Dismayed by the White Sox' abysmal pitching, a Chicago fan placed a classified ad in the Tribune for "Baseball Pitchers, Lefties or Righties. Excellent career opportunities.... Mail your rèsumè in confidence." Among the more than 100 respondents were "Leftee Go Mezz," who wrote, "U can have my servicezz for nuthingg.... I'd hurl for your team for the gloree and the t.v. commurshils I'd surelee gett." Perhaps spurred on by club president Bill Veeck's promise to give all applicants a tryout, the White Sox (5-2) suddenly got outstanding pitching. Steve Stone's three-hitter and two RBIs by Bill Nahorodny took care of Cleveland 2-0. Francisco Barrios defeated the Indians 3-0, and Ken Kravec struck out 12 as he beat the Twins 8-3. Climbing to fifth, the Sox extended their victory string to five games—and to 12 of 13—with Wilbur Wood and Jim Willoughby holding off Minnesota 2-1. Nahorodny and Garr doubled in the two runs. And Ron Schueler allowed only one run in six innings of relief as he beat Texas 4-3.
Oakland (4-4) proved it could slug it out with the best. The A's hit two homers as they beat the Yankees 6-4, cracked six doubles as they outlasted the Red Sox 9-7, and decked Boston again 7-1. Oakland also finessed California 1-0 behind the pitching of Matt Keough. Bob Lacey and Elias Sosa. Keough, 22, whose father Marty and uncle Joe were major-leaguers, squared his record at 4-4 and trimmed his ERA to 2.04, third best in the league for a starter. For Jose Ynocencio Sosa, 25, who is a first cousin of the Alou brothers, the save was his third of the week and ninth of the season for the division-leading A's.
Texas (5-1) leaped from fourth place to second as Dock Ellis won twice, Ferguson Jenkins beat Kansas City 2-1, and Bobby Bonds homered twice. After being obtained last fall from the Mets, where he had received little offensive support, Pitcher Jon Matlack was guaranteed by Ranger owner Brad Corbett that he would get five runs a game. "I should have gotten it in writing," said Mat-lack (5-6), who has been backed with three or fewer runs in nine of his first 12 starts.
June 18, 1978
After battering Chicago 13-2, Kansas City's hitters also provided its pitchers with scant support as the Royals (2-4) dropped four straight one-run games. Darrell Porter heeded the advice of Manager Whitey Herzog, who said that he found a smaller bat effective when he had faced knuckleballers during his playing days. Using a club two ounces lighter and 2¼ inches shorter than he normally swings, Porter had five hits against Chicago's Wood during the 13-2 romp.
Two more one-run setbacks left Minnesota (0-5) with a 4-12 record in close encounters.
Ron Jackson of California (4-3) was second in the majors in batting—to Rod Carew's .358—with a .356 average. His most important hit of the week was a 12th-inning single that knocked off New York 4-3. Jackson was also one of four Angels to homer during a 10-7 win in Oakland, his three-run blast in the eighth tying the score at 7-7. Don Baylor, who is second in the league in home runs with 15, settled that contest with a three-run drive in the ninth. Frank Tanana's streak of scoreless innings against Boston in Anaheim was ended at 42‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬®, but Dave LaRoche notched his seventh save and preserved Tanana's ninth victory. Lyman Bostock, batting .344 in his last 33 games, lifted his average to .271. As recently as May 2, it had been . 152.
Shortstop Craig Reynolds of Seattle (2-4) set a club record by extending his hitting streak to 16 games.
OAK 32-25 TEX 29-25 KC 28-25 CAL 29-27 CHI 24-30 MINN 21-34 SEA 19-40
Superb pitching by Jim Palmer and Mike Flanagan (both 8-4) helped Baltimore (5-0) run its victory streak to nine games and to move to within 6½ games of Boston. Palmer's 1-0 three-hitter in Oakland was his fifth shutout of the season and his third by that score. A two-out single in the ninth by Ken Singleton and a double by Lee May produced the game's only run. In his last five starts, Palmer has yielded only one run. Flanagan beat Seattle 4-1 as Singleton had four RBIs, and then downed Oakland 5-3. Eddie Murray, who batted .421, broke up a tie with California by homering in the 10th, and the Birds won 6-2.
