Kansas City (5-2) didn't live by Brett alone (page 14). Reliever Dan Quisenberry, who pitched in four straight games and five overall, didn't allow a run in 8⅖ innings while getting four saves and his 10th win. Quisenberry attributed his success to the effectiveness of his best pitch, which he calls his "Peggy Lee," and the absence of another, which he has labeled his "Titanic." His Peggy Lee, an underhand sinker, is so called because puzzled batters look at it and, according to Quiz, say, "Is that all there is?" When Quisenberry's touch is askew, he is apt to throw his Titanic, an "unsinkable" pitch that "usually sails over the fence." Quisenberry leads the majors with 28 saves, two coming last week in support of Rich Gale, who won for the 10th and 11th times in succession.
Despite being outhit 10-2 and getting two wild pitches and a pair of balks from Mike Norris, Oakland (1-5) defeated Boston 2-1. The A's first hit off Dennis Eckersley was a leadoff single in the seventh by Mitchell Page, who stole second, went to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly. Oakland's other hit was an eighth-inning homer by Mario Guerrero. Ed Farmer picked up his 21st and 22nd saves for Chicago (4-3), the latter sealing a 2-0 victory for Britt Burns over Toronto.
Fine relief work gave four other teams a lift. Danny Darwin of the Rangers (4-4) retired all eight Brewers he faced as he brought his record to 11-2 with a 7-5 triumph. Doug Corbett of the Twins (5-4) gave up just one hit in 3⅖ innings as he achieved his 13th and 14th saves. And Minnesota's Fernando Arroyo, pitching three shutout innings, was a 6-5 winner over Detroit. Four days earlier, in a starting role, Arroyo had beaten California 8-3. The only win for the Angels (1-7) came when Andy Hassler tossed three innings of hitless relief against the Yankees to wrap up an 8-4 victory. For the Mariners (3-3), it was Shane Rawley who got the job done. Rawley held off the Yankees 6-4 when he worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth by getting two strikeouts and a soft fly ball. Rob Dressler's two victories—4-3 over Oakland and 3-1 over Boston—were saved by Rawley. who got the last three outs each time. But Rick Honeycutt, an early-season whiz when he was 7-1, lost to New York 3-1, his record dropping to 8-14.
August 31, 1980
KC 79-44 OAK 63-61 TEX 59-63 MINN 54-70 CHI 52-68 CAL 49-72 SEA 44-78
"We thrive on it," said Scott McGregor of the Orioles (7-0) when the subject of pennant pressure came up. Indeed they do. During August-to-the-finish drives in the past 12 seasons, Baltimore has played .619 ball. The 1980 Orioles have a 29-9 record since July 15, a spurt that has brought them from 11 games back to within half a length of the Yankees. A crowd of 50,073 in Baltimore saw McGregor blank New York 1-0 on Sunday and 51,528 watched the Birds hold off the Yankees 6-5 the next day. In all, 253,636 fans attended the five-day matchup, a major league record for any series. McGregor also won 7-1 in California as Rich Dauer, a .429 batter last week, had four hits. That was victory No. 15 for McGregor. Steve Stone didn't allow the Angels a hit for 7‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings and won 5-2 to become the season's first 20-game winner. He picked up No. 21 in Oakland, where Dan Graham homered twice and had four RBIs as Stone won 4-2. Tim Stoddard got the last five outs of that game, all on strikeouts.
Could it be that the team from the Big Apple swallowed a McIntosh? The New Yorkers hit into nine double plays and stranded 57 runners, 14 during a 6-4 loss to Seattle in which they outhit the Mariners 12-6. Owner George Steinbrenner flew to Seattle to render advice. As a result, Bobby Murcer was made the full-time DH. Steinbrenner also told Manager Dick Howser to play Bob Watson full time at first base rather than platoon him with slumping Jim Spencer. Ron Guidry was put in the bullpen, a move he had volunteered to make anyway. Rudy May, who replaced Guidry in the rotation, was a 5-2 winner over California as Watson homered, Rick Cerone drove in three runs and Rich Gossage earned his 21st save.
