Manager Don Zimmer broke up a "love affair" and strained an old friendship as Boston (4-2) climbed into a tie for first place. After Zimmer persuaded struggling Bob Stanley to get rid of the changeup that Stanley said he "fell in love with" during spring training, the righthander went back to his trusty sinkerball, fanned a career-high seven and coasted past Chicago 11-1. The Red Sox then won twice over Kansas City and Zimmer's childhood pal. Manager Jim Frey. The two grew up together in Cincinnati, double-dating and playing on a national championship American Legion team. Jack Brohamer's 11th-inning RBI single, the first Boston pinch hit in nine tries this season, led to a 6-5 victory in the first K.C. game. Chuck Rainey shut out the Royals 7-0 the next day as the Sox pounded out 16 hits, including four each by Carlton Fisk and rookie Third Baseman Glenn Hoffman, three by Tony Perez and a double by Jim Rice, who had been in an 0-for-18 slump. For the week, Fisk hit .478, Perez .444. The Red Sox' bullpen, which has long been suspect, showed signs of shaping up, even though Bill Campbell was still on the disabled list. Lefthander Tom Burgmeier hurled 4‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of strong relief against the White Sox to nail down a 4-3 triumph, and Skip Lock-wood beat the Royals by tossing three innings of one-hit ball.
Neither rain nor mud could keep New York (4-1) from also gaining a share of first place. After rain washed away a 4-1 fourth-inning lead in Baltimore, the Yankees stormed back the next night, sloshing through mud puddles for a 4-3 victory. Reggie Jackson, who had a homer wiped away the night before, hit one that counted this time and pounded another against Minnesota. After Baltimore had beaten New York on the third night of the soggy series, Oriole Shortstop Mark Belanger said, "I was hoping I wouldn't fall because I can't swim." Tommy John was a two-time winner, beating Chicago 1-0 with 17 groundouts and defeating the Twins 7-3.
Milwaukee (3-1) tied a league night-game record by slugging seven home runs, among them two apiece by Ben Oglivie and Sal Ban-do, while drubbing Cleveland 14-1. Oglivie, who batted .533 and had nine RBIs for the week, hit another homer as the Brewers beat the White Sox 4-1. Mike Caldwell provided a second win in Chicago, 8-0.
When Baltimore (2-3) lost 3-2 in Texas it was the team's seventh defeat in eight one-run decisions. Both Oriole victories were built around big innings and were saved by Reliever Tim Stoddard. A six-run second inning did in the Yankees 7-4 and a five-run eighth overtook the Rangers 7-5.
Toronto's first "Hoghead Award," a maroon cap with pink horns, went to rookie Manager Bobby Mattick for turning in the wrong lineup card before facing Milwaukee. After Roy Howell of the Blue Jays (3-3) walked in the first, Otto Velez was called out for batting out of turn. But no harm was done because, with the lineup corrected, the Jays bombed the Brewers 8-2. Toronto beat an old nemesis and got its second victory over a lefthander in eight decisions by routing Cleveland's Rick Waits 8-3. Waits had beaten the Blue Jays six times in a row. Pacing that victory was Barry Bonnell, who snapped out of an 0-for-14 batting slump at home with a single, a double, a homer and six RBIs. Second Baseman Damaso Garcia had only five hits, but four were doubles, making him the league leader with nine for the season.
Catcher Lance Parrish drove in five of his league-leading 19 runs as Detroit (2-3) upended Texas 5-4 in 10 innings.
"No shave until a save," chanted hirsute Reliever Sid Monge of Cleveland (3-2), who had been a flop in his early-season outings. Later that night, Monge worked two shutout innings to save a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays—and then got out his razor. Mike Hargrove, who drove in both Indian runs in that game, had seven RBIs during the week.
BOS 11-9 NY 11-9 MIL 9-8 TOR 10-9 BALT 8-12 CLEV 7-11 DET 7-13
The A's offense, which was strictly cream-puff last year when their .239 hitting was the worst in either league, has started showing some oomph. Robust batting and daring base stealing helped Oakland (4-2) charge into first place. By hitting a resounding .327 last week, the A's lifted their season average to .275. And during a 5-3 victory over Detroit, Wayne Gross stole home in the second inning and Dwayne Murphy did the same in the third on the front end of a rare triple steal. There was also some nifty pitching: Rookie Jeff Jones sealed the win over the Tigers with three innings of hitless relief, and Rick Lang-ford shut out California 8-0.
