It's getting so you can't tell the Johnsons apart without a scorecard. Lamar, Bart, Tom, Dave and Darrell—Johnsons all—had their ups and downs last week. Lamar, who was definitely down six weeks ago, made his patience and power pay off for Chicago (4-2). "Early in the season I was getting flustered," Lamar admitted. "I wasn't getting enough times at bat." So Lamar called his mother in Bessemer, Ala. "I'm sure glad I talked with her," he said. "Mom told me to be patient." After Jim Spencer broke a toe early in June, Lamar was installed at first base and since then has hit .337—bringing his average up to .329. Lamar had four RBIs as the White Sox dumped the Mariners 10-4, a victory that was saved by Bart. In another 10-4 drubbing of Seattle the next day, Lamar slugged his second homer of the week and ninth of the season. Spencer then returned to first base, and in a 13-8 win over Minnesota hit two home runs and had eight RBIs. A pair of Johnsons relieved for the Twins, Tom taking the loss and Dave facing four men and giving up three runs. Lamar? He returned as the Sox DH and added his 10th RBI of the week in that contest. Chicago also beat Minnesota 5-2 behind the pitching of Chris Knapp (7-4) and the slugging of Richie Zisk, who drove in all the Sox' runs with his 18th and 19th homers. Those two wins, witnessed by more than 70,000 fans in Chicago, lifted the White Sox back into the division lead.
Chicago 106 120 002—12-16-2
Minnesota 264 300 22x—19-18-0
That was the linescore as the Twins (3-3) started off the week by bumping the Sox out of first place. Tom was the winner. On hand were 49,963 fans, a record for a regular-season contest in Minnesota. They saw Rod Carew get four hits and drive in six runs and get upstaged by Glenn Adams, who had four hits and eight RBIs. The White Sox have won four of seven games this season from the Twins, have a 58-48 edge in runs and a 16-7 lead in homers. They are tied in Johnsons, 2-2. In their second game of the week, the Twins romped past the Brewers 10-3 as Dave Goltz won for the eighth time. Although Minnesota produced 29 runs in those two games, Larry Hisle did not pad his league-leading RBI total until Saturday, when he drove across two runs to give him 73. As for Adams, he batted .550 and drove in two more runs as Paul Thormodsgard stopped Milwaukee 8-3. Finishing with a flourish, Carew wound up hitting .486 during June.
July 10, 1977
More than a little upset with his team's two losses to the White Sox was Darrell Johnson, the skipper of the Mariners (2-4). What annoyed him most was that during those two games his pitchers walked 14 batters. So Darrell took Tom House out of the bullpen and gave him his second start in six seasons. Darrell savored that 3-1 win in Chicago largely because House did not issue a walk in seven innings before giving way to Enrique Romo, who pitched the last two innings for his fifth save. Pleasing, too, was a 2-1 defeat of Milwaukee in which Glen Abbott and Mike Kekich yielded only six hits and two walks. THIS CLUB NOT FOR SALE read a banner that night. Seattle, which lost its original major league franchise after just one season (1969) because it drew only 677,944 fans, has already drawn 703,355 this year.
Joe Zdeb of Kansas City (5-2) had five hits and four RBIs as the Royals disposed of the Indians 12-2. Paul Splittorff started for the Royals in that game, gave up three hits and a walk to the four men he faced and was replaced by Marty Pattin, who hurled nine innings of three-hit relief. Andy Hassler and Dennis Leonard also pitched admirably. Hassler beat Cleveland 1-0 on a one-hitter (Duane Kuiper singled in the sixth) and Leonard stopped the Angels 3-1. Much of the offense was supplied by Pete LaCock, who hit .588.
