Luis Tiant batting clean up? Reggie Jackson a non-hitting 10th? Just a bit of levity by some playful Yankees (6-1) who posted a mock lineup in the clubhouse one night. After all, Tiant was getting a bit antsy because in six of his losses he gave up a total of just 13 runs while the Bronx, er, Bombers got him only five. As for Reggie, there was no use letting him get uptight about striking out seven times and stranding 14 runners in the latest two games. On the night in question, Tiant gave up five runs to the Angels in three-plus innings before being pulled, Jackson went 0 for 5, and New York left 11 men on base. Still, the Yankees won 6-5 on Willie Randolph's single in the 10th. More convincing victories were wrought with the aid of Oscar Gamble, who batted .462 and hit three home runs, and Bucky Dent, who had six hits and six RBIs in a pair of midweek games.
Baltimore (5-2) fell 3½ lengths back despite the tight pitching of Scott McGregor and Steve Stone. McGregor's three-hitter took care of California 5-0, and Stone's four-hitter defeated Seattle 5-1 and raised his record to 22-5.
Dick Drago of the Red Sox (5-2), who hadn't started since Aug. 5, 1979, opened two games and won twice. Tom Burgmeier saved both games for Drago, 4-3 over California and 5-1 over Seattle. Thus, in 22 of the last 24 Boston victories the bullpen had had either a win or a save. Carl Yastrzemski was out with an injured rib, but before he was hurt he picked up his 100th hit of the season, the 20th time in 20 years he has had at least that many. That left Yaz tied with Ty Cobb in that category and one behind Hank Aaron.
Like Drago, Bob McClure of the Brewers (5-1) succeeded as a starter. McClure, who broke a string of 212 relief appearances, held the Royals to six hits and won 6-1. "We haven't had a job like that since George Washington was a corporal," said Manager George Bamberger, who announced he would retire and turn the reins over to Coach Bob Rodgers. Milwaukee also beat K.C. 3-1 behind Larry Sorensen and 9-5 by scoring eight runs in the ninth. Were it not for the remarkable hitting of George Brett, Cecil Cooper might well be getting much-deserved recognition. His .458 week left him at .361, the second-best average in the majors, and his seven RBIs gave him 105, the most in either league.
Detroit sportswriter Joe Falls won't get a Nobel Peace Prize for it, but he did help settle the season's bitterest war. After getting a yes from Chicago's Ed Farmer when asked if he would accept a handshake from Detroit's Al Cowens, Falls set the truce-making machinery in motion. Whereupon Farmer, who last year broke Cowens' jaw with a pitch, shook hands with and dropped assault charges against the Tiger outfielder, who had tried to punch Farmer earlier this season. Another surprise for Detroit (4-3) came when Mark Fidrych won for the first time since April 1978, beating Chicago 11-2 on seven hits.
Two victories by Len Barker (18-8) couldn't keep the Indians (3-4) from falling to sixth. The 6'5", 225-pound righthander struck out 11 Twins while winning 5-2 and fanned nine Royals in an 8-3 triumph.
Lloyd Moseby of Toronto (3-3) had three hits as Jim Clancy survived eight walks and five hits to defeat Minnesota 7-1. Then a three-run homer by Moseby knocked off Texas 4-2. And his home run and a triple in the ninth by Garth Iorg beat Chicago 3-2.
NY 84-51 BALT 80-54 BOS 73-58 DET 71-63 MIL 73-65 CLEV 70-64 TOR 56-78
As usual, the A's (2-5) had a tasty postgame spread awaiting them in the clubhouse in Baltimore. Alas, the salad, meat, fruit, bread and other goodies wound up being spread all over the floor by Manager Billy Martin, who à la cartwheeled the food table after Oakland blew a 6-2 eighth-inning lead and lost 8-7. Leaving a better taste in the A's mouths were three homers by Tony Armas, who now has 30, and two victories over the Orioles. Seven A's had two hits apiece during a 7-1 triumph in Baltimore that ended a seven-game losing streak. Rick Langford's 21st straight complete game was a 3-2 win over the Birds.
