There were optimistic predictions from both sides before the A's met the Royals (6-1). "I guarantee they won't get five hard-hit balls if I'm out there nine innings," said Oakland righthander Mike Norris. An even more precise forecast came from Kansas City's Willie Mays Aikens, who said that teammate Rich Gale, who had lost seven times in a row since last August, would win 1-0 with a five-hitter and that Willie himself would drive in the run. As it turned out, both predictions were on target. Norris gave up only four hits in eight innings, but the Royals won 1-0 as Gale and two relievers allowed five hits. Sure enough, Ai-kens picked up the RBI. The Royals set a league record when they began a 5-3 win over the Angels with five straight hits. Dan Quisenberry got the save and afterward some advice by phone from another sidearm reliever who had watched the game on television. The man on the line was Pittsburgh's Kent Tekulve, who had first given Quisenberry some useful tips during the off-season. This time Tekulve called to alert him that his wrist was too low when he threw his slider. Thus informed. Quiz earned another save and two wins as the Royals moved into first place.
After Francisco Barrios of the second-place White Sox (3-3) pitched 5‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings to earn a 6-5 triumph over the Mariners, he was sent to the minors. This was done so that Barrios, who is recuperating from shoulder surgery, could pitch himself into shape during the impending strike. When the strike was avoided, the Sox found they had outsmarted themselves, because under major league rules Barrios cannot be recalled until June 1.
Three fine pitching efforts kept the Rangers (3-4) in the thick of the chase. Sparky Lyle's 5‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of scoreless relief, plus a 10th-inning single by Jim Norris, took care of New York 5-4. Danny Darwin was even better, fanning 10 Angels in 6‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of shutout relief as the Rangers won 12-6. And a two-hitter gave Ferguson Jenkins the 250th win of his career, by a 3-1 score over Oakland.
During a three-game span, the A's (2-5) stole 10 bases, including five by Rickey Henderson, who leads the league with 19.
Seattle (4-2) hitters were so hot that their bats were smoking. Well, at least Leon Roberts' were. After Roberts had two hits and three broken bats during Rich Honeycutt's 8-0 shutout of the White Sox, teammate Ted Cox tossed the splintered lumber into the clubhouse garbage can and set it afire.
Ken Landreaux of the Twins (2-4) kept what he had found—his batting stroke—and Geoff Zahn found what he had been looking for—his sinker. By running his hitting streak to a club-record 25 games, Landreaux raised his average to .359. Zahn, who'd had arm trouble for a couple of years, had been having difficulty getting his fastball to sink this season because his recovered arm felt so strong that he was muscling the ball. Against Chicago, however, Zahn's fastball began dipping once again, and he got 14 outs on grounders while winning 3-2.
From 1975 through 1977, Nolan Ryan and Frank Tanana gave the Angels (3-4) the best righty-lefty pitching combination in baseball as they won a total of 100 games. But megabucks have lured Ryan to the Astros, and Tanana, racked by arm miseries for two seasons, last week reached his nadir. In two starts, he retired only four batters and was pummeled for 11 hits and 12 runs.
KC 23-16 CHI 22-18 OAK 21-19 TEX 20-19 SEA 21-20 CAL 16-22 MINN 16-24
New York (5-2) got a look into its future as youngsters Joe LeFebvre, Bobby Brown and Dennis Werth each hit his first major league home run and righthander Mike Griffin got his first big league victory. LeFebvre became the fourth player in league history to homer in his first two games; his second came as a pinch hitter. That blast helped send Toronto to a 7-3 defeat and give Ron Guidry a 17-1 record since last season's All-Star break. Earlier, Guidry shut out the Tigers l-0, escaping from a bases-full, no-out jam in the sixth with a strikeout and double play. Detroit ended Tom Underwood's scoreless-inning string at 25, but the Yankees won 9-5 on 11th-inning home runs by Graig Nettles and Ruppert Jones. This was all part of a fine week by the division leaders, who cracked 13 homers, stole seven bases, made just three errors and turned over six double plays.
Toronto (2-5) sputtered downhill after its VW Attack—Otto Velez and Al Woods—hammered the A's 12-1 and the Red Sox 7-2. In those games Velez had five hits and six RBIs, and Woods six hits and seven ribbies.
When Dwight Evans was benched with a .196 average, Jim (Pigpen) Dwyer took over in rightfield and cleaned up for Boston (3-3) by slamming four homers in three games.
Ben Oglivie of the Brewers (3-3) brought his home-run total to 11 by hitting five for the week, including two during a 14-5 wipeout of the Mariners. Although their plans to golf and fish during the strike had to be canceled, Bill Travers and Moose Haas had a splendid time anyway as they shut out the Twins with successive four-hitters.
The Orioles (5-2) used one of their pet maneuvers in defeating the Indians 4-1. During the fifth inning, Eddie Murray took a big lead off first to draw Pitcher Rick Waits' attention. Meanwhile, Gary Roenicke, who was on third, broke for home, and when Waits fired belatedly to the plate, Murray stole second. Two victories by Steve Stone raised his record to 6-3. And Al Bumbry's 14-for-27 hitting gave him a league-leading .361 average.