Despite being outhit 15-9 by the Royals, the A's were 7-3 winners. Tight pitching and timely hitting carried Oakland (5-3) to four other triumphs. Vida Blue blanked the Angels 2-0 for his 12th straight win in Anaheim. At home against the Angels he is 3-9. Rookie Rick Langford (6-6) held off Texas 4-1. The A's also beat the Rangers 6-5, scoring twice in the last of the ninth on hits by Wayne Gross and Willie Crawford. Reliever Adrian Devine had apparently ended the inning by picking a runner off base after Gross' single, but he had forgotten to step off the rubber, was called for a balk and then gave up Crawford's single.
In Texas the managers tried to keep up with the Johnsons. Eddie Stanky, who replaced Frank Luchessi, had succumbed to instant homesickness and one day later was replaced by Coach Connie Ryan. After four days at the helm, Ryan decided to pass up a chance to finish the season as manager, so Billy Hunter left his Orioles coaching job to become the fourth Ranger boss in eight days. No one was more confused by it all than Dock Ellis, who has played for seven managers this season. Ellis started under Billy Martin in New York, was traded to Oakland, where he pitched for Jack McKeon and Bobby Winkles, and then was dealt to Texas just in time for the farcical managerial shuffling there. Mike Marshall, the longtime reliever who has been converted to a starter by the Rangers (3-5), teamed up with Paul Lindblad to cool off the A's 5-2. Then came word that Marshall had strained a knee ligament and was being put on the disabled list. Unfazed by all the troubles was Gaylord Perry, who beat Oakland 4-0. During his last 25‚Öî innings, Perry (7-6) has given up only 17 hits and two runs, and has struck out 21.
"We're dropping like flies," said California General Manager Harry Dalton. The fallen: Joe Rudi (on the disabled list with a fractured finger), Don Baylor (pulled hamstring), Rance Mulliniks (bruised thigh), Bobby Grich (back trouble that will require surgery and may keep him out for the rest of the season), Gary Nolan (sore shoulder), Dave Chalk, Gil Flores, Mario Guerrero and Gary Ross (assorted minor ailments). Into the breach—chasm?—stepped Centerfielder Thad Bosley. He was rushed up from the minors, arrived just 25 minutes before a game against the Royals and tripled, singled and drove in three runs in a 7-0 win. Three years earlier, when Kansas City Manager Whitey Herzog was a California coach, he called Bosley "the best raw young talent I've ever seen." Nolan Ryan (10-7) won that game, giving up five hits and striking out 12 as he hurled his 13th complete game in 19 starts. Beating Kansas City was nothing new for Ryan, who went into the game with a 16-6 record and 1.84 ERA against the Royals.
CHI 42-32 MINN 42-34 KC 40-35 CAL 36-37 TEX 36-38 OAK 34-41 SEA 35-46
Sure enough, there were also some Johnsons in the East. Cliff Johnson helped New York (4-3) regain first place by becoming the first American Leaguer since 1966 to sock two homers in one inning and the first Yankee since 1973 to hit three in one game. In all, the Yankees had 10 homers, including Fred Stanley's fifth in five seasons, a two-run blast that finished off the Tigers 6-4. The Yankees also rallied past the Red Sox 5-4, sending 55,039 fans home when Paul Blair singled in the bottom of the ninth to chase in the winning run.
Toronto (4-3) twice beat New York, once when Reliever Jerry Johnson saved a 7-6 verdict and then 8-5 before a home gathering of 40,116. Ron Fairly hit four home runs to raise his total to 12. Pete Vuckovich doubled his wins by registering two victories.
Also doubling his victories was Mike Flanagan of Baltimore (4-3) in a game in which Manager Earl Weaver achieved an unofficial "save." After a two-run error in the ninth gave Cleveland an apparent 4-3 win, Weaver got the umpires to change a ruling by pointing out that because the overthrow went into the dugout, only a two-base advance and one run could be allowed. So, 10 minutes after leaving the field, the players returned and the Birds won 5-3 in the 10th.
The Red Sox, who had hit 33 homers in 10 games, came through with only three all week. That, coupled with .218 hitting, was why Boston lost all six of its games.
