The Yankees lost to Detroit when a throw from Centerfielder Elliott Maddox skipped, hit Third Baseman Graig Nettles over the left eye and allowed Bill Freehan to score the winning run in a 3-2 game that moved Detroit into second place. This was the division's oddest contribution to a week filled with mishap, argument, grandeur and farce—a baseball theater of the extraordinary in which Detroit (5-1) had the best record and possibly the best manners.
Fate, however, was tempted. Milwaukee risked a free-beer night—18,871 customers were allowed two cups apiece—but brewed no misbehavior. Behaving ably themselves, the Milwaukee players, paced by Tim Johnson's two hits, beat Baltimore 8-6.
The Indians anticipated real trouble when they visited Boston. They had a 22-12 record against West Division teams, but were just 10-19 in the East. To the rescue came Gaylord Perry (9-1 lifetime against the Red Sox), who won 11-0 on four hits for his 13th straight victory. With approximately 25 starts remaining, he has a good chance to become a 30-game winner.
A hot Boston pitcher, Luis Tiant, beat Oakland 2-1 for his seventh win in his last eight starts. And Baltimore's Mike Cuellar stopped Minnesota 1-0 for his ninth straight.
BOS 38-28 DET 35-30 BALT 34-32 CLEV 33-32 NY 34-35 MIL 31-32
Kansas City's Steve Busby beat Milwaukee 2-0 to become the first no-hit pitcher of 1974 and the first man to throw no-hitters in his first two big-league seasons (he no-hit Detroit 3-0 on April 27, 1973). Busby was a reluctant hero. Recalling remarks roommate Paul Splittorff had made, Busby said, "He told me only certain types of pitchers can throw a no-hitter. He mentioned Nolan Ryan. Then me. I climbed all over him. I'm no no-hit pitcher."
When the Royals heard Carl Yastrzemski quoted as to how poorly the A's, particularly Catfish Hunter, had been playing, they preened into Oakland claiming they would leave there leading the division. Whereupon the A's, stimulated by Hunter's 4-0 shutout pitching, took three straight. Oakland's typically tumultuous week began when Ted Kubiak made a costly base-running mistake and Reggie Jackson and Bill North again clashed—colliding accidentally while chasing a Bill Sudakis fly ball in a 5-3 loss to New York. The A's stayed in first when Texas blew a couple of chances to catch them. But Ferguson Jenkins rebounded, beating California 12-3, his first win since May 22.
Despite a 5-2 week featuring 50 runs in seven games and Jim Kaat's 200th career victory, Chicago had some forgettable moments. Such as the time Ron Santo apparently struck out on a 3-2, two-out pitch with Dick Allen and Ken Henderson running. Minnesota Catcher Randy Hundley, thinking it was strike two and the White Sox were attempting a double steal, threw wildly to third. Allen scored and Henderson was thrown out at home, but the umpires ruled that Santo had ended the inning by indeed striking out. Minnesota won 3-2.
California's relief corps has become known as "the arson squad," because it lights fires in enemy bats. All but Barry Raziano. Until last week. He took his 0.93 ERA into a game against Boston and allowed three earned runs in one-third of an inning. Raziano and his bullpen mates have allowed 68 runs in 139 innings and contributed just six saves.
In Minnesota it was announced that Harmon Killebrew will be given a farewell after 20 years with the organization. The tribute was not initiated by Twins management, which tried to make a coach of him, cut his salary and left him out of the 1973 highlights film, but by Twin City writers, who will toast baseball's fifth-leading home-run hitter before the Aug. 11 game with Baltimore.
OAK 37-31 TEX 36-33 CHI 31-31 KC 32-33 CAL 29-41 MINN 26-38
Faith faltered in New York as the You-Gotta-Believe Mets lost six of eight and fell to last place. In a game they won, the Mets committed five errors, lost Tom Seaver after five innings with an aching buttock and nearly lost out in the ninth when Ken Boswell and Wayne Garrett collided chasing a grounder.