The Brewers (4-4) got their hopes up when a 12-5 romp over the Tigers put them within 6½ games of first, but then their pitching collapsed. While dropping four of the next five games, Brewer pitchers were shelled for 36 runs. Not even the potent Milwaukee offense could overcome that. Cecil Cooper hit .441 and his 11 RBIs brought him to 95, tops in both leagues; Ben Oglivie slugged four of the team's 13 homers to reach 32; and Robin Yount picked up his 1,000th career hit. Yount, who is 24 years and 11 months old, is one of the youngest ever to reach 1,000.
Two others who hit well were Dave Stapleton, 26, of the Red Sox (3-2) and Tom Brookens, 27, of the Tigers (4-5). A .417 week lifted Stapleton's average to .319. After being benched because he didn't run out a popup, Brookens returned to the lineup and went 1 for 9 before getting untracked. With 14 hits in his next 21 at bats, he had a .469 week that brought him up to .281. Brookens, a third baseman, was at his best during an 8-6 victory in Milwaukee, going 5 for 5 with a triple and homer, stealing a base and starting Detroit's first triple play since 1969 by gloving a line drive. Teammate Jack Morris also began the week on a dismal note—he was banished to the bullpen—and then came on strong. Because the Tigers needed an extra starter, Morris got the call in Minnesota. He gave up a first-inning single and two unearned runs—and then nothing more as he won 4-2.
Chicago rookie Leo Sutherland broke up no-hit tries by two Cleveland (5-4) pitchers. Sutherland's drag-bunt single leading off the sixth was the first of three hits given up by Len Barker, who struck out 12 and won 4-2. Two days later, Sutherland singled with one out in the ninth for the only hit off Dan Spillner, a 3-0 winner. Barker's 15th win came when he beat Kansas City 4-1 with the aid of three hits by Alan Bannister, who batted .500 for the week.
Although the Blue Jays (2-4) didn't hit a home run all week, they won a series in Minnesota for the first time in four years. Steve Braun's pinch double in the ninth dropped the Twins 4-3 and three RBIs by Ernie Whitt helped defeat Minnesota 10-4.
NY 74-48 BALT 73-48 MIL 67-58 BOS 63-56 CLEV 63-58 DET 63-58 TOR 50-71
"They'll never catch on to it because there's always the element of surprise," said Rodney Scott of the Expos (3-4) about his 19th steal of third this season. It was the eighth time Scott had swiped third on a delayed steal as the ball was being returned to the pitcher. Scott, who stole four bases in one game and seven for the week, now has 51. Ron LeFlore's four gave him 81. The two have an excellent chance of surpassing the major league mark for teammates set in 1974 when Lou Brock stole 118 and Bake McBride 30 for the Cardinals. LeFlore also could become the third major-leaguer, after Brock and Maury Wills, to steal 100 or more bases in a season. Bill Gullickson won twice for the Expos, 4-2 in Pittsburgh as Scott singled in two runs in the ninth, and then 2-0 over San Diego.
Rick Rhoden, another double winner, enabled Pittsburgh (3-4) to remain two games ahead of Montreal. After defeating the Expos 5-1, he downed the Reds 2-1. Philadelphia (4-3) completed its first five-game sweep of a team in 25 years by taking a double-header in New York, 9-4 and 4-1. Steve Carlton (19-7) fanned 11 Mets while winning the opener. Mike Schmidt walloped his 33rd and 34th home runs during a rare weekday afternoon game against San Diego that was billed as a "Businesspersons' Special." The teams finally concluded their business in five hours and seven minutes, with the Phillies winning 9-8 on 22 hits. The last two came in the 17th inning when Schmidt singled and McBride tripled. McBride led the Phils' lofty .306 hitting with a .424 week.
Seven innings of one-run relief gave Pete Falcone of the Mets (2-5) a 5-1 victory over the Giants. Falcone took over for Craig Swan, who left with a shoulder injury that will sideline him until next season. Neil Allen's 22nd save put the finishing touches to Ray Burris' 4-2 triumph over the Dodgers.
