Boston continued its Fenway Park mastery over the Yankees—the Red Sox are 18-1 since August 1972—by scoring a run off ex-teammate Sparky Lyle in the last of the ninth to win 5-4. Luis Tiant went all the way in that victory to post the Sox' eighth complete game in their last 11 contests; Boston won only five of the 11 because of inconsistent hitting. Carl Yastrzemski was one man the pitchers certainly could not blame for nonsupport. Yaz hasn't hit 20 home runs or .300 since 1970, but he may do both this year. He raised his average to .333 on a nine-game road trip and four of his hits were homers, including his 12th of the year and the 300th of his career.
The Perry brothers drew two crowds of more than 40,000 into Cleveland Stadium, but both throngs went away disappointed. First the A's beat brother Jim 6-3, as Ted Kubiak, substituting for injured Sal Bando, singled home two runs. Then the Orioles tied brother Gaylord with three runs in the ninth and handed him his third loss in a row with four more in the 11th. Baltimore"s defeat of Perry, in which Rich Coggins got five hits and Bobby Grich, Paul Blair and Tommy Davis socked home runs, was the Orioles' only win in five tries.
New York's team physician, Dr. Sydney Gaynor, has been unable to do much for the Yankees' injured pitchers, Mel Stottlemyre and Rudy May, but Doc Medich's mound medicine has been curative enough to bring New York from seven games behind to within two of the division lead in the last month. Medich won five straight as the Yanks took 15 of 21 games.
When Milwaukee starter Billy Champion was relieved by Kevin Kobel, with the Brewers leading Baltimore 5-0, he had reasonable cause for concern. It was the third time in Champion's last five starts that Manager Del Crandall had removed him in the midst of a shutout attempt and Champion's relief had dissipated the leads in the previous two. Sure enough, by the time Crandall yanked Kobel from the game the score was 5-3. Tom Murphy replaced him and threw 3‚Öì hitless innings to preserve Champion's fifth win.
Struggling with a .241 team batting average, Detroit is still in the race only because the Eastern leaders keep bumping each other off. The Tigers have lost 15 of their last 18 games, but trail by a mere six games.
BOS 52-46 CLEV 51-46 NY 50-48 BALT 50-48 MIL 48-50 DET 46-52
Deep in a 7 for 49 slump and unable to play in the All-Star Game because of an injured ankle, Oakland's Sal Bando needed something to occupy his mind and body during the midseason break. His choice of distractions was limited, since his doctor had ordered him to stay off his feet. So Bando decided to wash away his troubles with a swim. While doing the crawl, he evidently discovered his hitting stroke as well. As the season resumed, Bando hit two homers to help Vida Blue defeat the Twins 5-1.
"I get sick every time I come to New York," said Kansas City's Freddie Patek, striking a verbal blow for the rest of the nation's out-of-towners. Recuperating on the Shea Stadium bench certainly did not make Patek feel any better. The speedy shortstop could only watch as five of his teammates were gunned down trying to steal or take an extra base in a 5-4 loss to the Yankees.
Manager Chuck Tanner went out to ask Reliever Terry Forster how he felt about staying in to pitch against Milwaukee's Deron Johnson with the bases full, two out in the ninth and the White Sox leading 3-1. "O.K.," said Forster. "Good, go get him," urged Tanner. But it was Johnson who did the getting to end Chicago's seven-game win streak. He smashed Forster's second pitch against the upper deck railing in left field for a grand slam homer.
The Sox' troubles continued right on down to Texas, where the Rangers spent nearly the entire 1973 season in the cellar. This year they are in contention and trailed Oakland by only eight games after taking two out of three from the Sox last week.
Minnesota's problem pitcher, Bert Blyleven, was ahead of Oakland 3-0 in the sixth inning and coasting toward a fifth straight victory, when the A's reached him for four runs after two were out. The 5-3 loss prevented the Twins from putting together their third consecutive winning week.
Returning from a 7-3 road trip, California went right on losing at home, where it has not won a game in 13 tries under new Manager Dick Williams.