Both Boston (2-3) and New York (2-4) stumbled on the West Coast. Luis Tiant (5-0) of the Red Sox won 3-2 in Seattle and Mike Torrez (9-2) breezed past the Mariners 13-1. Despite 10 homers, the Yankees fell five games back. Four of those home runs made it easy for Ron Guidry (9-0) to defeat Seattle 9-1. Thurman Munson, who had been 0 for 35 against California's Frank Tanana, took him downtown to break that slump, but the Yanks needed a two-run single in the ninth by Bucky Dent to win 3-1.
A thunderous offense enabled Milwaukee (5-1) to regain fifth place from Cleveland with a 12-7, 9-4 doubleheader sweep of the Indians. Paul Molitor had 10 hits in 17 at bats (.588) and stole three bases. But Cecil Cooper, who was batting .313, was lost for about three weeks with a cracked bone in his right leg. Bill Travers (3-2), who did not pitch until May 15 because of elbow surgery, beat Cleveland 9-4 and Toronto 5-0.
Rusty Staub's five RBIs put him second in the league with 39 as Detroit (3-2) barely clung to third.
Johnny Grubb hit one of only three homers for Cleveland (2-4), a two-run shot that helped Rick Wise hold off the Twins 4-3. Reliever Jim Kern saved that game and also a 7-3 win over Minnesota for David Clyde who is now 4-0.
Bases on balls continued to haunt Toronto (0-3). Fourteen walks last week raised the Blue Jay pitchers' total to 226 in 53 games.
BOS 38-19 NY 32-23 DET 30-24 BALT 31-25 MIL 28-26 CLEV 25-28 TOR 19-34
We don't have a Big Red Machine and we don't have blue blood in our veins, but we have an orange skateboard in our dugout and what we gotta do is get it on the sidewalk, headed downhill," said San Francisco's Vida Blue. Presumably, downhill meant up to first place, which is where Blue kept the Giants (2-4) with a 2-1 win in New York. That victory left San Francisco eight percentage points ahead of Cincinnati and, Blue hoped, ended the team's traditional June Swoon. The Giants played nothing but one-run games, in which they have a 17-11 record this season.
While California voters backed Proposition 13 to lower property taxes, the Dodgers (2-5) decreased their own value by blowing leads and dropping five games behind. Adding to their miseries was a shoulder injury that sidelined Reggie Smith. After the Dodgers lost for the 22nd time in 37 games, Dusty Baker made them 5-4 winners with a two-run bloop double in the ninth in Montreal.
Four of the league's top five RBI men are in the West. Leading them all is George Foster of Cincinnati (3-4), who has 46. Joe Morgan, who drove in five runs, is fifth with 39. Ken Griffey's .387 hitting moved him to the top of the league with a .333 average. Tom Seaver (7-4) won twice. And Bill Bonham (7-0) stopped Chicago 9-6 with the aid of a single, a double and two RBIs of his own.
Rollie Fingers of San Diego (2-4) rapped out a run-producing single in a 10-8 win in Chicago as he picked up his 14th save and locked up Gaylord Perry's 251st victory. The Padres' big gun that day was Dave Winfield, who had six RBIs. Earlier Fingers preserved a 5-2 triumph for Perry in New York.
J. R. Richard of Houston (3-2) did just about everything when he faced St. Louis: allowed only five hits, walked just two, struck out 13, singled twice and scored a run. However, his teammates' fielding lapses led to a 4-2 loss. Next time out, Richard fanned 12 Cardinals—he leads the league with 111 strikeouts in 94 innings—and won 11-7 as Jose Cruz had five RBIs.
The Braves (2-5) found the secret to winning—hitting grand slams. Dale Murphy's wallop in the ninth beat Pittsburgh 8-4, and Biff Pocoroba's slam helped Phil Niekro defeat St. Louis 6-0.
