Faced with a three-game losing streak and perhaps the end of his hopes for another world championship, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner made a number of moves. Among them:
•He told Reggie Jackson he would be a designated hitter instead of a rightfielder, until his hitting perked up. Jackson then helped win a game with a double in the 11th inning of a 7-6 win over Chicago.
•He moved Catcher Thurman Munson into Jackson's usual spot in rightfield, to protect Munson's aging knees and put rookie Mike Heath behind the plate. Munson responded with three hits in the win over the White Sox, including his fifth homer, and Heath added two singles.
July 23, 1978
•He announced that General Manager Cedric Tallis would have greater authority, presumably at the expense of President Al Rosen.
So what did Steinbrenner have at week's end for all his trouble? A team in deep trouble. Ron Guidry's ERA over his past four starts was 5.28, and Don Gullett's arm was hurting again. The Yanks (1-3) were 11½ games out and fading fast.
Boston (1-3) lost two straight in Fenway Park for the first time this season, despite three Red Sox home runs in each game. And of the team's three defeats, two came at the hands of old teammates—Ferguson Jenkins of Texas, who outdueled Mike Torrez 4-3, and Rick Wise of Cleveland, who beat Allen Ripley 7-1.
Milwaukee (3-1) picked up a couple of games on the division leaders, thanks to the 9-for-13 hitting of Don Money and complete-game wins from Mike Caldwell and Lary Sorensen.
Emerging from a season-long slump at the plate, Doug DeCinces of Baltimore (3-2) batted .500 for the week with 10 RBIs and three homers.
The good news in Detroit (1-3) was that Mark Fidrych pitched batting practice in Seattle and felt no pain in his injured right shoulder. The bad news was that the Bird will be sent down to the Florida State League to get some work and won't be returning before mid-August.
Gary Alexander hit his eighth home run in three weeks and Andre Thornton cracked three in two days, but the Indians (2-2) only broke even. Toronto (0-4) suffered its third winless week of the season, scoring only four runs in three games.
BOS 58-28 MIL 50-36 NY 47-40 BALT 48-41 DET 43-44 CLEV 40-48 TOR 32-56
California (3-1), Kansas City (3-1) and Texas (4-1) all got rich at the expense of teams from the East. The Angels took three straight from Toronto and Detroit as Don Aase, Nolan Ryan, reliever Dyar Miller and Frank Tanana surrendered only 18 hits. The Royals romped over Baltimore 10-4, Milwaukee 9-2 and New York 8-2. The Rangers might have gone undefeated if Shortstop Campy Campaneris hadn't had a shouting match with Manager Bill Hunter and owner Brad Corbett. Angered at being ordered to bunt rather than swing away, Campaneris was benched in favor of Jim Mason, who made two errors on the same grounder to allow the winning run to score in an 8-7 loss to Baltimore.
Charlie Finley flew out to Oakland and made some changes among his A's, bringing to 55 the number of personnel moves he has engineered in half a season. Dave Revering helped sink Cleveland and Toronto with home runs on Thursday and Saturday. The A's (2-2) went 7‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings against Minnesota's Dave Goltz without a hit, then spoiled the no-hitter with three singles in a 7-0 defeat. The Twins (1-3) had little to brag about except Rod Carew's league-leading batting average (.351) and his 2,000th career hit, one of 11 singles Minnesota got off Boston's Bill Lee in a 5-4 loss.
Chicago (2-2) was two outs away from handing Yankee ace Ron Guidry his second defeat of the season, when New York pinch hitter Cliff Johnson lofted a home run into the leftfield seats to tic the score at 6-6. When the Yanks won 7-6 in 11 innings, it spoiled the heroics of White Sox Third Baseman Eric Soderholm, who hit a pair of two-run homers off Guidry.
Seattle (3-1) had its heroes in Leon Roberts, whose three-run home run tied a game with Detroit 4-4, and utility man Larry Milbourne, whose single drove in the winning run. Milbourne then knocked in five runs with a grand slam and a solo homer to help beat the Indians 7-6.
CAL 49-40 KC 46-41 TEX 45-42 OAK 45-45 MINN 39-45 CHI 39-48 SEA 32-59
Though the division-leading Phillies (1-2) stumbled slightly in Atlanta (page 22), no other team in the East was over .500 for the week, either. As has been their habit of .late, the Cubs (2-2) won whenever reliever Bruce Sutter made an appearance. When he didn't, they lost. Sutter has pitched in 11 of Chicago's last 13 victories, and last week he helped Mike Krukow beat the Mets 4-1 for Krukow's third straight win since being recalled from Wichita. "A dose of the minor leagues will shake you up." said Krukow, who has allowed only two runs in his last 23 innings.
