Oakland fans, who used to prefer catching some Zs to watching the A's (3-3), have been awakened by a spirited, division-leading club. On hand for a doubleheader split with Detroit were 18,217 rooters, who saw the A's win the second game 1-0 when Jeff Newman homered in the sixth. Mike Norris, his screwball at its best, ran his record to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.44 in the four-hit shutout. There were 12,605 people in Oakland one day later when Matt Keough, 4-2 on the year, beat the Indians 5-1. And 24,309 showed up for a Salute to the A's Night, which featured $10,000 in giveaways but a disappointing 4-3 loss to Cleveland. Attendance dropped to 4,925 on Saturday, when the A's defeated the Blue Jays 4-3 as Tony Armas slugged a two-run homer in the seventh and a game-winning single in the ninth.
The Royals (4-2) tied the Rangers for third place with some lusty hitting. In his first full game of the season, Designated Hitter Darrell Porter singled, tripled and drove in three runs to knock off the Red Sox 5-3. Later in the week Kansas City won in Boston for the first time since July 1978, beating the Red Sox 6-5 as George Brett had three RBIs in his first game back after missing a week because of a bruised heel. The next day the Royals pounded out 18 hits, including a homer by Porter, and won 13-8. Porter, usually a catcher, was DHing because his stand-in, John Wathan, was second in the league with a .377 average. Wathan, who batted .206 last year, attributes his improvement to off-season hitting in his garage, where he set up a batting tee and whaled 150 to 200 balls a day into a screen. In the fourth inning of a 12-5 win over the White Sox, it seemed that all the Royals were slamming the ball off a tee as they had nine consecutive hits, one short of the American League record.
Buddy Bell batted .481 and had eight RBIs for the Rangers (3-3). Two homers by Richie Zisk carried Texas past Chicago 2-1 in II innings, but five hits by Al Oliver couldn't avert a 10-6 loss to the surprising White Sox (page 28). The Rangers had 16 hits while drubbing the Red Sox 11-3 behind Gaylord Perry, and Doc Medich continued his mastery over Boston, beating the Sox for the eighth straight time, 7-2.
Minnesota (2-4) ended a longer streak, defeating a lefthander for the first time in 12 decisions when Ken Landreaux singled in the 11th to beat Rudy May of the Yankees 1-0. Darrell Jackson, a 150-pound lefty, went the first 10 innings of that game for the Twins, and Doug Corbett sealed the five-hit victory by working the 11th. Corbett also saved a 4-2 triumph over Baltimore for Pete Redfern, who improved his record to 4-1, with 3‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of scoreless relief.
Mark Clear's 2‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of one-hit relief wrapped up a 4-3 win over the Mariners for the stumbling Angels (1-5). Leon Roberts gave Seattle (2-4) a lift with three home runs, one in a 7-6 defeat of Detroit. Julio Cruz, who missed 17 games with a stress fracture of his right foot, came through with a unique stolen base during a 4-1 loss to the Indians, zipping to second base while Pitcher Dan Spillner stood on the mound, ball in hand, peering in at the catcher.
OAK 17-11 CHI 16-12 KC 14-12 TEX 14-12 SEA 14-16 MINN 12-16 CAL 11-16
"I said in spring training wasn't going to let anything bother me, and I still say it," insisted Manager Don Zimmer of Boston (1-5). Presumably, Zimmer wasn't upset that Fred Lynn had an aching back, that Carlton Fisk had a bruised foot, that Dennis Eckersley was shelled twice—which dropped his record to 1-5—or that his pitching staff had an ERA of 5.64. The boys of Zimmer, though, were bothered as they fell to fourth place. "My shoulder feels broken," Reliever Skip Lockwood said after yielding four consecutive hits in an 11-3 loss to Texas. And Bob Stanley, who was pounded for 10 hits and six runs in 5⅖ innings against Kansas City, conceded. "I stunk."
In Toronto (5-1) there was the sweet—but rare—smell of success as the Blue Jays set a club record by running their winning streak to six games and earned a share of the lead. Toronto put it all together during a 7-3 win over California. Dave Stieb (4-1) did the pitching, the fielders pulled off five double plays, and Otto Velez drove in three runs.
