Playing as if they had taken a miracle cure, a passel of aching, ailing or aging major-leaguers joined Ferguson Jenkins of Texas in demonstrating their revitalization. No one waited as long between victories as David Clyde of Cleveland (3-4). It was in 1973 that Clyde came out of high school to make a spectacular debut for Texas. But his fortunes nosedived thereafter. After repeatedly being cuffed around, being sent to the minors, undergoing shoulder surgery and being traded, Clyde returned to the majors with the Indians. Clyde's first triumph in four years and one day was a four-hit 3-2 verdict over Oakland in which he struck out eight and did not allow a ball out of the infield for six innings. Sid Monge, who had pitched just five innings all season, gave up one hit in 6‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of relief to defeat New York 5-4.
Helping Detroit (5-2) to return to first place were Pitchers Bob Sykes, John Hiller, Jack Billingham and Jim Slaton, and Catcher Milt May. Sykes, who started the season in the minors, boosted his record to 3-0 by whitewashing Oakland 15-0 with his second straight four-hitter and by beating Boston 7-5. Locking up that win was Hiller. 8-14 last year, who yielded only one run in 9⅖ innings of relief as he earned his third and fourth saves. Hiller's other save wrapped up a 5-3 victory in Milwaukee for Billingham (4-1), who was 10-10 with Cincinnati last season. Also running his record to 4-1 was Slaton, a 14-game loser with Milwaukee in 1977, who stopped Seattle on five hits. May (.249, 12 home runs, 46 RBIs last season) swatted three homers, drove in seven runs and boosted his average to .338. Adding to the assault—the Tigers batted .338 and slugged 13 homers—was Jason Thompson, who hit three round-trippers and had eight RBIs.
Two sore-armed players enabled Boston (3-2) to stay within percentage points of Detroit. Bill Campbell, pitching for the first time since April 30, tossed three innings of scoreless relief as the Red Sox overhauled the Tigers 6-5. Providing the game-winning hit in that game was Butch Hobson, who got a cortisone shot for his ailing arm.
May 28, 1978
Giving New York (4-3) a lift was seldom-used Ken Holtzman, who beat Chicago 8-3 for his first victory. After being benched for lackadaisical play, Centerfielder Mickey Rivers was forced back into action when Roy White pulled a hamstring. Rivers' seventh-inning triple drove in the go-ahead run as the Yankees bushwhacked the Indians 5-3. Keeping the offense churning were Chris Chambliss, who hit .393 and had 12 RBIs, and Lou Piniella, who batted .423, drove in nine runs and elevated his average to .365.
Having shelved plans for a pro golf career, Shortstop Robin Yount returned to the Milwaukee (5-3) lineup and hit .409.
Baltimore (3-3) averted a drop into the cellar by keeping Toronto there with a 5-3 decision in which Doug DeCinces slammed two home runs. Jim Palmer, winless in four previous outings, stopped Cleveland 2-1 with relief help from Dan Stanhouse, who notched his seventh save. Stanhouse earlier saved a 3-2 win in Texas by working out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the ninth.
Assorted comebacks gave Toronto (3-2) its second straight winning week. A nine-run seventh, the biggest-ever inning for the Blue Jays, turned a 6-1 deficit into a 10-6 win over the Angels. Toronto again rallied past California 5-4 on Dave McKay's RBI triple and Otto Velez' eighth-inning double. Dave Lemanczyk, who was 0-7, struggled to his first win as the Blue Jays outlasted the Yankees 10-8.
DET 22-11 BOS 24-13 NY 21-14 CLEV 17-18 MIL 17-19 BALT 15-20 TOR 14-21
It was difficult top the comeback of reliever Mike Marshall, who got a contract with Minnesota (4-2) only because the Twins players fussed and fumed when owner Calvin Griffith at first refused to sign him. Marshall, who had been at home in Michigan since being cut by the Rangers last June, quickly got two saves and a win as he yielded only one hit in 5⅖ innings. His win came when Willie Norwood blasted a three-run homer to beat Baltimore 9-6. Dave Goltz, a 20-game winner last season, finally picked up his first victory, stopping Baltimore 8-1. The Twins, who hit only 12 home runs in their first 32 games, walloped 10 last week. On top of that, Rod Carew batted .500 and Butch Wynegar .444.