Jason Thompson of Detroit (5-2) hit four homers, one as Mark Fidrych (6-2) muffled Boston 7-2 before a home crowd of 51,475. Fidrych gave up his first home run in 66 innings that night, and when Manager Ralph Houk came out to talk with him he was lustily booed. "It makes me feel bad to hear them boo him," Fidrych said later, if he was a bad manager do you think I would pitch like this? They should be yeahing him."
Even though Duane Kuiper hit .387 and Paul Dade .438, the Indians lost five of eight. Frank Duffy, a .199 hitter at game time, slugged two homers to help ex-Oriole Wayne Garland defeat his former team, 4-2.
Superb pitching by rookies Moose Haas and Lary Sorensen gave Milwaukee (3-3) a lift. Haas baffled the Mariners 2-1 on four hits, and Sorensen, with ninth-inning relief from Bob McClure and Bill Castro, held off the Twins 1-0. Another narrow victory came when Cecil Cooper stroked a grand slam with two out in the ninth to stun Seattle 8-6.
NY 43-34 BOS 41-33 BALT 41-36 CLEV 36-37 MIL 37-39 DET 35-39 TOR 29-46
"If he didn't know before that baseball is a humbling game, he knows it now," said Cincinnati Manager Sparky Anderson. Humbled was rookie Paul Moskau. In his first start at home, he was tagged for six runs in one-third of an inning by the Dodgers, who won 9-3. Also learning hard lessons was 40-year-old Joe Hoerner, who hit two Giant batters in a row to force in runs and then gave up a grand slam homer to Willie McCovey in a 14-9 loss. But the Reds (6-2) did some humbling of their own, bopping the Giants 11-4, 5-4 and 11-5. Bolstering the Reds were 10 RBIs by Johnny Bench, .417 hitting by Dan Driessen, .393 batting and 11 runs by Joe Morgan and a couple of Norman Conquests. Little Fred Norman (9-3) beat the Dodgers 5-4 and the Padres 2-1.
When McCovey was shown a compilation of his home-run feats, he said, "I'll never hit two in one inning again." The next day he did precisely that in the 14-9 win, making McCovey the first ever to twice hit two homers in one inning. The 17th grand slam of his career (off Hoerner) also set a league mark. A lesser hitter for the Giants (2-5) was Pitcher Ed Halicki, but the one run he drove in was vital as he downed the Astros 2-0.
Robust hitting by Steve Garvey and fine pitching enabled Los Angeles (6-2) to retain its 8½-game lead. Garvey hit .389, drove in 10 runs and swatted six home runs to give him 22 and tie him with Mike Schmidt for the major league lead. Doug Rau (8-1) and Burt Hooton (7-3) won twice.
San Diego (1-5) and Atlanta (3-4) kept on stumbling. Phil Niekro of the Braves, who was 0-7 on May 11, was 7-9 after beating the Padres 8-5 and the Dodgers 5-4. Niekro's brother Joe earned a win and a save for Houston (3-3). Joaquin Andujar (9-4) beat the Padres 5-1 with a five-hitter. And, at long last, Cesar Cedeno got some hits; his .476 week lifted his average to .205.