Farmer of the White Sox (4-4) didn't work nearly as long as Langford to reap his rewards. By retiring the last two batters in the opener of a doubleheader in Cleveland and the final one in the nightcap, Ed sealed 10-8 and 8-7 victories and earned his 23rd and 24th saves. Chet Lemon, who batted .444, slugged a three-run homer as Chicago scored eight times in the last two innings of the first game. In a sort of swinging singles affair, the White Sox stroked eight one-base hits and beat the Blue Jays 3-0 behind the two-hit pitching of rookie Lamarr Hoyt (7-2).
Texas (3-3) moved a game ahead of Oakland in the fight for second. Johnny Grubb, who recently asked to be traded, had five RBIs during a 9-1 triumph over Toronto.
Josè Morales of the Twins (2-4), whose morning trade to the Astros was negated when it was belatedly learned he hadn't cleared waivers, drove in a run that night as the Indians were beaten 5-3. Doug Corbett earned his 15th save in that game and his 16th when he got the final two outs for Jerry Koosman in a 4-0 three-hit triumph in Detroit.
Three losses in a row to the Brewers threw the Royals (2-4) into their longest losing streak in two months. George Brett's 4-for-19 week lowered his average to .396. On the other hand, his brother Ken hurled five innings of hitless relief for K.C. in his first outing since being brought up from the minors.
A four-hitter by Freddie Martinez of California (1-6) cooled off Boston 7-2. But not even Rick Miller's .538 hitting could otherwise keep the Angels aloft.
Floyd Bannister, pitching more effectively since Manager Maury Wills gave him time to rest his sore left elbow, twice teamed up with Shane Rawley for Seattle (3-4) victories. After a muscle spasm in his back forced Bannister out of a game in New York in the sixth, Rawley went the rest of the way, gave up just one hit, struck out six and won 1-0. Back trouble again hampered Bannister during a 4-2 win in Boston, but this time Rawley had to get only two outs for his 13th save.
KC 86-50 TEX 67-68 OAK 67-70 MINN 59-78 CHI 57-76 CAL 52-82 SEA 49-86
Howe's on first. Art Howe of the Astros (3-4), that is. Howe, who has had difficulty earning a full-time job, settled down at first base last week and unsettled opposing pitchers with his .615 hitting. During one stretch, Howe reached base 10 times in a row, banging out eight hits and walking twice. For the first time in Houston's 19 years in the league, the team won a doubleheader from St. Louis. Joe Niekro doubled, singled and was a 9-5 winner in the first game. Vern Ruhle won the second 6-4 with the aid of the first Astrodome grand slam in more than four years, a blast by Jose Cruz.
Howe's also on the mound. Steve Howe of the Dodgers (7-1), that is. The rookie reliever was one big reason why Los Angeles took a one-game lead over Houston; he worked 4⅖ scoreless innings as he got three saves. Don Stanhouse, with three hitless innings, had two more. Stanhouse finished up a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia for Don Sutton, and Howe wrapped up Burt Hooton's 2-0 defeat of New York. Jerry Reuss, however, needed no bullpen help to beat Montreal 2-0. Ron Cey, Rick Monday and Joe Ferguson hit consecutive homers during a 7-2 romp over the Expos. Cey walloped two more home runs, one in Sutton's 1-0 victory.
Atlanta (6-0) had no Howes, just howitzers. The Braves, a bunch of late boomers, gained 2½ games and climbed into fourth place as they hit six homers. Dale Murphy's 26th of the year and Gary Matthews' 18th took care of Chicago 4-3. No. 27 by Murphy put them ahead of the Pirates briefly on Friday. Then, following a seventh-inning stretch during which members of the Atlanta Ballet led the fans in stretching exercises, came the most telling boom of the week—a three-run pinch blast by Jeff Burroughs that defeated the Bucs 7-4. Bob Horner's 29th home run helped Phil Niekro beat Pittsburgh 3-2. That was the second win of the week for Niekro, who defeated the Cardinals 6-2 and, like brother Joe, had two hits against them, both doubles. Rick Camp was effective, too, chalking up two saves and a victory. All of which left the Braves with 23 wins in their last 29 games, a surge that put them above the .500 level for the first time since April 25,1977.