OAK 57-42 CHI 50-47 KC 50-47 TEX 50-51 MINN 48-52 CAL 39-62
The same mania that struck Philadelphia when its hockey Flyers won the Stanley Cup has infected local baseball fans. More than 55,000 of them came out to see the city's newest darlings, the Phillies, cool off the streaking Pirates in both ends of a doubleheader. The wins enabled Philadelphia, the last-place finisher in 1973, to maintain its three-game lead over St. Louis. Keeping the Phils at the top were Tony Taylor, who has seven pinch hits in his last 10 appearances; Catcher Bob Boone, who threw out three Chicago base runners in two innings; and powerful Mike Schmidt, the Jekyll-and-Hyde character at third base who hit .196 last year. Last week Schmidt had six hits, a home run and eight runs batted in and is now a threat to win the triple crown on the basis of his .315 batting average, 20 home runs and 75 RBIs.
The Cardinals used only seven pitchers in winning four of five games as ex-infielder Bob Forsch recorded two complete game victories. Lou Brock broke loose for six stolen bases in seven attempts, and at his present pace will break Maury Wills' record by one.
Until they ran into the Phillies, the Pirates had scored 10 wins in their last 11 games. And the Bucs had a couple of streaks within their streak. They hit homers in six straight games and Al Oliver has had at least one hit in 22 consecutive contests.
"Every time I see Ron Hunt I see runs...runs usually scored in a dirty uniform," Manager Gene Mauch said after his third baseman's performance in Montreal's only triumph. In the first inning Hunt walked and scored. In the second he singled in a run and scored on a wild pitch. In the fourth he walked again. In the fifth he singled home two more runs. In the eighth Hunt singled yet again, giving him a total of three hits, two runs scored, three RBIs and five times on base in five plate appearances.
For the first time in his career the Mets' Tom Seaver watched the All-Star Game on TV and spent the midseason break playing golf in Connecticut with teammate Duffy Dyer. Seaver and Dyer also played a little catch, and the workout seemed to round the injured Cy Young Award winner into top shape. In his next start Seaver set down St. Louis 3-0 on four hits.
Whitey Lockman retired as Chicago's manager and left handpicked successor Jim Marshall to handle the Cubs on the field. Billy Williams' eighth career grand slam won one game for the new boss, and the Cubs might have compiled a .500 record in Marshall's first week. But five errors by Don Kessinger and Bill Grabarkewitz accounted for all the Cardinals' runs in a 3-2 defeat that put Marshall at 1-3.
PHIL 52-47 ST. L 49-50 PITT 47-52 MONT 46-51 NY 42-54 CHI 42-54
The Dodgers stumbled through their second consecutive losing week, and the ominous sound they heard just behind them was the clank of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine gearing up to overtake L.A., as it did last season. The Reds have won 16 of their most recent 21 games—including three July doubleheaders. If they win the Western title again, the Reds certainly will remember their 14-13 comeback victory over San Francisco in the first game of a doubleheader sweep two days after the All-Star break. The Giants took a 13-9 lead in the top of the ninth, but Cincinnati rallied for five runs in their half of the inning, the last two of them coming on Tony Perez's two-out, two-strike homer. "It was such a circus. I was waiting for them to bring the elephants in after that one," said Pete Rose.
One of the Dodger losses was to Atlanta by the score of 10-0 as Henry Aaron hit his 726th home run. Earlier the Braves were the ones looking like big losers. Vice-President Eddie Robinson fired Manager Eddie Mathews and replaced him with Clyde King. The move put Aaron in an awkward position on the question of whether he would have liked to become the first black manager. "I think I deserved to be asked," he said. "I probably would have turned it down, but out of courtesy they should have asked me." When the matter was pressed further, Aaron changed his mind and said, "I probably would say yes, and maybe that's what they're afraid of." At a news conference King called Aaron "a man of stature" and said he did not expect any problems from him. Then on Friday night Henry got into an argument with the Atlanta Journal's Frank Hyland over the managerial question and smashed the writer in the face with a carton of strawberries.
Houston, 4-16 this year against the Dodgers and Reds, made its billboards that read WE'RE NOT OUT OF IT! look silly after losing a doubleheader to Los Angeles and falling 14 games out of first.
Two of San Francisco's three victories came on shutouts, but Giant pitchers yielded 34 runs in four other games. The Padres won only once, when Willie McCovey clobbered the Mets with two homers.
LA 65-36 CIN 61-41 HOUS 53-48 ATL 52-49 SF 46-56 SD 43-60