New York (4-1), which hit eight home runs, also extended its victory string to six games before finally losing 1-0 to Minnesota. During a 10-1 rout of the Twins, Rick Cerone drove in four runs and Reggie Jackson got up from an apparent knockdown pitch to drill a 443-foot homer. Another Jackson smash and a ninth-inning clout by Bucky Dent beat Milwaukee 6-5. And Bob Watson doubled, homered and had five RBIs as the Yankees defeated the Twins 5-2.
Reggie Cleveland of Milwaukee (3-4) heard lots of boos last season when he flopped as a reliever, but last week he was cheered for saving a 5-3 victory against Baltimore. Don Money, Gorman Thomas and Sixto Lezcano, who collectively had only 10 hits in their 78 previous trips to the plate, also ignited the Brewer fans by homering in a 9-1 romp over the Orioles.
For Baltimore (4-3) the big guns were designated hitters Terry Crowley, Benny Ayala and Lee May who hit a combined .520, slugged three home runs and had 11 RBIs.
Mike Hargrove of the Indians (4-3), who stretched his hitting streak to 20 games, drove in both runs as Rick Waits beat the A's 2-1. And Tom Veryzer, a .236 career hitter, added punch to the attack by batting .391.
"This team has to die a little before it knows what winning really means," Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson said. The last-place Tigers (4-3), having spent a dead April, finally found out about winning when Milt Wilcox defeated the A's 4-0. Jason Thompson homered in the 10th to beat the Angels 6-5, and Dan Schatzeder and Dave Rozema combined for a five-hit, 6-1 win over California.
TOR 15-10 NY 15-10 MIL 12-12 BOS 12-14 BALT 12-15 CLEVE 11-14 DET 11-16
When Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda rated the food in the league's clubhouses last year, he placed the Cardinals' spread near the bottom. That miffed Buddy Bates, the visiting-clubhouse attendant in St. Louis, but inspired him to make special preparations for Lasorda's first 1980 visit. After serving a candlelight dinner complete with chefs salad, antipasto, spaghetti and veal scaloppini, Bates received a "C'est magnifique!" from Lasorda. A 15-7 loss to the Cards that night, however, may well have given Lasorda indigestion. It also gave Rick Sutcliffe, last season's Rookie of the Year, an unpalatable 0-2 record and an 8.33 ERA. The only relief for Los Angeles (2-3) came when Dusty Baker homered twice and drove in five runs during a 12-10 victory in Philadelphia and when Burt Hooton and Jerry Reuss teamed up to beat St. Louis 5-3.
Although George Foster was sidelined with strained muscles in his left side and Ken Griffey with gimpy knees, the Reds (6-1) pulled to within percentage points of the first-place Astros. Junior Kennedy hit a grand slam—only his second homer in 451 big league at bats to that point—to defeat the Cubs 5-4 and singled in the 12th to knock off the Mets 3-2. Other clutch hits were delivered by Harry Spilman, whose 14th-inning pinch double toppled New York 12-10, and Sam Mejias, whose bases-loaded triple beat Philadelphia 5-2. Cincinnati also had some nifty pitching. Charlie Leibrandt was a two-time winner. Tom Hume got two saves and a victory, and Paul Moskau was triumphant as a starter and two days later saved a win for Dave Tomlin.
Home-run hitters, so the saying goes, drive Cadillacs, but Houston batters proved that hitters who stick to compacts can take a team farther. The Astros (3-3) hit four homers in one game against the Braves—and lost 5-4. They got their best mileage by simply stroking the ball, their three wins coming without the benefit of a home run. Jose (Cruzamatic) Cruz figured in much of the action. He had two RBIs as Houston bumped off St. Louis 4-2 and had four more during an 8-4 defeat of Montreal. And when the Astros beat the Braves 3-2 in 11 innings, it was Cruz who started the decisive rally with a single.