Pittsburgh (2-2) hasn't been above .500 since May I, and a 6-5 loss to the Giants on Saturday marked the Pirates' 20th one-run defeat of the season.
Montreal (2-3) hasn't won two games in a row since June 22, despite a string of 17 consecutive games in which the Expos' hitters have knocked out the opposing team's starting pitcher. Outfield errors, wild throws and a steal of home all contributed to last week's three defeats, which were particularly galling to Manager Dick Williams who had just dictated penalties for everything from tardiness to not covering first base. Pitcher Ross Grimsley committed that sin but went on to throw a five-hit shutout over Houston. The Mets' (1-3) only solace came in Cincinnati, where they beat Tom Seaver for the first time, 4-2. Catcher John Stearns, with his 12th steal of the year, has a chance to break the major league record of 23 for a catcher, set by John Kling of the Chicago Cubs in 1902 and equalled by Kling again the following year.
Pete Vuckovich of the Cardinals (2-2) fired a three-hitter against Los Angeles, striking out eight Dodgers, including Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Dusty Baker, Rick Monday and Joe Ferguson in succession.
PHIL 47-36 CHI 44-41 PITT 41-43 MONT 43-47 NY 37-52 ST.L 36-54
One of the most bizarre incidents of the season ended with this scene in St. Louis: ejected Dodger Pitcher Don Sutton reemerges from the dugout—minus his cap and a good deal of his self-control—and holds out a page from the rule book to Umpire Doug Harvey who disgustedly brushes it to the ground. Sutton, looking for his 200th major league victory, was banished by Harvey for pitching with "defaced" baseballs. When the Cards' Mike Tyson flied out to Rick Monday to end the seventh inning, Harvey asked to see the ball. Monday bounced it to him, but Harvey could see the same kind of scuff mark he had detected on two other balls used during the game. Emphasizing that he was not specifically charging that Sutton had doctored the balls. Harvey ejected the pitcher, who later said that Harvey "is depriving me of my right to make a living." Sutton then claimed he was going to sue the umpire.
While the Dodgers (1-3) were arguing about scuff marks, the Giants (2-2) were holding fast to their three-game lead in the West. "Some people say we're lucky to be up there," said Pitcher Bob Knepper, who beat Pittsburgh 4-0 for his 11th victory and third shutout of the year. Third Baseman Darrell Evans hit two home runs against the Pirates, then tied the score at 5-5 with an RBI single in the ninth inning. The Giants won in the 11th on a squeeze bunt by Second Baseman Rob Andrews.
For the first time since May 26 the Reds (3-1) fielded their regular starting lineup. Principal absentees Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan responded handsomely. Bench going 6 for 9 and Morgan 5 for 13. Pete Rose set a club record by hitting in his 28th consecutive game.
The Padres (2-2) were still looking respectable as they neared the end of a 21-game road trip. Rookie First Baseman Broderick Perkins, playing his first full week in the majors, had four doubles, five RBIs and a home run. And 39-year-old Gaylord Perry ran his record to 10-4 with a 5-2 win over the Cubs.
Atlanta (3-0) continued to ruin its image with heads-up play, even completing a triple play against the Phillies. Jeff Burroughs socked three out of the park and continued to lead the league in hitting at .325.
James Rodney Richard of Houston (3-2) struck out 22 batters in two games to run his total to 167 strikeouts in 150 innings, and reliever Ken Forsch won both ends of a doubleheader against Montreal.
SF 54-35 LA 51-38 CIN 51-38 SD 44-46 ATL 39-47 HOUS 38-48
THE ALL-STAR GAME
Though the law of averages seemed to preclude such a possibility, the National League beat the American League 7-3 in San Diego for its 15th victory in the last 16 games. Or for the 21st time in the last 26. Or just seven in a row.
The winners even spotted the AL a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Rod Carew tripled. George Brett doubled and Jim Rice grounded out, scoring Brett. When Carew tripled again in the third and Brett followed with a sacrifice fly, the score was 3-0.
The National League tied the game 3-3 in the bottom half of the third when Baltimore's Jim Palmer walked in a run and the Dodgers' Steve Garvey banged a two-run single to left. The score remained tied until the bottom of the eighth when Garvey, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, led off with a triple to right off the Yankees' Rich Gossage. Gossage wild-pitched Garvey home with the eventual winning run. and before the inning was over, the Phillies' Bob Boone had singled in two more runs and L.A.'s Davey Lopes had singled in another.
Chicago's Bruce Sutter got the win for the National League, retiring all five men he faced.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BRODERICK PERKINS: A major-leaguer for only a week, the Padres' first baseman banged out seven hits and knocked in five runs in a three-game span. Four of his hits were doubles, and a home run helped beat the Cubs.