Minnesota (2-4) knocked off Oakland, but it took some doing. The Twins won 20-11 even though the A's outhit them 22-20. Except for Ken Landreaux' .481 average, it was a dismal week for Minnesota, which lost four times to lefthanded pitchers and made five errors during a 6-4 defeat at the hands of the pesky Mariners.
Rick Honeycutt of Seattle (4-3) became the first five-game winner in the majors by beating Minnesota 6-4 and California 2-0. Bill Stein had four hits, including a two-run home run, and three runs batted in during a 5-3 defeat of the Twins.
Clint Hurdle of Kansas City (2-3) homered as Paul Splittorff beat Baltimore 3-2 and as Larry Gura pitched his third shutout of the year, a 3-0 one-hitter against Toronto. Darrell Porter received two standing ovations when he returned to action for the first time since undergoing drug and alcohol rehabilitation therapy. A hometown crowd of 25,965 gave Porter a two-minute O when he appeared as a pinch hitter against Boston and arose again after he had flied out.
Ferguson Jenkins gave Texas (2-3) rooters something to cheer about when he held off Baltimore 3-2 to become the fourth pitcher to win 100 games in each league. But Ranger fans were dismayed when their team stranded 13 runners and committed three errors during a 7-4 loss to the Indians. Slowing down the Rangers further was the loss of Rusty Staub, who was batting .412 when he was sidelined for about two weeks with a chip fracture of his left ring finger, and the repeated failures of Reliever Jim Kern.
California (3-4) needed strong pitching to earn its victories because batters like Don Baylor aren't producing. Baylor, the 1979 MVP, has yet to hit a home run. But Don Aase's four-hitter defeated Oakland 2-1, John Montague's VA innings of scoreless relief beat Seattle 2-1, and Dave Frost chilled the Mariners 3-1.
Too much itching and too little pitching hurt Chicago (1-5). Lamar Johnson, the White Sox' No. 1 hitter, missed three games because of a chest rash, and Chicago hurlers allowed 19 runs in two of their losses. Rookie Britt Burns wasn't at fault, though; he lost twice but yielded only 11 hits in working two complete games. Burns fell 1-0 to New York and 4-1 to Milwaukee. Some fine pitching that didn't go to waste was a combined five-hitter by Rich Dotson and Ed Farmer that beat Boston 2-1.
OAK 14-8 CHI 12-9 TEX 11-9 SEA 12-12 KC 10-10 CAL 10-11 MINN 10-12
Three relievers came in from the cold to heat up the St. Louis (3-3) bullpen, which previously had an ERA of 7.46. Jim Kaat, who had not thrown in two weeks since being released by the Yankees, needed just eight pitches to retire the five batters he faced to wrap up an 8-2 victory over Chicago. Two days later, St. Louis benefited from two tight relief efforts against the Astros. After starter Bob Forsch came out with a spike wound in his right foot that required 15 stitches, Don Hood gave up one run in 5⅖ innings and then gave way to Kaat, who set down seven batters in a row to conclude a 9-1 victory. Even a 4-2 loss to Houston provided some encouragement when Pedro Borbon, cut earlier by the Giants, worked three innings of shutout relief. On offense, St. Louis relied heavily on Garry Templeton (.444), Keith Hernandez (.417 and four stolen bases) and Ken Reitz, whose .409 week gave him a league-leading .386 average.
For the third and fourth times this season, Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski homered in the same game, helping Philadelphia (3-2) slow down Los Angeles (page 20) 9-5 and 7-3. Another homer, a two-run drive by rookie Luis Aguayo, made Steve Carlton a 2-1 winner over the Mets. Tug McGraw saved the win for Carlton by coming in with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh and pitching hitless ball the rest of the way.
That was only part of a frustrating week for the Mets (1-4), who lost four times by a total of four runs. Pete Falcone was the loser in the 2-1 game with the Phillies, though he equaled a major league record by striking out the first six batters. The only reprieve came when rookie Mark Bomback beat the Phillies 2-0 on two hits.
