Wallis, Armas, Page, Dilone, Revering, Duncan, Burke, Newman, Edwards and Picciolo. Recognize any of these names? They are, of course, Oakland A's—or some of them—baseball's most surprising and most resilient team, which won five out of six to climb back to within two games of first place.
Texas (3-3) clings to that spot, thanks to a 6-3 victory over the Angels' Frank Tanana before a crowd of 41,632 on Saturday. The game was so precious to the Rangers that they used starter Jon Matlack, who had two-hit the Angels a week before, in relief of winner Doc Medich. California (4-3) was encouraged by the resurgence of Outfielder Lyman Bostock, the $2.3 million free agent acquisition who batted only .049 in April. Bostock's season average was up to .286 after he hit .404 for the month of June.
Kansas City (1-6) Manager Whitey Herzog was so incensed after a 2-1 loss to the A's in Oakland—the Royals' third one-run loss in four days—that he kicked a broadcaster out of the dressing room.
July 9, 1978
Shortstop Roy Smalley of Minnesota (3-2) had a banner week against the White Sox. Smalley had two doubles and two homers—one a grand slam—in a doubleheader sweep of Chicago, then two more hits on Saturday as the Twins drubbed the White Sox 10-0 to spoil the managerial debut of Larry Doby. Now 53, Doby in 1947 was the first black to play in the American League. Obscured by the Sox' troubles was the blazing bat of Second Baseman Jorge Orta, who hit .500.
Seattle (3-4) rapped nine homers, including two each by Bob Robertson, Leon Roberts and Bob Stinson. Stinson's grand slammer, the first in his 17-year career, including the minors, beat Chicago 9-7. Alas, the Mariners gave up 49 runs during the week.
TEX 40-35 CAL 40-37 KC 38-37 OAK 39-38 CHI 34-41 MINN 31-41 SEA 27-52
Even after a winning surge that carried Milwaukee (6-1) past Baltimore and New York and into second place, Brewer star Larry Hisle wasn't convinced that Milwaukee's rivals were properly impressed. "When I was playing for the Twins last year," Hisle said, "and we'd come into Milwaukee for a three-game series, we always had the feeling we'd win at least two games. I don't think we've quite convinced other teams yet that it's different this year. I want to make believers out of them."
Hisle, a sometime outfielder, sometime designated hitter and full-time slugger, is doing his best. Last week he had one 3-for-3 night and two four-hit games, raised his home-run total to 15 and his RBI mark to 50. What's more, when Hisle went hitless in a twin bill with the Yankees, his teammates were so hot they swept both games.
Nobody accepts defeat with less grace than the Yankees (3-4). After the 5-0 and 7-2 losses in Milwaukee, owner George Steinbrenner lashed out at just about anyone he could think of: American League President Lee MacPhail (for poor scheduling, which meant the Yankees had to play a night game against Boston and then fly to Milwaukee—arriving at 5 a.m.); Graig Nettles (for claiming "exhaustion" and not playing the second game of the doubleheader); and Reggie Jackson (for playing in both games but going 0 for 7).
Boston (3-3) continued to look superb even when losing. Rightfielder Dwight Evans made a perfect throw to cut down Jackson at the plate in the 11th inning of a 14-inning game (New York eventually won it on Nettles' home run). Luis Tiant threw 132 herky-jerky pitches against Baltimore before an 11th inning single by Pat Kelly handed him his first defeat of the season, by a 3-2 score. Evans and Shortstop Rick Burleson kept alive another game in Baltimore with extraordinary plays before the Orioles again won in 11 innings, again 3-2. Baltimore (2-6) needed the solace of those victories after losing eight straight, including a 24-10 disaster to Toronto. Trailing 19-5 after five innings, Manager Earl Weaver used Outfielder Larry Harlow and Catcher Elrod Hendricks as relief pitchers. Harlow was bombed for five runs in two-thirds of an inning, but Hendricks' leisurely deliveries were so tantalizing that he gave up only one hit in 2‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings. "My only mistake was bringing in Harlow before Hendricks," quipped Weaver.
Detroit (3-5) pitchers hurled a three-hitter and a four-hitter on successive days, but Detroit's hitting and defense managed to lose both games to the Indians, 2-1 and 6-3. Cleveland (5-4) can count its lucky stars for the deal made earlier with Oakland for Gary Alexander. In a nine-game stretch with the Indians, Alexander blasted five home runs and drove in 17 runs.
Toronto had its best week ever (6-2) with heavy hitting from Rico Carty (12 hits, 13 RBIs), Roy Howell, John Mayberry and Otto Velez.
BOS 52-24 MIL 45-31 NY 43-33 BALT 42-35 DET 37-38 CLEV 35-40 TOR 27-48
Ordinarily, the groundout to the second baseman wouldn't have bothered Cincinnati's Pete Rose quite so much. Rose has been going good of late, after a season-long slump. His personal hitting streak had reached 17 games and his batting average was finally nearing familiar .300 territory. But last Friday evening in Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati the Reds (2-6) were about to lose a doubleheader to Los Angeles and fall behind L.A. into third place, and Rose was ticked.