Joe Coleman, who won four games in 1977, and Elias Sosa, who had just one save last season, teamed up as first-place Oakland (2-5) nipped Cleveland 3-2. The victory went to Coleman, making him 3-0, while Sosa chalked up his sixth save.
California (3-4) moved to within 1½ games of Oakland as Frank Tanana won twice and Don Baylor grand-slammed Chicago into submission 9-5. Relying on off-speed pitches, because the shoulder that bothered him last year is still not sound, Tanana (7-1) defeated Cleveland 4-3 and Milwaukee 7-1.
Emerging from a .216 slump was rookie Clint Hurdle of Kansas City (3-3). Hurdle had five doubles and six RBIs and hit .381. Another rookie, Rich Gale, improved his record to 4-0 as he throttled Boston 3-1 on two singles and, with relief help from Al Hrabosky, beat Minnesota 6-3. Amos Otis batted .474 and polished off the Yankees 10-9 with a ninth-inning double. Dennis Leonard, though, lost for the sixth time in his last seven starts as he continued to give up home runs. At his pace, Leonard, who has been tagged for 13 homers, will yield 60, far surpassing Robin Roberts' major league mark of 46.
Bobby Bonds, who had homered only twice for Chicago, was traded to Texas (4-4) for, essentially, Claudell Washington. Making himself right at home. Bonds promptly hit two homers for the Rangers. Three Rangers recorded seasonal firsts during a 4-2 win in Seattle: Doc Medich (a win), Paul Lindblad (a save) and Juan Beniquez (a homer). For the week, Beniquez drove in eight runs, and Jim Sundberg batted .394 and stretched his hitting streak to 20 games.
Washington, upset about being traded, did not join the White Sox (2-5) for four days. When he arrived, Washington said, "I overslept." Wide awake were Jorge Orta, who drove in three runs as Chicago trimmed California 9-6, and Eric Soderholm, who had three RBIs in a 6-2 win in Oakland.
Leon Roberts of Seattle (2-3) missed a squeeze-bunt sign, swung away and singled across the decisive run in the last of the ninth to down Texas 6-5. Centerfielder Ruppert Jones tied a major league record with 12 putouts in one game, four on dazzling catches. One ball Jones could not catch was a homer to rightfield by Lance Parrish in the 16th inning that gave the Tigers a 4-2 win.
OAK 23-14 CAL 21-15 KC 19-16 TEX 18-17 MINN 14-24 SEA 14-26 CHI 11-22
Several National Leaguers have also suddenly perked up. Tim McCarver, Dave Johnson, Jay Johnstone and Jerry Martin of Philadelphia (3-4), who had a total of 20 hits all season, came through with 15 last week. McCarver had six hits in nine at bats, four as the Phillies dumped the Mets 9-4. Johnson broke a 4-4 tie in that game with a two-run pinch single in the 11th. In his first game while subbing for slumping Greg Luzinski, Johnstone banged out four hits, and the Phillies beat the Astros 8-5 as Martin walloped a three-run pinch homer in the ninth.
Chicago (3-2) moved into second place, thanks largely to Dave Kingman's offensive surge. Kingman, who started the week with a .221 average, four homers and 10 RBIs, batted .368, hit five home runs and drove in 13 runs. He wrecked the Dodgers 10-7 with eight RBIs, the final three in the 15th inning with his third four-bagger of the game.