The Expos (1-5) also were frustrated. Four Montreal runners were guilty of costly base-running errors; the hitters batted .125 with men in scoring position; and six players came down with minor injuries. After being benched for weak hitting, Rodney Scott had a pinch single in the ninth against the Giants, stole second and third, and scored the winning run in a 4-3 game when Ellis Valentine singled.
Pittsburgh (3-2) added to the Expos' problems with a sweep of their series. Willie Stargell set up 5-4 and 2-1 wins with 10th-inning singles, and then doubles by Bill Madlock and Bill Robinson ended the games. Two homers by Phil Garner on his 31st birthday and the six-hit pitching of Jim Bibby knocked off the Expos 5-0.
Chicago (4-1) bumped Pittsburgh out of first place by percentage points as Lenny Randle hit .550 and Bruce Sutter got a win and two saves. Randle, a switch hitter, batted from the left side when he doubled to begin an eight-run 12th that beat the Reds 12-4 and finished the scoring with a two-run homer from the right side. The only Cub pitcher with a complete game was Mike Krukow, who defeated Cincinnati 7-1 on four hits.
CHI 11-6 PITT 12-7 PHIL 9-9 ST.L 9-11 MONT 7-12 NY 6-13
"Joe Morgan has convinced us we're capable of hitting home runs," said Houston's Enos Cabell. The Astros (5-1) hit only 49 last season, by far the fewest of any team in the majors, but last week they belted six—five while sweeping three games in Cincinnati—and raised their output this year to 12. The home-run barrage and the Astros' customary good pitching enabled Houston to supplant slumping Cincinnati in first place. One homer, five stolen bases and Ken Forsch's three-hitter carried the Astros past the Reds 3-0 in the opener. J.R. Richard hit one of three home runs the next day while winning 5-1 and raising his record to 4-0. Morgan tormented his former Red teammates by going 5 for 12 during the series and added credence to his words by homering twice. But Houston didn't live by the longball alone. Other victories came when Jeff Leonard finished off the Mets 4-3 with a two-run single in the 12th and when Vern Ruhle beat St. Louis 4-2 on four hits.
While George Foster and Dave Collins nursed injuries, the Reds (1-5) had just 13 hits in the three-game Astro series. Cincinnati's lone win came in San Francisco, 3-1, as Frank Pastore gave up only four hits.
By holding opponents to a .213 batting average and by making the most of its own hits, San Diego (4-1) overcame .159 hitting to win four straight one-run games. Reliever Bob Shirley saved a 2-1 victory over Atlanta to end the Padres' seven-game losing streak. Shirley won the next day as Willie Montanez' ninth-inning RBI single beat the Braves 4-3. New York outhit San Diego 7-2, but the Padres triumphed 1-0 when the Mets botched up a rundown. Amazin'. Steve Mura's two innings of shutout relief nailed down the victory for Rick Wise. And then Rollie Fingers got the final two outs to lock up a four-hit, 2-1 win over the Mets for 6'5" rookie Gary Lucas.
The Braves (3-2) came up with a wigwamful of surprises. They beat Pittsburgh twice as Phil Niekro earned his first victory, by a 6-1 score, and usually light-hitting Jerry Royster highlighted a .429 week with a 10th-inning single that led to a 3-1 win. The biggest surprises may have been off the field when Bob Horner and the front office both changed their minds: the third baseman decided to rejoin the Braves after Atlanta took him off the disqualified list because it feared he might become a free agent.
San Francisco (1-4) fans seem about ready to give up: attendance has fallen 90,000 from last season because the Giants have fallen into the cellar. However, opposition base stealers aren't about to quit. So far, they have been successful on 26 of 28 attempted steals against San Francisco catchers. Willie McCovey was one Giant still having a ball. His 521st home run tied him with Ted Williams for eighth on the alltime list and helped San Francisco beat Montreal 3-2. The Giants won when Rennie Stennett beat out an infield roller in the ninth and scored on Milt May's double.
HOUS 15-6 CIN 13-9 LA 13-9 SD 10-11 ATL 8-12 SF 7-15
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
CESAR CEDENO: By collecting 10 hits in 20 at bats, slamming two homers, scoring eight runs, driving in four and stealing seven bases, the fleet centerfielder helped Houston move to the top of the National League West.