In the seventh inning of a game at humid Fenway Park, Seattle Pitching Coach Wes Stock suggested that starter Mike Parrott change his soaked jersey. Parrott said no, he didn't want to jinx himself. Whereupon Stock offered up the shirt off his back. Parrott accepted it and went on to beat the Red Sox 8-0. "I'm going to start the next three games in his sweat shirt," said Parrott, who earlier won three while wearing Glenn Abbott's pants. All told, Seattle had a 2-2 week.
With strong hitting from Milt May (.533), Lamar Johnson (.357), Ralph Garr (.333) and Jorge Orta (.500), the White Sox won three of five, the three being a series with Texas. Chicago won 11 of 13 games with Texas this year. The Rangers (1-4) avoided a winless week when Jim Kern pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation and saved Doc Medich's 4-1 win over the Royals. It was one of two such opportunities the Royals (2-2) wasted. Manager Whitey Herzog had plenty of reasons to quaff half a gallon of scotch he received from the Kansas City chapter of the Baseball Writers Association for being "the most honest, most cooperative and most forthright individual we have ever dealt with in any sport."
Normally powerless Minnesota (4-1) exploded for eight home runs. Even Bombo Rivera got one. Attempting to poke a single to right, he homered to left, beating Toronto 4-3. Typifying California's frustrating 2-3 week, Jim Barr needed only 92 pitches to go the distance against Baltimore but lost 2-1. There was dissension in the Oakland (1-3) week. Mario Guerrero took himself out of the lineup, complaining that he had hurt his arm pitching batting practice the weekend before the All-Star break. "Nobody told him to pitch batting practice," snapped Manager Jim Marshall, "if that's what he did."
July 29, 1979
CAL 56-41 TEX 53-42 MINN 51-42 KC 45-49 CHI 44-51 SEA 42-55 OAK 26-71
The Orioles (4-1) placed Jim Palmer on the 21-day disabled list because of tendinitis in his right elbow, but kept winning. Dennis Martinez started the week by four-hitting Seattle 6-1. Then, in a possible playoff preview, the Orioles took three of four from California—beating the Angels 3-0 behind Mike Flanagan, 2-1 on Scott McGregor's complete game and Rich Dauer's broken-bat single, and 10-2 behind Sammy Stewart.
Old Timers' Day again brought out the craziness in the Yankees (2-2). The week of last year's game, Manager Billy Martin was fired and rehired, supposedly for 1980. This year's exhibition was preceded by the resignation of club president Al Rosen, whose duties had been curtailed after Martin was brought back in June. Reggie Jackson had this to say: "He [Rosen] was a good guy who busted his butt and got tired of taking bull from [owner George] Steinbrenner. George thinks he can buy anyone." Jackson exonerated his longtime nemesis, Martin, however, and for once Martin was in agreement. "Al's role changed before I came back," said Martin, "and anything that says it was done to accommodate me is a stone lie." There was no denying the Yankees' desperate straits—they were 11½ games out after kicking away a game to the lowly A's by committing three costly errors.
As Boston (2-2) fell 3½ games back, Milwaukee took three straight to remain in contention. Sixto Lezcano homered on three consecutive days, two being game-winners, and Moose Haas and Jim Slaton threw shutouts. Feeding on easy fish, the Brewers extended their winning streak to eight games—four against Cleveland and four against Toronto. The hopeless Blue Jays (0-5) were running up streaks of another kind—shut out for the 11th time of the season, beaten in extra innings for the seventh, losing for the 15th time in their last 16 trips to the unfriendly confines of Milwaukee's County Stadium.
In a 3-1 week Detroit profited from the alertness of Ron LeFlore, who saw no one covering home and scored from second on a bunt against the White Sox. Cleveland was three-hit by the Brewers' Haas in a dismal 1-3 week. The only consoling news was that the Indians were awarded the 1981 All-Star Game.
BALT 62-32 BOS 57-34 MIL 57-38 NY 51-44 DET 47-46 CLEV 43-50 TOR 29-68
The race grew closer, thanks primarily to the Astros. First-place Houston lost all five of its games, and Joe Sambito, who had not yielded an earned run in 40⅖ innings, gave up two homers in Pittsburgh. Second-place Cincinnati took three of four, paced by Tom Seaver's two wins and 50th career shutout. Third-place San Francisco also won three of four as Manager Joe Altobelli got some long-awaited pitching. Three pitchers combined to shut out the Mets 4-0, and John Curtis beat the Phils 1-0 on six hits. Altobelli now has 11 healthy pitchers and not enough work for all of them.
