Detroit's Joe Coleman did his best to disprove one proverb—"Haste makes waste"—and Tom Walker attempted to substantiate another, Samuel Johnson's "Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings." Coleman abandoned his lethargic, head-down walks between the mound and dugout in favor of trotting back and forth. He also shucked his slow-motion pitching delivery for a speedier one. A 12-time loser who had dropped seven in a row at his old pace, Coleman won his second straight since hurrying up when he rushed past the White Sox 3-0. Walker changed after being scolded by his wife Carolyn for having "no confidence." "She was completely right," he says. "I decided the next time to walk out there confident but not cocky." Thus emboldened, he polished off Chicago 2-1. Mickey Lolich picked up his 10th victory, John Hiller his 10th and 11th saves and Lerrin LaGrow defeated Milwaukee 11-2 and K.C. 2-0. With that kind of pitching and the hitting of Willie Horton (.484) and Ron LeFlore (.412), the slumbering Tigers (7-1) arose. Six straight wins increased their streak to nine and boosted them for one day into a tie for fifth place.
Cleveland (3-4) won its last two games to regain sole possession of fifth place. Boog Powell upped his home run total to 15 with three blasts, one coming before the majors' largest crowd of the season (59,161) as the Tribe rallied from five runs down to defeat the Red Sox 11-10.
Boston (7-1) pitchers continued to be bombarded and gave up 49 runs. But Sox sluggers more than made up for that as they produced 65 runs and hit .314. Not even a 7-1 deficit against the Twins was too much for them to overcome. They took that game 9-8 with Cecil Cooper hitting a pinch homer in the ninth and Jim Rice driving in the winning run with a double. There were decisive hits in the ninth inning of two other games, Cooper getting one in an 8-7 victory over Texas and Fred Lynn delivering the other to upend Minnesota 6-5. Although he had just 18 at bats, Lynn had nine RBIs to go with his .556 hitting. Rice added 10 RBIs and Bernie Carbo had seven and scored eight times. Bob Heise, filling in at third base while Rico Petrocelli underwent eye tests, hit .370 and drove in seven runs. Bill Lee and Rick Wise both won their 10th games and Luis Tiant his 12th.
July 20, 1975
Despite some unusual hitting by Al Bumbry and Mark Belanger, Baltimore (3-3) lost ground. Bumbry beat out three bunts in a 7-3 victory at California. Ken Singleton, who is hitting .360 on the road and .228 at home, led off that game with a homer, the first given up by the Angels in 64‚Öî innings. Belanger, who had had only seven RBIs all season, drove in two runs in an earlier 8-5 defeat of California, then socked his first home run of the year as Mike Torrez stifled the A's 4-0 with a four-hitter.
Jim Slaton of Milwaukee beat Kansas City 4-3 and Chicago 5-4, each time receiving three innings of scoreless relief from Eduardo Rodriguez. That helped the Brewers (3-4) hold off the Yankees (4-3) and retain second place. Catfish Hunter won his 12th game for New York and Bobby Bonds hit his 20th home run.
BOS 49-37 MIL 46-41 NY 45-41 BALT 41-43 CLEV 39-46 DET 38-47
California (2-4) Manager Dick Williams, concerned that his outfielders were not getting a good jump on fly balls, had TV cameras placed beyond the fences to record their moves. It seemed like a good idea, especially after Mickey Rivers and Dave Collins collided while chasing a fly and let it roll away for a two-run inside-the-park homer that led to a 5-3 loss to Cleveland. Following the game Williams anxiously waited to see the tape so he could figure out what went wrong. Then came the news: the cameraman had missed the play. But another miss turned out just fine. It came when rookie John Balaz did not see a "take" sign, swung away and doubled in two runs. "At least he was eager," Williams said. Williams himself was eager about getting Nolan Ryan back in rotation after a groin pull. But his enthusiasm undoubtedly waned when Ryan, 10-3 in early June, was pounded for 17 runs in 17‚Öì innings and lost twice. His record is now 10-9.
Kansas City had better luck with its video system. Dennis Leonard, a rookie righthander, watched himself on tape and "discovered I was keeping my left shoulder up and my right shoulder down. It should be the reverse. I was pitching with my arm instead of my whole body." Pitching as he should, Leonard dispatched the Brewers 9-1. But even with George Brett hitting .414 the Royals lost five of seven.
Oakland (4-2) was the only Western team with a winning record. Jim Perry won twice, Ken Holtzman earned his 10th victory and Dick Bosman stopped the Indians for the third time in the seven weeks since they traded him. With a 7½-game bulge over the Royals, about the only worry the A's had was Claudell Washington, who underwent medical examinations after mysteriously passing out twice. Although tests indicated Washington may have a heart disorder, he was back in uniform the next day.
Minnesota (2-6) lost its first five games, sagged briefly into the cellar, then climbed out by bouncing the Yankees 6-3 and 11-1.
With the Rangers 14½ games back, Owner Brad Corbett talked about going "with the kids." But Manager Billy Martin insisted, "I've never been a quitter and I'm not about to start now." Despite nine homers and shutouts by Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry, Texas dropped five of eight games.