Another awakening slugger was Willie Stargell of Pittsburgh (3-3), who began the week with two homers, eight RBIs and a .194 average. Displaying his oldtime muscle, Stargell drilled four homers, had nine RBIs and hit .350. While Bert Blyleven was muzzling the Expos 6-0 on three hits, Stargell unloaded two homers, one a prodigious drive of some 570 feet. Rookie Don Robinson (4-1) beat the Padres 1-0 on a four-hitter and the Expos 5-3. In 58 innings the 20-year-old righthander has struck out 35 and walked only nine.
It was not the fault of Montreal (1-5) relievers that the team sagged; they ran their string of runless innings to 31 with 26 zeroes last week. At fault were the Expo starters, who were tagged for eight homers, and the batters, who hit .216. Montreal's Warren Cromartie and Ellis Valentine each cut down runners at the plate, and Cromartie and Andre Dawson threw out runners at second and third, giving the Expo outfielders four assists and 18 for the season; last season they combined for 28 assists all told. The Expos' sole win came on a wild pitch in the 11th by Cincinnati's Dale Murray, which put Montreal on top 5-4.
Three days later, Murray, who had been traded to the Mets (3-2) for Outfielder Ken Henderson, unleashed another wild pitch in a 9-4 loss to the Phillies. Lenny Randle, mired in a .183 slump, batted .500. With Randle scoring five times, the Mets toppled the Braves 8-7. By scoring four runs off Phillie reliever Tug McGraw, their first against their former teammate since May 1976, the Mets won 4-3.
Hoping to bring the Cardinals (0-7) luck, Pitchers Eric Rasmussen and Pete Vuckovich shaved off their beards. It was to no avail. The Cardinals ran their winless streak to nine and fell into last place. The principal offender was reliever Mark Littell, who lost both ends of a doubleheader in San Francisco for his second and third losses in two days.
PHIL 19-15 CHI 18-17 MONT 18-18 PITT 16-19 NY 17-22 ST.L 14-24
Manager Sparky Anderson had two major concerns as the week began: Tom Seaver's 1-4 record and 5.79 ERA, and the inability of his Reds (4-2) to hit with men in scoring position. Seaver, Ken Griffey and George Foster quickly removed the furrows from Sparky's brow. Using "more curves, more sliders," Seaver returned to form with a 5-1, 13-strikeout effort in Montreal. Griffey batted .444, and Foster hit .435 and had 10 RBIs and three game-winning hits. Doug Bair, who has given up only one earned run in 25⅖ innings of relief, got his fifth save.
Putting his own mind at ease was Tommy John of Los Angeles (4-2). Ten days after the Pirates stole eight bases on him, John stifled the Bucs 10-1 on four hits, did not allow a theft and picked a runner off first. Reggie Smith, with both legs and one Achilles tendon taped, batted .393. With the Dodger Stadium message board flashing REGGIE! REGGIEI REGGIE!, Smith doubled in the ninth to knock off Pittsburgh 7-6. Lee Lacy set a major league record with his third straight pinch homer. To solidify their outfield, the Dodgers dealt Glenn Burke to the A's for Bill North.
An even bigger trade, or trades, may be made by the Padres (3-3), who placed high-salaried Oscar Gamble, George Hendrick and Gene Tenace on waivers to see who might make a deal. Rookie Ozzie Smith continued to make so many scintillating plays in the field that Reds scout Ray Shore labeled him the finest shortstop he has ever seen.
Houston (5-1) climbed above .500 for the first time. Floyd Bannister hurled 2⅖ innings of scoreless relief as the Astros beat the Phillies 6-1 and blanked the Braves 6-0. Jose Cruz equaled a club mark with six RBIs as Houston swamped Atlanta 13-0.
Atlanta (2-4) salvaged a pair of 2-1 victories. Dick Ruthven held off the Expos, and Phil Niekro limited the Mets to four hits.
SF 23-13 CIN 23-15 LA 22-15 HOUS 18-17 SD 16-20 ATL 13-22
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
J. R. RICHARD: Back-to-back shutouts were hurled by the 6'8" Houston righthander, who struck out 17 batters and allowed only six singles while blanking Philadelphia 5-0 on two hits and then Atlanta 13-0 on four hits.