Reggie Jackson of the Yankees (5-2) had an act for every occasion. After racing to first to avoid a double play in the ninth inning of a 6-6 game in Chicago, Jackson limped and rubbed the right thigh that has bothered him for weeks. Understandably, Sox Reliever Ed Farmer paid no mind to Jackson, who completed his caper and produced a 7-6 victory by stealing his first base of the season and using a fadeaway slide to score after Jim Spencer singled on the pitch following the theft. Three days later, after crumpling to the ground to elude an inside pitch from Minnesota's Geoff Zahn, Jackson arose and socked the next delivery into the seats as the Yankees and Tommy John (14-3) won 10-3. Jackson then brought down the curtain against the Royals and Paul Splittorff. Although he has had trouble hitting the lefty and still smarts from having been benched against him during a 1978 championship series game, Jackson had a homer, three singles and five RBIs against Splittorff and his relievers as New York romped 13-7. That gave Jackson 25 home runs, the most in either league, and 71 RBIs, the most in the American League.
Steve Stone of the Orioles (4-3) ran his record to 14-3. His 12th straight victory was a 10-4 laugher in Milwaukee during which Rick Dempsey drove in five runs. Dennis Martinez, with last-out help from Tippy Martinez, was a 1-0 victor over the Brewers. Baltimore won another nail-biter by beating Texas 8-7.
Robin Yount of the Brewers (3-5) got the good news while trudging to the dugout after apparently striking out against the White Sox: time had been called before the last pitch and he was still alive. Yount made the most of his reprieve by homering on the next delivery to help Moose Haas get his 10th victory, 5-1. Four days earlier, Yount propelled Milwaukee to a 6-4 triumph in Toronto with a three-run homer in the ninth. Five-hit pitching by Paul Mitchell and Bob McClure, plus three doubles by Gorman Thomas, who batted .516, took care of the Blue Jays 4-0. Larry Hisle, who missed most of last season after hurting his right shoulder, will have surgery for a torn rotator cuff on the same shoulder and won't be back until next year. In the last two seasons he has batted only 156 times.
Boston (3-4) also lost a player for the remainder of the season, Second Baseman Jerry Remy, who needs an operation for torn cartilage in his left knee. Remy's replacement, Dave Stapleton, homered in the 10th to give Mike Torrez a 1-0 victory over Minnesota.
Wayne Garland of the Indians (2-5) continued his comeback by beating the Angels 6-2. Len Barker also won in California, coming out on top 5-3 as he hurled a six-hitter for his ninth triumph.
As they had expected, the Tigers (4-2) have found a standout rookie centerfielder. But it's not Kirk Gibson, who's on the disabled list, or Dave Stegman, who's mostly on the bench. It's Rick Peters, who hit .522. Three shutout relief efforts led to Detroit victories: Roger Weaver's six scoreless innings disposed of Oakland 7-2; Aurelio Lopez locked up the first of two 5-3, 10-inning wins in Seattle with two runless innings, and Dave Rozema got credit for the other by not allowing a score over the final 5½ innings.
Dave Stieb's ninth victory for the Blue Jays (3-4) was a nifty three-hit, 5-0 whitewashing of the Mariners, in which he was backed by four homers, two by John Mayberry. Stieb has yielded only one extra-base hit—a double—in his last four starts.