Randy Jones of the Padres (3-4) showed 1976 Cy Young Award-winning form after heeding Manager Jerry Coleman's advice to change speeds on his sinkerball. Jones got 14 outs on grounders while pitching his first shutout since August 1978, a 4-0 five-hitter against Chicago. Two days later the Padres won 9-6 by tagging Cub Reliever Bruce Sutter for three of their four runs in the eighth. Jerry Turner stole home during the uprising, and Kurt Bevacqua stroked a two-run pinch single to put San Diego ahead to stay.
What little life there was in the Giants (2-5) was provided by Jack Clark, who had three RBIs in each San Francisco win.
The Braves (1-4) had only two things going for them: a homer by Brian Asselstine helped beat the Astros 5-4, and rain washed out a 3-0 deficit against the Phillies.
HOUS 18-9 CIN 19-10 LA 15-12 SD 13-15 ATL 9-16 SF 9-20
By going 5-0 Pittsburgh lengthened its division lead to four games, which was more than those of the three other leaders combined. Not even League President Chub Feeney could stop Bill Madlock—yet. Feeney levied a 15-day suspension—the longest ever in either league for an on-the-field incident—and a $5,000 fine against Madlock for shoving his glove in the face of Umpire Jerry Crawford on May 1. But Madlock appealed the verdict and continued to play until Feeney heard his side of the case and could reconsider the penalties. Madlock made the most of the delay by hitting home runs that helped beat the Braves 13-4, the Dodgers 7-6 and the Padres 4-3. Skinny Kent Tekulve fattened his season's record to 5-0 as he tied a major league mark by winning three games in a row. By week's end Tekulve had not allowed a run in 11 appearances covering 14‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings.
Second-place Chicago (2-5) outlasted San Francisco 15-9 in a game that featured four home runs by each team and a combined total of 31 hits. When the Chicago pitchers weren't giving up hits, they were walking droves of batters, 11 during a 4-0 loss to San Diego and three in a row to force in a pair of runs during a 6-3 setback at the hands of San Francisco.
Pitchers who come close to hurling no-hitters are often said to have "flirted" with the accomplishment. By that definition Steve Carlton of Philadelphia (2-3) is a very big flirt, because he has tossed six one-hitters in his career. Carlton was within four outs of a hitless game when the Braves' Bill Nahorodny singled. He finished with a three-hit, 11-strikeout 7-1 win. Four days later Carlton fanned 11 Reds and gave up four hits in seven innings, but one was Dan Driessen's two-run homer, and he lost 5-3. The Phillies had seven doubles while routing the Braves 10-5, and Mike Schmidt hit his eighth and ninth home runs and had eight RBIs for the week.
When it came to hitting, though, the Cardinals (4-2) outdid everyone. A .366 week raised their team average for the season to .298 and brought back memories of the 1930 St. Louis pennant winners who hit .314. The current Cards have five of the league's top 10 hitters, led by Ken Reitz, the scourge of Aprils past. For a change, Reitz continued his hitting into May with a .500 week (and 10 RBIs) that put him at .413, tops in the majors. Tony Scott hit .347 and Ken Oberkfell .417 before being sidelined for a month with a knee injury. Even Pitcher Bob Forsch got into the act, slamming his second home run of the season, a three-run shot, as he beat the Giants 12-2.
Improved pitching and 9-for-18 hitting by Ken Macha buoyed Montreal (4-3). Reliever Elias Sosa saved two games, and Woodie Fryman worked the final two innings of Scott Sanderson's 3-0 win over Houston.
"I guess we're even over-meeting now," said frustrated New York Manager Joe Torre, who frequently gathers his players for clubhouse sessions. Maybe not, Joe. The Mets (3-4) put together back-to-back victories for the first time this season and later beat the Expos 2-1 as Craig Swan fired a three-hitter.
PITT 17-7 CHI 13-11 ST. L 13-13 PHIL 11-12 MONT 11-15 NY 9-17
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
OTTO VELEZ: Toronto's designated hitter equaled a league record with four home runs (and 10 RBIs) during a doubleheader sweep of Cleveland and finished the week with five homers, 13 RBIs and an average of .545.