"Cardinals Welcome Yankee President Gabe Paul," said a scoreboard message in St. Louis. The greeting was nice enough, but it may have been a bit startling to Paul, who was in town on the quiet to discuss trade possibilities. The week was a bummer all around for the Yanks, 1-4, who gave up 27 walks, hit into 11 double plays and made none of their own. The Yankees did beat the Angels 4-3 for Catfish Hunter's third win of the month and the team's third win of the month. Said Roy White, "We've been looking like fools. People have been laughing at us."
Things were no better in Boston, where Manager Darrell Johnson suffered through a 1-5 week and the ignominy of having let the Royals bat out of order throughout one game because he did not get a copy of the official lineup. K.C. won that one 5-2.
In a 4-3 Baltimore week, Jim Palmer won twice, Tommy Davis hit .421 and Bobby Grich belted three homers. Also encouraging was a Jacket Night crowd of 48,042 the largest regular-season attendance in the Orioles' 22 years in Baltimore.
Vern Ruhle picked up Detroit's only two wins in six tries, 5-0 against the Royals and 6-4 over the Rangers.
After being shut out by K.C. and Texas, Milwaukee won three of its next four games. Henry Aaron had just three hits in 21 times up, but two were home runs 737 and 738 and he drove in seven runs.
Rookie Dennis Eckersley, 20, pitched three scoreless innings of relief to preserve a 3-2 win over Minnesota, and was praised by Cleveland Manager Frank Robinson. "He pitches and reacts like a veteran," Robinson said. Three days later Eckersley pitched and reacted like a rookie. Coming in with the bases full of White Sox in the ninth, he gave up a walk and hit a batter and the Tribe lost 3-2.
MIL 19-12 BOS 14-15 DET 14-15 BALT 15-17 CLEV 12-19 NY 12-20
"We always play well with the Russian Navy in the ball park," said K.C. Manager Jack McKeon with a wink after winning 3-0 in Boston while 140 visiting Soviet sailors tried to comprehend what baseball was all about. The shutout was the second of the week by Steve Busby, who earlier had said nyet to the Brewers, 4-0. Hal McRae hit .462, while Harmon Killebrew batted .412 and stole his first base since 1971. In all, it added up to a 6-1 week for the Royals.
Finally getting the range, Billy Williams slammed three homers and Vida Blue brought his record to 8-1 with two wins over New York as Oakland won five in a row.
Shortstop Toby Harrah drove in eight runs and batted .429 for Texas, which split six games. Bill Hands stopped Detroit 10-3 for his fourth straight win. Al one point in that game his mound opponent was Ray Bare, which made the matchup Bare-Hands. The Rangers lost a suspended game to the Brewers 3-2 when Jackie Brown gave up the final run by walking two men, making an error and hitting a batter in the 15th inning.
In the first game of a doubleheader at Baltimore, Bobby Grich hit a home run off the left-field foul pole with two out in the ninth to nip California 1-0. The Angels won the nightcap 3-2 as Tommy Harper crashed two homers, one of which also hit the foul pole. After beating the Yankees, the Angels' Nolan Ryan insisted he was "struggling out there." You should struggle so well. Ryan held them to two hits and beat them 5-0.
Another who made it look easy was the Twins' Rod Carew, who stole second base, went to third on an error and stole home as Pitcher Jim Hughes beat the Indians 3-0. Carew also drove in the winning runs in a 7-6 victory over the Indians and an 8-7 defeat of he Brewers. Larry Hisle's seven RBIs put him atop the league in that department, with 25, as Minnesota forged a 4-3 week.
Chicago, 2-3, was the only club in the division with a losing record, Western teams going 23-13 against the East.