NY 58-30 MIL 49-40 DET 46-38 BALT 48-40 BOS 46-42 CLEV 41-45 TOR 37-49
Fourteen hits on Sunday, 17 on Monday, 15 on Tuesday, 21 on Friday—on and on went the relentless Kansas City (5-2) hitters, amassing 100 hits and 50 runs while batting a staggering .364. Among those pounding the ball were Hal McRae and George Brett, who used divergent approaches. McRae skipped batting practice one night because "sometimes you start thinking a little bit too much" and promptly ended a slump; he drove in 13 runs for the week. Brett, who "spent a lot of time thinking about hitting when I spent eight days in the hospital in June," six times had two or more hits in a game. During a midweek game, Umpire Eugene Hendry tossed a bat out of the path of Willie Wilson, who was barreling toward home. Nice gesture, except that the bat struck on-deck batter Brett on the jaw. But nobody was stopping Brett, who has batted .535 in 10 games since coming off the disabled list. Wilson scored 13 runs and hit .471. Superb pitching by Larry Gura and Dan Quisenberry helped, too. Gura gave up six singles and a double while beating Baltimore 5-1 and just three singles while defeating New York for the fifth straight time in two seasons, 13-1. That left Gura with a 12-4 record and a league-leading 2.10 ERA. For his part, Quisenberry allowed only two hits in 4‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of relief while earning his 17th and 18th saves.
Bobby Grich of the Angels (3-4) batted .550, hit his first two homers since May 20 and singled in the 14th to beat the A's 5-4. Bob Molinaro of the White Sox (2-5) had two game-deciding hits. His homer enabled Britt Burns to beat Texas 2-1, and his two-run double polished off Milwaukee 10-7.
For the third time this season, Richie Zisk of the Rangers (5-2) had a game-winning hit against the White Sox, singling in the ninth for a 3-2 victory, one of three wins credited to Reliever Danny Darwin. Another clutch hit was delivered by Bump Wills, whose 10th-inning grand slam stunned Baltimore 11-8. And Rusty Staub got his 2,500th hit.
Tony Armas of the A's (4-2) had only six hits, but four were home runs that helped produce 10 RBIs. A six-homer barrage carried Mike Norris past Cleveland 9-1, and Steve McCatty shut out the Indians 3-0 as the A's pulled off their 10th double steal of the season and seventh steal of home.
Good fielding by the Twins (3-4) aided Fernando Arroyo, who was rescued by four double plays while getting the team's first shutout over Boston since 1977.
KC 54-36 TEX 43-46 OAK 43-48 CHI 41-48 MINN 41-48 SEA 37-52 CAL 33-55
Allen Ripley, Alan Hargesheimer and Al Holland gave San Francisco (4-3) the West's only winning record by accounting for all four Giant wins. Ripley and Reliever Holland teamed up to defeat Cincinnati 2-0, and Holland was an 8-7 victor over St. Louis when Milt May hit a grand slam in the ninth. Hargesheimer, backed up by a pair of Gary Lavelle saves, beat the Reds 5-3 and the Cardinals 7-4.
Twenty-six hits, seven by Terry Puhl, led the Astros (4-5) to a 6-5, 6-1 doubleheader sweep of the Braves. While Houston was baffled by the mysterious arm trouble that put J.R. Richard on the disabled list, the Dodgers (2-5) welcomed a healthy Terry Forster back to the bullpen for the first time in nearly a year. In two outings, which totaled three innings, Forster didn't yield a hit. Dave Goltz, a flop as a starter, came on in relief to save Burt Hooton's 6-2 victory over Chicago.
Johnny Bench of the Reds (3-5) broke Yogi Berra's record for the most homers by a catcher when he hit No. 314. Berra responded with a telegram expressing his inimitable logic: "I always thought my record would stand until it was broken."
The Padres (3-4) stole 19 bases in 24 tries; Gene Richards got nine of the thefts and batted .400. Nine of the steals came in a three-game home-field sweep of the Dodgers. But then the Padres lost four of five on the road, where they are 14-35.