SF 33-21 CIN 35-23 LA 29-27 HOUS 24-29 SD 24-31 ATL 20-34
"My wife kidded me 'You're not hitting your weight,' " said Philadelphia's Greg Luzinski, who was batting .229 and weighing in at 233 pounds. Luzinski helped move the Phillies (6-0) into first place, slamming his 11th and 12th homers to beat the Braves 6-1 and jolting the Giants 7-6 with a two-out, two-run single in the ninth. In all, the Bull had 10 RBIs as he brought his average up to .240. With San Francisco ahead by a run in the eighth, Jim Morrison was surprised to see Manager Danny Ozark take off the bunt sign. Morrison, a .172 batter, homered on the next pitch. That made Ozark look smart. So did a pinch homer by the next batter, Bob Boone, which sewed up a 4-3 win. Ozark kept making the right moves two nights later as the Giants fell 5-4 when Jose Cardenal delivered a pinch single in the ninth. Ozark chuckled as he explained that he had sent up Cardenal rather than .297 hitter Jerry Martin, because Jose "is a better high-ball hitter." What made his statement laughable was that Cardenal's hit came on a low pitch. An all-out conditioning program by 39-year-old Jim Kaat (3-0) continued to pay off as he used his pepped-up fastball to win twice and lower his ERA to 2.62.
Although he had only six hits, Dave Kingman of Chicago (5-2) made them count, clouting four homers and driving in 10 runs. Kingman, who took over the league lead in home runs with 14, unloaded a two-run shot and made a pair of sparkling catches in left-field as Dennis Lamp beat San Diego 5-0 on a one-hitter. The second-place Cubs tried to bolster their pitching by reacquiring Ken Holtzman from the Yankees for a minor league player to be named later.
With No. 7 batter Andre Dawson and No. 8 Larry Parrish accounting for 25 of the Expos' 36 runs, Montreal (5-2) remained close to the division lead. Dawson slugged a three-run homer and Steve Rogers (7-5) tossed the third one-hitter of his career to beat the Dodgers 4-1. Montreal then overcame a 5-0 Los Angeles lead, winning 10-9 as Parrish connected for a bases-loaded home run. Ross Grimsley defeated San Diego 8-3 to become the majors' first 10-game winner. With the Expos leading the Padres 2-0 in the sixth, the lights went out in the world's most expensive ball park, Montreal's Olympic Stadium. During the 69-minute wait before the game was suspended, the players cavorted in the glow of auxiliary lights. They conducted a throwing contest and a phantom infield drill; Ozzie Smith of the Padres did a cartwheel and a backflip; admitted-spitballer Gaylord Perry of San Diego lugged a bucket of water to the mound; and Dawson won a 100-foot race against Derrel Thomas of the visitors. The next day the game was concluded with the Expos coming out on top 4-0.
For the Mets (3-3), their 13th win in 26 one-run decisions was their grandest yet as they stunned the Dodgers, who had led 8-2 in the fourth. Los Angeles came within one strike of winning 8-6, but John Stearns walked on a 3-2 delivery. Next up against Terry Forster, the Dodgers' best reliever, was Tim Foli, who had a .182 average. Foli ended his 0-for-13 slump with a game-tying double. And then Shortstop Bill Russell threw wildly past first on what should have been an inning-ending grounder, allowing Foli to score. The only Eastern player among the league's top five RBI producers is Willie Montanez of New York, who has driven across 40 runs. Seven of them came in last week as he hit .435. His RBI single during a two-run eighth finished off the Giants 3-2.
Hitting with the vigor that used to be their trademark, the Pirates (3-2) battled back from an 8-1 deficit against the Reds for an 11-9 victory. Bill Robinson, who hit .450, had three doubles that day and two more during a 4-1 conquest of Cincinnati.
When it came to doubles, the major league leader was, surprisingly, Ted Simmons of St. Louis (3-4), whose two last week raised his total to 21. What is so unusual about that? After all, the Cardinals have won more doubles titles (25) than any other team. Stan Musial of the Redbirds led the league a record-tying eight times, Rogers Hornsby four, and Joe Medwick three. What is unique about Simmons is that he is a catcher, and no backstop has ever led either league in two-base hits. Furthermore, Simmons is fourth in the league with a .323 average. Only two catchers have ever led the league in hitting—Ernie Lombardi in 1938 (.342) and 1942 (.330), and Eugene (Bubbles) Hargrave in 1926 (.353).
PHIL 30-21 CHI 31-22 MONT 31-25 NY 27-31 PITT 24-29 ST.L 22-37
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LARRY PARRISH: Last year the Expo third baseman batted .246, had 46 RBIs and was often booed; last week he hit .435 (he is up to .287), had eight RBIs (he leads Montreal with 34) and received five standing ovations.