OAK 21-12 TEX 19-15 KC 20-16 CAL 18-18 MINN 15-15 CHI 14-19
Four errors and a 7-3 loss to the Braves in the week's first game sent Phillie Manager Danny Ozark into a rage, during which he tongue-lashed his players for 15 minutes. Facing the press later, Ozark had more to say about his team's slovenly play: "It was a disgrace. It's beyond my apprehension." A few days later, however, Ozark was smiling and Reliever Tug McGraw was exulting, "It's an awesome club." The transformation was brought about by strong pitching, a few clutch hits and the second coming of Dick Allen. The result: six straight wins as the Phillies climbed to second place. Tom Underwood and Steve Carlton both pitched 4-0 wins over the Reds, and the Phils also swept a doubleheader from Cincy with late rallies. Ollie Brown dramatically ended the opener with a three-run pinch homer with two out in the last of the ninth. Then the Phillies out-slugged the Braves 12-8 and 9-8, taking the second game with a three-run ninth climaxed by Dave Cash's RBI single. Reliever Gene Garber tied a major league mark by winning three games in a row. And Philadelphia fans set a record of their own by not booing Allen once on his first day back. In fact, they gave him three standing ovations, the last coming after Allen, in his first at bat since September, stroked a single. Also cheered were Cash, who hit .387 and had four RBIs, and Larry Bowa, who batted .467. It was enough to fill opponents with real apprehension.
In a week of interdivisional play the East held the upper hand 22-13. New York won five in a row as Rusty Staub hit .476 and had eight RBIs. In St. Louis, Red Schoendienst, the Cardinal skipper, said, "The troops have to inspire themselves." Responding, Lou Brock went on a tear in which he batted .423, scored 10 runs and stole six bases, giving him 12 for the year. Most inspiring of all was a 23-hit, 17-2 win over the Giants.
The first 22 Pirates to face Don Sutton of the Dodgers were set down in order. Then the Bucs broke up Sutton's perfect-game attempt with three eighth-inning hits and went on to win 3-2 when Al Oliver bopped a two-run homer in the ninth. The Pirates' other wins in a 3-2 week came against the Padres—2-0 on a three-hitter by Jerry Reuss and 5-4.
The love affair between the Expos and their once ardent followers is on the wane. Attendance is down, booing is up and fans, upset by Expo errors (nine last week) and lopsided losses, have been leaving Jarry Park early. Outfielder Pepe Mangual, a Puerto Rican who speaks neither English nor French, has at least been communicating with his bat. Last week he had two game-winning blows and ran his hitting streak to 13 games.
CHI 20-12 PHIL 19-14 PITT 16-13 NY 15-14 ST.L 14-17 MONT 13-16
With Outfielder Bin Buckner and Reliever Mike Marshall ailing and Shortstop Bill Russell on the disabled list again, this time with an injured knee, Los Angeles seemed vulnerable. But the Dodgers were 4-2 and widened their lead to 5½ games. They toppled the Cardinals 6-4 in 10 innings when Tom Paciorek, filling in for Buckner, drove across the go-ahead run and substitute Shortstop Rick Auerbach punched home two more. The victory went to Jim Brewer, who pitched four innings in his longest relief job in four years. Despite a touch of the flu, Don Sutton beat the Pirates 7-0, and former Cub Burt Hooton got his first win, a 5-0 two-hitter against the Cardinals. Andy Messersmith recovered from the same bug that had bitten Sutton to hold off the Pirates 4-3 in 10 innings with the support of a three-run homer by Lee Lacy and a game-winning hit by Joe Ferguson. For Lacy it was his first-ever major league home run in 188 games and 538 at bats.
San Diego, 3-2, was the only other West team with a winning record. Dave Freisleben beat the Cubs 2-1 and 4-1, the latter win coming on Helmet Night before the largest crowd in Padre history, 49,599.
Houston dug itself deeper into the cellar by losing four of six games. Most galling of the setbacks was a 2-1 loss to the Cubs in which the Astros gave away the deciding run on a single, a walk, a wild pitch and a passed ball. James Rodney Richard, a 6'8", 220-pound righthander, has always had a world of stuff, but little control. In a 4-2 defeat by the Cubs he walked eight men, bringing his season total to 47 bases on balls in 49 innings.
The Reds dropped six games in a row—their longest losing streak since 1971—in which they hit .212, had just one homer and were shut out for 18 consecutive innings by lefthanders. Cincinnati salvaged a 5-3 win in Montreal on 10th-inning home runs by Ken Griffey and Johnny Bench.
Despite four homers and .615 hitting by Vic Correll plus two homers and seven RBIs by Earl Williams, Atlanta was 2-4. San Francisco, 1-4, snapped a six-game losing string with a 4-3 win when the Cardinals committed a 10th-inning error.
LA 24-13 CIN 19-19 SD 17-18 ATL 18-20 SF 15-19 HOUS 12-27