With Terry Whitfield going 6 for 7 and with his teammates adding 23 more hits, the Giants (2-6) swept a twin bill from the Mets 11-4 and 9-4. From there on, though, the San Francisco offense fizzled, producing four runs in the last 51 innings of the week and being shut out three times in a row.
Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace, who both are disgruntled and want to be traded by the Padres (5-2), were highly productive. Three saves by Fingers brought his total to 20. When San Diego won four games in a row by a total of five runs, it was Tenace who had eight RBIs and drove in the decisive run three times. The Padres, .251 hitters for the season, batted a solid .312 for the week. Big cogs were Jerry Mumphrey (.500), Broderick Perkins (.455) and Gene Richards (.429).
LA 78-58 HOUS 77-59 CIN 74-62 ATL 70-65 SF 66-70 SD 59-78
Manager Dallas Green accused his team of "turning off the faucet" after the Phillies (4-3) had lost 10-3 to the Padres. But General Manager Paul Owens tried a different tack. "You've been trying to do this [win the Eastern race] for yourselves," Owens told the team. "For just this month, do it for me and Ruly [owner Ruly Carpenter]." According to Pete Rose, Owens got his message across. "The Pope [Owens] isn't like most general managers," he said. "He's more of a father figure. He speaks a ballplayer's language. He hates to see us play bad. He hates to see us be non-aggressive." During the next four days, the Phillies were more aggressive, presumably having turned on the mysterious tap. Steve Carlton got his 21st victory by beating the Giants 6-4, and superb relief pitching brought three more wins. Reliever Warren Brusstar worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out mess in the 11th in San Francisco, and the Phillies won 2-1 in the 13th. The next day Pitcher Dick Ruthven had Philadelphia's only extra-base hit, an RBI double, and with Tug McGraw getting the final two outs the Phils defeated the Giants 4-3. McGraw also saved a 3-2 victory in Los Angeles for Bob Walk, who once did a different sort of throwing at Dodger Stadium. Several years ago Walk, then a mere fan, was arrested for hurling a tennis ball at Houston's Cesar Cedeno from the stands. After beating the Dodgers, the Phillies turned off the faucet and wound up a length back of the Expos.
Montreal's Warren Cromartie had eight RBIs, Rowland Office hit .414, Tim Wallach homered in his first official big league at bat, and Woodie Fryman had two saves. And unlike the Phillies and Pirates, the Expos (5-3) finished with a flourish: three shutouts in a row in San Francisco. Bill Gullickson held the Giants to three hits while winning 4-0, a two-hitter by Steve Rogers made him an 8-0 victor and Scott Sanderson breezed 9-0.
Two doubles, a home run and three RBIs by Pitcher Rick Rhoden helped defeat the Astros 7-5 and break an eight-game losing streak for the Pirates (2-4). The hitting of Dave Parker (two homers, two singles and five RBIs) and the pitching of Enrique Romo (four shutout innings of relief) beat Houston 10-4.
Ken Reitz, customarily an early-season hitting terror and late-season flop, and Tony Scott helped the Cardinals (3-4) move up to fourth. Reitz homered three times, twice during a 4-3 victory over Cincinnati in which Scott, who hit .407, applied the clincher with a single in the 10th.
Although the Mets (0-8) extended their homerless streak to 11 games, they scored 26 runs. But the opposition hit .326, scored 48 runs and won three one-run games from New York, a loser in 26 of its last 35.
Baseball's Sunshine Boys, the play-by-day Cubs (2-5), saw few rays of hope during their home stand. It took a three-run ninth to defeat Houston 8-7 and avoid being the first team in modern league history to lose an entire season series. Five singles got the job done and left the Cubs 1-11 against the Astros.
MONT 74-62 PHIL 72-62 PITT 72-64 ST. L. 60-74 NY 59-77 CHI 52-82
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
KEN SINGLETON: The Baltimore outfielder kept the Orioles on the move by batting .417, slugging four home runs (two helped beat the Mariners 5-4) and delivering a ninth-inning double that knocked off the A's 8-7.