Because of the excessive heat in Kansas City, Shortstop Bucky Dent of Chicago poured ice water over his feet between innings of a 9-3 win. For most of the week, the rest of the White Sox played as if they were all wet. Their only victories in six tries were registered by Claude Osteen, who won his third and fourth consecutive games since Pitching Coach Johnny Sain taught him to throw a quicker curve.
OAK 54-32 KC 47-40 CHI 39-45 TEX 41-48 MINN 39-48 CAL 40-50
For the most part it was all quiet on the Western front. Except in Cincinnati. Booming home runs (three by Tony Perez, one a 420-footer) and crackling line drives (the Reds hit .307) pushed Cincy 11½ lengths ahead of the Dodgers. The bullpen was superb: in 23‚Öì innings Reds relievers yielded just 13 hits and three runs as they saved five games and won two. Will McEnaney notched his ninth and 10th saves and stretched his string of innings without allowing an earned run to 22. While the Reds (7-0) ran their latest victory streak to nine, Manager Sparky Anderson said, "There's no way we can lose this thing. We can only give it away."
In L.A. the silence was almost funereal. The Dodgers (3-3) insisted they were not out of the race because most of their injured players were healed. Doug Rau defeated the Giants 5-1 with a three-hitter and Don Sutton cooled off the Pirates 3-0 for his 13th victory. But then came more casualties: recently reactivated Leftfielder Bill Buckner hurt his good leg, Catcher Steve Yeager bruised his back and Second Baseman Dave Lopes strained a muscle.
Nor was there much to shout about in San Diego (2-5) and San Francisco (1-5). Fred Kendall of the Padres was averaging. 187 and had been 1 for 19 when he evoked a few cheers with a two-run single in the 15th to defeat the Cubs 8-6. The Giants' only win was 6-4 over the Cardinals.
General Manager Spec Richardson was fired after eight years in office, even though the Astros had a rare winning week. They came from two runs down to beat the Braves 6-2 and made up three runs against the Expos to win their second extra-inning game of the year 4-3 as Cesar Cedeno drove in the winning run in the 10th. Wilbur Howard got a firm hold on the starting job in left field by continuing his fine fielding and hot hitting. He has averaged .373 the past month.
In Atlanta the bench jockeys were quiet as Carl Morton of the Braves defeated the Expos 9-4 for his 10th victory. Morton said he no longer gets a big kick out of subduing his former Expo teammates because Montreal Manager Gene Mauch and Coach Dave Bristol no longer shout insults at him while he is on the mound. "They found out it didn't work," says Morton. It certainly did not. Morton is 7-1 against the Expos in the three seasons since they traded him. Reliever Tom House picked up a win with a minimum of effort. House, who hurled only one-third of an inning, came out on top when a 10th-inning single by Earl Williams finished off the Expos 2-1.
CIN 60-29 LA 49-41 SF 40-47 SD 40-49 ATL 38-49 HOUS 32-59
"A groove like this is something you dream about," said Greg Luzinski of the Phillies (3-3). During the past four weeks he has hit 13 home runs and had 35 RBIs to lead the majors in both categories (25 and 78). Last week he batted .522, hit three homers and drove in 10 runs. Two of his homers came in games at Houston to help Larry Christenson and Steve Carlton muffle the Astros 2-1 and 14-2 on a five-hitter and four-hitter.
The Pirates were also in a groove. Leading the assault, which included an 18-12 clobbering of the Cubs, were Willie Stargell (.500, 12 RBIs, 10 runs, four HRs), Manny Sanguillen (.429), Dave Parker (.412) and Al Oliver (.361). Jerry Reuss won his 10th game, rookie John Candelaria beat San Diego 5-0 and the bullpen had five saves. Pitcher Bob Moose was put on the disabled list after slamming a door on his thumb. No sweat. The Pirates virtually slammed the door on the rest of the division, winning seven of eight and taking a 6½-game lead over the Phillies.
New York swept three games in Atlanta but lost in its four other tries. Strong pitching by Hank Webb, Jerry Koosman and Tom Seaver, plus a pair of homers by both Dave Kingman and Rusty Staub, made winners of the Mets. Montreal dropped five of seven, including one game in which six errors handed Atlanta a 2-1 win. Chicago lost its first four games and won its final three. Ray Burris defeated the Padres 3-1 with the help of Rick Monday's game-saving catch in the ninth.
Cardinal fans were so irate after Dodger Manager Walt Alston did not name reliever Al Hrabosky to his All-Star squad that 32,000 of them showed up for an impromptu Hrabosky Hbanner Hday. Fittingly, Hrabosky pitched two hitless innings that afternoon and was credited with the win. That left him with a 4-2 record, 14 saves and a 1.84 ERA. "This has been the greatest day of my life," Hrabosky said after Reggie Smith had tied the game 1-1 with a homer in the ninth and Bake McBride won it with a pinch hit in the 10th. St. Louis (3-3) got a shutout from John Denny and .550 hitting from Ted Simmons, but Bob Gibson (2-8, 5.12 ERA) was relegated to the bullpen after being hit hard again.
PITT 55-32 PHIL 49-39 NY 43-41 ST. L 41-44 CHI 42-47 MONT 35-47