Although the Phillies stayed in first, they were becoming very reliant on Pitchers Jim Lonborg (9-5) and Steve Carlton (9-5), who got credit for seven of Philadelphia's eight wins in one stretch. "Maybe I'll be able to think up a Spahn-and-Sain-type rhyme for them," said Manager Danny Ozark. A happy complication to the rhyme scheme came in the form of Wayne Twitchell's first victories since off-season surgery.
Montreal won three times and was embarrassed three times. In a 12-3 loss to Cincinnati, Leftfielder Bob Bailey allowed an extra run to score with a lackadaisical throw to the infield, Ron Woods and Jim Cox played do-si-do and let a fly ball drop and Catcher Barry Foote caught a pop-up, tried to pull it out of his glove and dropped it. "I'll tell you one thing," said Manager Gene Mauch. "Steve Rogers will beat the Cardinals." Instead, his 7-8 ace was defeated 4-3 by Cardinal stopper Lynn McGlothen (10-3). The Expos also were humbled 5-1 by a combination of 37-year-old Sonny Siebert and 38-year-old Reliever Orlando Pena.
Pittsburgh extended its winning streak to six after sweeping series from the Giants and Dodgers and advanced from sixth to fourth. Rick Reuschel got Chicago's first shutout in two months, halting Pittsburgh's streak 3-0 on a nifty 12-hitter.
PHIL 37-32 ST. L 34-31 MONT 30-30 PITT 28-36 CHI 27-36 NY 26-41
Were these truly the first-place Dodgers—or the old Brooklyn Bums? It was hard to tell in a game with Pittsburgh. Here is the scene: bases loaded, two outs, 3-and-2 count on Joe Ferguson. On the pitch he appears to take a called strike. Lee Lacy, who is on third, thinks so, and heads for the dugout. Pirate Catcher Manny Sanguillen thinks so, and rolls the ball toward the mound. Jim Wynn, who is on second, thinks Ferguson has walked, and runs home. Lacy changes his mind and follows suit. Chaos. When players, managers and umpires settle down, the verdict is that Ferguson has walked. Wynn is declared out for passing Lacy and Lacy is safe at home. Pittsburgh Manager Danny Murtaugh protests, but the Pirates make it academic by winning 7-3.
All the Dodgers needed to clear their heads were a couple of games with San Francisco. Ex-Bay Area residents Bill Buckner and Ferguson each won a game with a homer. Even when they were beating the Cards 5-4, the Giants looked sloppy. With Garry Maddox on first, Ed Goodson hit a shot that St. Louis Centerfielder Bake McBride seemed to catch. Goodson rounded first and Maddox passed him on his way back to first. Actually, the ball had touched McBride's glove, fallen over the wall and been returned to him by a stadium attendant. McBride then threw the ball to the infield, causing the confusion. Goodson was given credit for a single but ruled out for passing Maddox on the bases. Maddox was allowed to score from first. Pitcher Jim Barr, who shut out St. Louis, censured his teammates for such misplays and was willing to be raked over in return. "What we need is more criticism, more talk," said he, borrowing a chapter from the Oakland success story. But the Giants were just four games out of the cellar.
Atlanta continued as baseball's hottest team, taking four of six in its sixth straight winning week and rising to second place. "Credit Herm," said Reliever Tom House of Pitching Coach Herm Starrette. House himself preserved shutouts for Buzz Capra and Carl Morton. Cincinnati had a frustrating (3-3) week. Only Clay Carroll, normally a reliever but a 5-0 shutout winner in his first start of the season, provided bravado. "I ain't braggin' but it seems like when we're in this type of situation, I'm the one. I got all the pitches." Houston's Larry Dierker (5-3) has, too. His is the second-best ERA (1.85) in the league, but in only three of his 14 starts have the Astros given him more than four runs.
The Padres, who had their third straight winning week, got wins over the Cubs from youngsters Dave Freisleben (6-2), Dan Spillner (3-1) and Larry Hardy (6-2).
LA 46-23 ATL 39-28 CIN 37-28 HOUS 34-35 SF 33-38 SD 30-43