Bob Horner of the Braves (4-5) walloped six homers, including one in each game of a 5-2, 7-2 doubleheader sweep of the Phillies. While he was pitching batting practice, a line drive hit Phil Niekro so hard on his pitching elbow that the ball's stitches were visible to the doctor who checked him out. Two days later, Niekro refused to miss his pitching turn and left his imprint on the Astros, fanning 11 and allowing two hits in a 2-0 victory. "He's got to be the greatest of all time in courage," said Pitching Coach Cloyd Boyer. The Braves were not so gracious to Al Hrabosky after he threw a fastball over the head of 6'5" Pat Zachry as the Met pitcher tried to bunt with a 7-2 lead in the ninth. "There's a time for it and a time not for it," Horner said of the duster. "I didn't see any sense in it tonight." Later, Lee Mazzilli homered and told Hrabosky, "Don't be throwing at my pitcher." The Mad Hungarian went after Mazzilli and had to be restrained. "Al's crazy, but even that's no excuse," said one Atlanta player. "Those two incidents give all of us a bad name."
HOUS 50-40 LA 50-40 CIN 46-45 SF 45-46 ATL 41-48 SD 38-53
With two out in the last of the ninth and the Padres ahead 7-6, Cliff Johnson of the Cubs (2-4) kissed his bat as he waited in the on-deck circle. "I do that when I need something," he said later. "It's like your wife—when you want something from her, you butter her up." Buttered up, Johnson's bat produced a two-run double for an 8-7 win.
The Pirates (7-0) had reason to love their lumber, too, batting a resounding .331 and scoring 44 runs. Mike Easier hit .474 and John Milner, who had swatted just two homers all season, slugged three. One of Milner's drives helped Rick Rhoden beat the Dodgers 6-4 for his first victory since September 1978, when he was with L.A. Dave Parker's second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the ninth, finished off Philadelphia 13-11. In moving to within one percentage point of the first-place Expos, the Bucs also got magnificent relief work from Kent Tekulve (two saves, one win), Grant Jackson (one win, one save) and Enrique Romo (one save), who held the opposition scoreless for 11⅖ innings.
Montreal (5-2) had to scramble to stay on top. The first of Gary Carter's three homers for the week and 3⅖ innings of shutout relief by Stan Bahnsen beat Chicago 2-1. Steve Rogers' 11th victory was a 6-4 decision against Cincinnati, in which Ellis Valentine returned to the cleanup spot for the first time since he was hurt in May and got two of his nine RBIs for the week. Scott Sanderson earned his ninth triumph, 6-1 over the Reds. Ron LeFlore, who had seven of the Expos' 15 steals, triggered that victory with three hits, three thefts and three runs. Montreal's toughest win was a 5-4 decision in Houston, Carter singling in the tie-breaking run in the 11th. Although the Astros outhit the Expos 18-10, they left 19 men on base. Winner Woodie Fryman exasperated Houston by not allowing a run after the Astros had loaded the bases in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings.
Tight pitching and the play of Bake McBride kept the Phillies (3-5) from collapsing. Rookie Bob Walk ran his record to 6-0 when he beat Houston 4-2 on three hits. Steve Carlton fanned 10 Astros while defeating them 2-1 with the aid of McBride, who stole second after each of his two singles and scored both runs. McBride and Pete Rose then drove in three runs each to down Atlanta 7-2.
Lee Mazzilli's five home runs, 11 RBIs and .471 batting kept the Mets (5-3) in the race. In his first start since coming up from the minors, Roy Lee Jackson struck out 12 Reds and coasted to a 13-3 victory.
It was an up-and-down week for the Cardinals (3-4). They were at their best when Pete Vuckovich defeated San Diego 3-0 and when they scored 10 times in the third inning of a 15-3 win the next day. It was their biggest inning since 1968. George Hendrick, who hit his 20th homer in that game, had 10 RBIs and took over the major league lead with 76. St. Louis was at its worst while dropping a doubleheader to New York, committing six errors and adding two balks and a wild pitch to its list of cardinal sins.
MONT 49-38 PITT 50-39 PHIL 47-40 NY 44-45 ST.L 39-51 CHI 36-50
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
GEORGE BRETT: Kansas City's hard-hitting third baseman had a homer, triple, three doubles and nine runs batted in, scored eight times, went 17 for 31 at the plate (.548) and boosted his batting average to a sizzling .377.