167. "I've never seen as many fastballs as I have leading off because they don't want to walk me with our heavy hitters batting behind me," Wynn explained. Last week he hit one homer, Bob Watson added three and Jerry Reuss blanked the Phillies. Tommie Agee scored the winning run in the 14th inning against his former Met mates when Pitcher Jim Ray, batting because the Astros had run out of players, singled him across.
Another ex-Met, Larry Stahl of the Reds, beat the New Yorkers with a three-run homer as a pinch hitter for a pinch hitter. He hit it off the first pitch thrown this season by rookie reliever Hank Webb. That was the third straight win for the Reds, who earlier had beaten the Phillies on Jack Billingham's shutout and had used three home runs to defeat the Mets 6-1. Then they took on the revamped Expos and dropped two games.
Los Angeles had the most productive of all outfields last week: Willie Davis had 10 hits, Manny Mota had 12 and Willie Crawford added 13. That kind of hitting enabled the team to win five of seven and go over .500 for the first time. Manager Eddie Mathews announced that his Braves would start a new season in May, not a bad idea considering their 7-13 showing for April. So the new season began and the Braves lost and lost and lost. The Braves won at last when Carl Morton, aided by Henry Aaron's third homer of the week, downed the Phillies 7-0.
There was talk of a player rebellion against San Diego Manager Don Zimmer. After player representative Steve Arlin was sent to the bullpen he snapped: "I'm accused of being the instigator [of the rebellion story]. They're making an example of me." Leron Lee hit .342, Fred Kendall .354, Nate Colbert .448, John Grubb .500 and Dave Campbell .524, yet the Padres lost four of six.
SF 20-9 HOUS 18-10 CIN 15-10 LA 14-13 ATL 8-16 SD 9-18