Cleveland (4-3) moved half a game ahead of Detroit (2-5) in the struggle for sixth place. John Denny's 4-0 whitewashing of the Orioles and the aggressive play of two young outfielders aided the Indians. Joe Charboneau, 24, whose batting stats (.297, six homers, 21 RBIs) are the best for any American League rookie, had two home runs and five runs batted in as the Tribe beat the Orioles 4-2 and the Red Sox 7-2. Miguel Dilone, 25, turned on his speed during a 3-1 victory over Boston. After beating out an infield hit, Dilone went to third on a wild pickoff throw and scored on Duane Kuiper's double. Dilone later legged an apparent single into a double and scored on a single. He also sped to deep center and made a leaping, glove-over-the-fence catch to rob Butch Hobson of a homer. The Tigers handed Tommy John of the Yanks his first loss, winning 12-8 as Richie Hebner homered twice and had six RBIs.
NY 24-14 TOR 19-18 BOS 20-19 MIL 18-18 BALT 19-21 CLEV 16-21 DET 16-22
Steve Garvey of the first-place Dodgers (5-1) was mad, and he wasn't going to take any more abuse. After two Pirates stepped on First Baseman Garvey's foot while trying to beat out grounders, he homered into the bleachers. The home run and the three-hit pitching of Bob Welch and Steve Howe carried L.A. to a 2-0 victory. Against St. Louis, Pedro Borbon brushed Garvey back with a pitch, and Garvey responded with another four-bagger as the Dodgers won 5-1. The next night, after a knock-down pitch by Pete Vuckovich of St. Louis, Garvey clubbed a three-run homer to spark another victory.
Frank Pastore of the Reds (2-3) gave up only two singles as he beat the Expos 2-0 and ended David Palmer's 11-game winning streak.
When the Giants' flight left for Pittsburgh a few hours before the strike deadline, only one player was aboard—Rennie Stennett, who lives near the Steel City. The rest of the Giants (4-1) had stayed in San Francisco so they wouldn't have to pay their way home from Pittsburgh if the strike took place. They arrived later but could not avert a 5-4 loss, which ended their five-game victory string. Earlier, four steals had helped San Francisco beat St. Louis 6-5, and a series of diving and leaping catches and whiz-bang throws helped Ed Whitson defeat Chicago 2-0. Jack Clark's second straight four-hit, three-RBI game paced the Giants to a 15-inning 10-9 win in Pittsburgh.
Two ninth-inning errors by Shortstop Jerry Royster turned an apparent 1-0 win for the Braves (2-5) into a 2-1 loss to the Mets. Atlanta did get a 1-0 victory later, when Phil Niekro shut out Montreal.
San Diego's Randy Jones, bothered by an ear infection, went for his fourth shutout in a row but lost 4-3 to the Pirates. The game ended Jones' streaks of 30 scoreless innings, 37 innings without allowing an extra-base hit and 44 without issuing a walk. In their last 12 games, the Padres (4-2) have given up just 24 earned runs.
"Putting a new uniform on me is like putting a saddle on a mule," said Coach Don Leppert of the Astros' new roadwear. While sporting their new outfits—gray, with blue trim and a rainbow of colors down the sleeves—the Astros (3-3) played like mules, kicking away three balls while losing to the Mets 5-1. More encouraging was the four-hit, 10-strikeout effort by Nolan Ryan as he defeated the Phillies 3-0.
LA 25-14 CIN 22-17 HOUS 21-17 SD 21-19 SF 17-23 ATL 13-23
Mike Schmidt, who rarely gets excited, and Pete Rose, who is rarely calm, helped the Phillies (4-2) pull within two games of the Pirates. After hearing the no-strike news, Schmidt "celebrated" with "hot tea and Cheerios." That night he hit a three-run homer that made Steve Carlton (8-2) a 3-0 winner over the Astros. Carlton had earlier beaten the Reds 6-4 as the Phillies put together a three-run seventh in which four consecutive batters with two strikes on them all got hits. Rose, who squared matters at 4-4 with a single, then scored all the way from first on another single.
Late-inning rallies also helped the Pirates (3-3). In the first game of a doubleheader sweep of the Padres, Mike Easier slammed a pinch homer in the ninth and Bill Robinson added a run-scoring single for a 4-3 win. Later, a four-run sixth wiped out a 3-0 San Francisco lead and Pittsburgh went on to win 5-4 on Tim Foli's sacrifice fly in the 13th.
St. Louis (0-6) battled back in the late innings, but still lost 6-5 in San Francisco and 4-3 in Los Angeles. Throughout the rest of the week, the Cardinals battled each other. "There's a volcano coming that will outdo Mount St. Helens," Bernie Carbo said shortly before Manager Ken Boyer erupted. Upset by his team's sloppy play, Boyer imposed heavy fines for curfew violations, turned off television in the Busch Stadium clubhouse and turned down the locker-room stereos. But none of it helped. With their losing streak at nine games, the Cardinals replaced the Mets (page 24) in the basement.
Dennis Lamp lit up the Cubs with a 2-0 victory over the Dodgers. Otherwise, it was lights out for Chicago (1-4). With two of their top sluggers ailing—Dave Kingman had a sore shoulder and Barry Foote a bum knee—the homerless Cubs scored only eight runs.
Montreal (3-2) struck early and late. The Expos scored five times in the first to defeat the Reds 7-4 and a ninth-inning double by Rowland Office beat the Braves 3-2.
PITT 22-14 PHIL 19-15 MONT 18-17 CHI 16-19 NY 15-21 ST.L 14-24
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
GREG LUZINSKI: The Bull hit four homers and two doubles, batted .476, drove across seven runs and even stole a base for the Phillies. His total of 11 home runs put him in a three-way tie for the major league lead.