LA 52-26 CIN 42-33 HOUS 34-44 SF 34-45 SD 32-48 ATL 29-48
Mike Schmidt of Philadelphia (6-1) quit thinking. That gave opposing pitchers something to think about. "It was about a month ago that I decided to stop trying to figure out what the pitcher would throw and just swing at what I see," Schmidt explained. It was also about a month ago that he predicted, "I've got a period coming when I'll be scalding hot." Imposingly true to his word, Schmidt tied Ralph Kiner's 30-year-old league mark by walloping 14 June homers, all after the fifth of the month. (Three American Leaguers have hit 15 in June: Babe Ruth in 1930, Bob Johnson in 1934 and Roger Maris in 1961.) One of Schmidt's pokes helped Jim Kaat stop St. Louis 2-0 for his 250th win and another provided two runs for Steve Carlton (10-4), who beat Pittsburgh 8-1. Schmidt's third homer of the week was instrumental in decking the Pirates 4-3, a game the Phillies might not have won had it not been for Ted Sizemore's sign-stealing ability. After spotting Catcher Duffy Dyer's signal for a changeup in the seventh, Sizemore initiated a double steal, sliding safely into third while Dave Johnson went to second. Larry Bowa followed with a single that drove in Sizemore with the decisive run. Philadelphia also beat Pittsburgh 7-6 by scoring three runs in the bottom of an improbable 14th inning. Schmidt, cogitating for a change, dropped down a bunt single. With two on and none out, Richie Hebner failed to bunt the runners along, so he swung away and hit a game-winning homer. Or so it seemed. After an interminable argument, the umpires decided that Hebner's drive, which hit the top of the fence and bounced back onto the field, was a double. Thus, only one run scored and the Phillies trailed 6-5. Johnson's sacrifice fly tied the score and Sizemore settled matters with a single. Delighted with it all were the 112,630 Phillie fans who showed up for the three games.
Even more fans—113,366—witnessed a three-game sweep of Chicago in St. Louis. They saw the Cardinals (6-2) take the opener 2-1 by scoring in the eighth and ninth, and end the streak of the Cubs' redoubtable reliever, Bruce Sutter, who gave up his first earned run in 14 outings. Larry Dierker and Rawly Eastwick then combined on a five-hitter to stop the Cubs 3-1. The Cardinals took the third game 10-3. Earlier, Third Baseman Ken Reitz declined a chance to sit out the second game of a doubleheader against the Pirates and proved it was a wise decision by hammering two homers and driving in eight runs in a 13-3 romp.
Although Sutter picked up his 19th and 20th saves, the Cubs (3-4) buckled a little at last. They hit only .208 and during their third loss to the Cardinals made seven errors, five in the first inning, which is one short of the league record held by the 1903 Pirates. Such ineptitude cut Chicago's lead over Philadelphia and St. Louis to 5½ games.
Not including the two new expansion teams, major league attendance is up more than 1,200,000 over last season. (With the newcomers added, the increase is 2,700,000.) Nowhere has there been more improvement than in Montreal, where attendance is up 250,000. With 33,422 on hand to cheer them on, the Expos (5-4) took a 6-5, 5-3 twin bill from the Mets to move out of last place. Homers by Tony Perez and Ellis Valentine, his 13th of the season and second inside-the-park shot, helped win the opener. Home runs by Andre Dawson and Chris Speier, plus the relief work of Canadian Bill Atkinson, were largely responsible for the second-game victory. Warren Cromartie's first homer carried the Expos past the Mets 4-3 the next day. At the start of the season, Montreal's three outfielders had a total of 261 days of big league experience: Valentine 152, Cromartie 84 and Dawson 25. "He can be as good as anybody who ever played," Manager Dick Williams said of Valentine, 22, who is hitting .318. Cromartie, 23, batted .438 to raise his average to .304; Centerfielder Dawson, 22, is batting .279.
Aggressive base running by Lee Mazzilli led to a 4-3 New York win in Montreal. Mazzilli stole second base in the seventh and scored the tying run, then stretched a routine single into a double in the ninth and came home with the winning run on Mike Vail's single. But the Mets (2-6) continued to be puzzled by the poor pitching of Lefthander Jon Matlack, who was cuffed around twice, as his record sank to 3-9 and his ERA soared to 4.38.
Willie Stargell's 400th homer was one of 11 fence-clearing drives by the Pirates (2-7). Even more productive were opposing hitters, who slammed a dozen' home runs off Pittsburgh pitchers.
CHI 47-26 PHIL 42-32 ST.L 43-33 PITT 39-36 MONT 33-42 NY 31-45
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ROD CAREW: The one-of-a-kind Twin scored eight runs, drove in 11, hit his 14th triple and sixth homer, stole home for the 16th time in his career, had 12 hits in 21 at bats and raised his average to a remarkable .408.