"You got nothin'!" he reportedly screamed at Dodger rookie Pitcher Bob Welch as he ran back to the Reds dugout. When Rose took his position at third base at the start of the next inning, Dodger Rick Monday came to Welch's defense. "Hey, Pete," he yelled from the dugout, "don't get on the kid. He's just trying to make a living."
At which point the frustrated Rose charged toward the dugout and tried to take on Monday and the entire Dodger team. "I lost my cool," he admitted, after being restrained by Umpire Paul Pryor and Dodger Coach Preston Gomez. Monday's remark was insignificant; the real cause of Rose's anger was Cincinnati's losing streak, during which the Reds dropped six in a row, were shut out three times and hit nary a home run. "It's July, and we're swinging like it's still spring training," lamented Manager Sparky Anderson, who watched George Foster go 0 for 16.
The Dodgers (6-2) got six consecutive wins from their starting pitchers and some timely home runs from Ron Cey, Davey Lopes and Steve Garvey to pick up their 17th win in 22 games. Even so, Los Angeles gained only two games on the division-leading Giants during that stretch.
San Francisco (4-5) survived a nightmarish schedule of three doubleheaders in six days, mainly because Rightfielder Jack Clark walloped five home runs and took over the National League RBI lead with 55. Vida Blue won his fifth straight to improve his record to 11-4, and 40-year-old Willie McCovey socked his 500th career homer to move into 12th place on the all-time list behind another Giant great, Mel Ott.
At one point Dave Winfield was the only San Diego (6-3) player in almost three weeks who homered, but thanks to a revitalized pitching staff, the Padres wrested fourth place from Houston (4-5) by taking four out of five from the Astros. Reliever Rollie Fingers got his 17th save, tops in the majors, while Winfield finished the month of June with 31 RBIs in 29 games. The Astros' two 23-year-old starters, Tom Dixon and Floyd Bannister, fired back-to-back shutouts against the Reds.
Atlanta (4-5) was still in last place, but bearded Relief Pitcher Gene Garber has been so effective since being acquired from Philadelphia on June 15 (three saves, one victory) that Braves Manager Bobby Cox has relaxed his policy against facial hair. "I just don't think it would be right to make him shave his beard," said Cox after Garber had hurled two scoreless innings against the Dodgers. "It's him."
SF 48-29 LA 45-32 CIN 44-34 SD 38-40 HOUS 34-40 ATL 31-44
Chicago (3-5) seems to be staging its annual El Foldo act a lot earlier than last year, when it didn't surrender first place to the Phillies until Aug. 5. The Cubs dropped their fifth, sixth and seventh games to the division leaders in the space of nine days, including a 6-5 ninth-inning loss charged to relief ace Bruce Sutter, who hadn't allowed an earned run against Philadelphia in 32 innings. The Phillies (6-2) were carried by Greg Luzinski, who whacked three home runs to take over the league lead with 18. One of Luzinski's blasts gave Philadelphia a 1-0 victory over Montreal on an output of just two hits.
The Expos' (2-4) starting pitchers were given only 12 runs to work with in six games; the principal victim of this parsimony was 11-game-winner Ross Grimsley, who allowed only three hits in 10 innings against the Cardinals, yet lost 2-1. Ironically, the staffs hard-luck pitcher, Steve Rogers, won twice to take the league lead in ERA (2.10) and tie Grimsley for the lead in complete games (11). In 19 starts this season Rogers has never yielded more than three runs. "There isn't a team in the league that doesn't know he's the best pitcher they've faced," said Montreal Third Baseman Larry Parrish.
Pittsburgh (5-4) lost .316-hitter Dave Parker when he fractured his cheekbone in a home-plate collision with Met Catcher John Stearns. But the Pirates welcomed back Willie Stargell, who forgot his knee problems long enough to go 3 for 3 in one game, including a homer and a double, and to win another with a pinch single.
The Mets (2-5) were defeated by a pinch grand-slammer, by a squeeze bunt with two out in the ninth and by an outfielder's AstroTurf-induced error. The only bright spots were the pinch-hitting of Ed Kranepool, who went 3 for 5, and the pitching of Pat Zachry, who is now 9-3—and 16-9 overall since coming to New York from Cincinnati last year.
The lowly Cardinals have scored only three runs in the ninth inning all season, but they managed to put a run across in the 10th inning to beat Montreal 2-1. The victory gave St. Louis (5-3) a four-game winning streak, which must have pleased owner Gussie Busch, who warned his team recently that there might be a wholesale shakeup "down to the bat boys."
PHIL 41-31 CHI 38-36 MONT 38-38 PITT 36-38 NY 33-46 STL 30-48
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LARRY HISLE: Despite going 0 for 8 in a doubleheader, the Brewers' slugger hit .433, socked three home runs, scored 10 times and knocked in nine runs as Milwaukee passed the Orioles and Yankees in the AL East.