Ted Simmons had four hits, two of them homers, as Bob Forsch of the Cardinals (2-4) beat the Reds 10-1 with a four-hitter. John Fulgham held Atlanta to five hits in a 7-4 win. But Garry Templeton, who recently returned to action after fracturing his left thumb, broke his right index finger last Saturday night and has not played since.
Rick Reuschel of the Cubs (1-5) drove in two runs as he stopped the Cardinals 6-2 for his fifth straight win.
PITT 69-54 MONT 67-56 PHIL 64-56 NY 58-65 ST.L 53-67 CHI 49-72
Houston (7-0) spent the week playing what seemed to be double-or-nothing—and winning. Altogether, the Astros rapped out 19 two-base hits, five by Cesar Cedeno and four by Danny Heep, who hit .500. Eight two-baggers helped Houston sweep a doubleheader in San Diego, 5-0 behind Ken Forsch and 9-2 behind Joe Niekro. Six more doubles—two each by Cedeno and Jose Cruz—led to a 12-5 drubbing of Pittsburgh. But the most significant hit of the week was an unexpected single in the 17th inning of a scoreless game against Chicago. After Enos Cabell opened the inning with a single, Niekro, in his first relief appearance since 1978, singled in the game's only run. He and two other Houston relievers yielded only one hit in nine innings. That topped off a series of superlative efforts by the Astro bullpen, which accounted for three wins and two saves while yielding just 10 hits in 23‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings. Joe Sambito fired 8⅖ innings of shutout ball, Frank LaCorte five, Bert Roberge 4⅖ and Dave Smith three as the relievers extended their scoreless-inning string to 33‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬®
San Francisco (4-2) also got some hitting from its pitchers and finally moved above .500. Pitcher Tom Griffin homered off Steve Carlton of the Phillies and the Giants went on to win 4-3 in 10 innings. And Allen Ripley tripled in two runs and downed Philadelphia 6-2 on seven hits.
Although Steve Garvey batted .400 and finished off the Expos 5-4 with a homer in the 10th, the Dodgers (4-2) slipped three games behind the Astros. Davey Lopes and Ron Cey also had game-winning hits, and Jerry Reuss beat Montreal 5-1 for his 15th win.
Cincinnati (3-3), which began the week in a virtual tie with Houston for first, fell 3½ lengths back. George Foster homered as the Reds knocked off the Dodgers 6-2 and the Cardinals 4-3. Most of the time, though, the offense sputtered, producing only four runs in three defeats. During a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh's Rick Rhoden, the Reds didn't hit a ball out of the infield until the seventh inning.
Like his brother Joe, Phil Niekro of the Braves (5-1) made a rare relief appearance and became a winner in extra innings when Glenn Hubbard doubled in the 11th to stop the Cubs 5-4. And also like Joe, Phil won as a starter, defeating Chicago 6-4 as Dale Murphy drove in four runs. Murphy, who hit three home runs, had 14 RBIs and batted .458, also had two productive outings in support of Doyle Alexander. Murphy's double, homer and five RBIs helped Alexander breeze past San Francisco 8-2. Alexander, who pitched six hitless innings against the Giants, upped his record to 12-6 as he hurled 7‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® more hitless innings against the Cardinals and won 7-2. Murphy had four hits in that game, matching St. Louis' total.
Rookie Luis Salazar hit .500 for the Padres (1-6), who ended a run of 32 scoreless innings. Rollie Fingers got his 16th save as San Diego, which trailed 5-0 in the third, beat Philadelphia 7-5. Four Phillie errors enabled the Padres to pull out the game with their biggest inning of the year, a six-run fifth.
HOUS 69-53 LA 66-56 CIN 66-57 SF 62-61 ATL 59-63 SD 51-73
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
AL OLIVER: The Ranger outfielder tied an American League record with four homers in a doubleheader (three in the nightcap). All in all, he hit five home runs and three doubles, scored 10 runs, had 13 RBIs, batted .457.