San Diego (2-2) allowed only eight runs in four games but scored just six. Randy Jones beat the Mets 3-1 and Gaylord Perry stopped them 2-1, but the Padres lost 2-1 when Shortstop Ozzie Smith picked up a would-be double-play ball and found nobody covering second, double-pumped and threw too late to first. Nonetheless, interest was high. Home attendance passed 1 million on the 46th date and the Padres, taking advantage of Houston's decline, moved from 16 games out on July 4 to 9½ back. "If Cincinnati is the team to beat," said Manager Roger Craig, "we're 6½ off." Despite 124 errors, catchers who had thrown out only 26 of 117 base-stealers and a shortstop (Pepe Frias) who had committed 27 errors by the All-Star break, the Braves (1-3) also found cause for cheer. Slugging Dale Murphy returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his knee May 22 and hit a line-drive single.
There was no joy in Los Angeles (2-2). Accusations against Reggie Smith were in the headlines (DODGERS SAY REGGIE'S A QUITTER) and Davey Lopes resigned as team captain.
HOUS 54-44 CIN 50-46 SF 47-49 SD 45-54 ATL 40-54 LA 38-58
Pittsburgh won five in a row and climbed from fourth to second. Bill Robinson batted .467, Phil Garner homered three times, and John Candelaria and Bruce Kison, both fully recovered from their 1978 miseries, beat the Astros. In the team's best week, Pirate batters hit .315 and Pirate pitchers allowed just 3.40 earned runs a game. As a result, attendance in Three Rivers Stadium was up 30%.
Chicago, Montreal, St. Louis and Philadelphia had 2-2 weeks against West Division opponents. After a week's absence because of a sore left arm, the Cubs' Dave Kingman pinch-hit in the ninth inning and singled home Miguel Dilone with the tying run. Kingman scored the winner from first when Scot Thompson's hit went through Atlanta Leftfielder Jeff Burroughs. The Cardinals blasted Reds ace Mike LaCoss 12-3, getting one run fewer than St. Louis scored in its previous seven games. The Phillies lined out seven times during a 1-0 loss to San Francisco and blew a chance to tie the game when rookie Pitcher Dickie Noles fouled off three sacrifice-bunt attempts. "I like the kid," Pete Rose said consolingly. "He came up to me after the game and said the next time he comes to the park he's gonna bunt until his hands bleed." General Manager Paul Owens was less charitable toward overweight Leftfielder Greg Luzinski. "When a guy has a weight problem and is big in the chest, he cannot pitch or hit," Owens said. Feeling the heat after a 5-6 home stand, the Expos reacquired Rusty Staub, who had been a designated hitter at Detroit, for use at first base and in the outfield.
In a classic exhibition of excellent pitching (10 runs allowed in four games) and poor hitting (.231), the Mets dropped three of four and fell deeper into the cellar.
MONT 51-37 PITT 50-39 CHI 49-39 PHIL 51-43 ST.L 45-44 NY 38-51
The National League beat the American League 7-6 in Seattle for its eighth win in a row, 16th in the last 17 games and 22nd in the last 27. It was an unusually exciting game, with the lead changing hands four times, and there were heroes and goats aplenty.
Heroes: the game's Most Valuable Player, Pirate Rightfielder Dave Parker, who threw out Jim Rice at third and Brian Downing at home, singled and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly; Montreal Catcher Gary Carter, who blocked the plate on Parker's throw; New York's Lee Mazzilli, who tied the game with an eighth-inning homer and won it with a ninth-inning, bases-loaded walk; Houston's Joe Sambito, who pitched out of a first-and-third, no-out situation in the sixth; and Chicago's Bruce Sutter, who pitched two scoreless innings and was the winning pitcher for the second year in a row.
Goats: Boston's Rice, who went 1 for 5 and foolishly tried to stretch his lone hit from a no-out double to a triple; Texas Pitcher Jim Kern, who walked three and was called for a balk, all in the ninth inning, and New York's Ron Guidry, who walked home the winning run. Guidry blamed AL Manager Bob Lemon, who had him warm up twice earlier in the game and then used him when he was no longer loose.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
STEVE KEMP: The Tiger leftfielder had a 5-for-6 game and a 9-for-14 week, scored five runs, drove in six and homered twice to move from ninth place (.316) to third (.330) in the race for the American League batting title.