New York (7-0) came up with its own version of the aphorism "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." With Doug Bird defeating Cleveland 5-3 and Chicago 2-0 and with Reliever Goose Gossage saving both games, the fine-feathered Yankees flew up from third place, bumping the Orioles out of first. Bird's victories gave him 18 in a row starting Sept. 8. 1978—12 in the majors and six when he was sent to the minors briefly. "I think everyone should be fired once," Bird said of his time in the bushes. "It builds character." Gossage's efforts were part of a remarkable week by New York's bullpen, which didn't allow a run in 23 innings. In addition to his three saves. Gossage picked up a victory after working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the 10th against Baltimore. New York won that game 5-3 when Dave Revering slammed an 11th-inning two-run homer, a sweet-revenge blast off Sammy Stewart. Revering felt Stewart had tried to show him up the week before when the ambidextrous Stewart acted as if he might pitch lefthanded against Revering. The next night Graig Nettles' two-run shot in the 11th beat Baltimore 2-0 as Dave Righetti went the first eight innings for New York and Ron Davis the last three. The Yankees won the series finale 12-3 as Gene Nelson atoned for his previous week's loss in Baltimore by feeding the Orioles fewer changeups and more fastballs. The Yankees batted .314, but Reggie Jackson contributed little. "This isn't a slump," lamented Jackson, who was hitting .200. "I'm scared to death."
"We're a 24-man team—and one prima donna," said Doug DeCinces of the Orioles (2-4). The object of DeCinces' scorn was teammate Jim Palmer, who made disparaging remarks about the third baseman's inability to come up with a grounder during a loss the week before.
Rollie Fingers of the Brewers (3-3) earned his 10th and 11th saves by twice throwing two innings of shutout relief. Gorman Thomas' two home runs and four RBIs made Milwaukee a 5-2 winner over Detroit in the first of those games.
June 14, 1981
"My stuff was ordinary. I just had to be a 'paintmaster.' " That was the self-evaluation of Dennis Eckersley of Boston (3-3) after he beat the Indians 4-0 by "painting the corners." Old Master Carl Yastrzemski slugged a two-run homer in the eighth to help Frank Tanana defeat Oakland 4-1.
Cleveland (3-4) coupled timely hits with strong pitching. Toby Harrah's two homers helped Rick Waits defeat Boston 4-1. Jorge (Call Me George) Orta had four RBIs as Len Barker eased past Seattle 8-1. And Mike Hargrove stroked a go-ahead single in a three-run ninth to topple the Mariners 5-3.
Last-place Toronto (0-6) was more games out of first place (17) than all the other teams in the East combined (15). Although still sixth in the standings, Detroit (5-1) went above .500. Jack Morris beat the Twins 2-0 on a three-hitter, and Milt Wilcox blanked them 3-0 on five hits. Pitcher Kevin Saucier and Outfielder Lynn Jones brought back memories of two beloved former Tigers. "I'm a looney," said Saucier, who celebrates victories or saves by vaulting off the mound and shaking every hand in sight à la Mark Fidrych. Saucier, who's called Hot Sauce by teammates, gave up only two hits in 7⅖ innings of relief and was able to go into his postgame routine after saving a 4-1 triumph over Milwaukee. In that same game, Detroit fans thought they were seeing a reincarnation of Rightfielder Al Kaline when Jones pulled off a sparkling double play. Jones made the first out with a sliding catch of a sinking liner. Then he jumped up and gunned out a runner trying to score from third. At the plate, Jones had four hits, including the gamer in the 12th, in a 4-3 win over the Brewers.
NY 32-20 BALT 30-20 MIL 30-22 CLEV 26-21 BOS 28-24 DET 28-25 TOR 16-38
Despite having his hitting streak ended at 18 games. Bill Stein of the Rangers (5-1) had a vital hit of another kind during a 5-3 victory over the Twins. Stein was at bat in the second inning and Jim Sundberg was on third base when a pitch by Minnesota's Jerry Koosman bounced in the dirt. Twins Catcher Butch Wynegar came up with the ball and, seeing that Sundberg had strayed off the base, tried to pick him off. However, Wynegar's throw struck Stein's bat and glanced away as Sundberg scampered home. Against Toronto, Sundberg took advantage of another weird situation in the 12th inning when he went from first to third on a bunt by Mario Mendoza as four Blue Jays converged on the ball. Mendoza was thrown out, but Sundberg made it to third because no one was left to cover the bag. He then scored the deciding run of a 5-4 victory on an error.
Oakland Manager Billy Martin got a week's suspension and $1,000 fine for his run-in the week before with Umpire Terry Cooney. But Martin appealed the ruling, and was allowed back after three days pending a hearing. In a showdown for first place in Chicago, the A's (4-2) took the first two games 6-2 and 8-3 and lost the finale 4-2. Oakland won the opener with the aid of three White Sox errors. Chicago (1-5) took advantage of three Oakland miscues for its victory.
Until the Angels (4-2) learned that Bobby Grich had broken his left hand on Saturday night, they felt they were in seventh heaven. California got the out-of-this-world feeling from three shutout victories and the resounding hitting of Rod Carew (.370) and Butch Hobson (.391). Ken Forsch hurled two of the whitewashings, and Dave Frost and Andy Hassler combined for the other. Frost had last won on June 2, 1980, when he outdueled Luis Leal of the Blue Jays. Last week, on June 2, he went 6‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings and beat Leal 3-0.
Even with Amos Otis hitting .375 and George Brett .440, the Royals (3-3) continued to stagger. Brett was upset to learn that news of some of his heftiest batwork had leaked out. It seems that Brett, angered by his failures in the clutch a week earlier, had used a bat to do roughly $1,200 damage to a players' rest room in Minnesota. Jerry Grote used his bat for more conventional purposes. Grote, who a year ago was retired and operating a meat market, hit his first home run since 1976. His drive, a grand slam, was part of a team-record seven RBIs by Grote as Kansas City outlasted Seattle 12-9.
George Argyros, the principal owner of the Mariners (2-4), recently teamed with a partner to buy Air California (now AirCal). Argyros may be flying high, but the Mariners remained fogged in even though Tom Paciorek hit .409.
Baseball's "other Fernando," Minnesota's Arroyo, beat Texas 7-3. But the Twins (1-5) were shut out for the seventh and eighth times this season.
OAK 35-22 TEX 31-20 CHI 27-22 CAL 27-29 KC 18-28 SEA 19-34 MINN 15-37
Spending most of his time on the bench hasn't robbed Bill Nahorodny of the Braves (3-3) of his batting stroke or sense of humor. After his 10th-inning pinch double triggered Atlanta's 3-1 win over L.A., Nahorodny said, "I was very calm. What are they going to do if I don't get a hit? Bench me?"
Dave Concepcion batted .458 and had six RBIs, and Roy Oester hit .435 for Cincinnati (5-1) as the Reds gained three lengths on front-running Los Angeles. George Foster's seven RBIs gave him a major league-leading 44, one more than Concepcion. Bruce Berenyi yielded only a fourth-inning single while defeating Montreal 2-0 on Sunday.
Nolan Ryan of the Astros (4-2) surpassed Early Wynn as the alltime leader in walks with his 1,776th base on balls during a 3-0 win over New York. Rookie Chris Welsh of the Padres had a 1-0 one-hitter going into the ninth, but lost 2-1 to Houston after giving up two singles and then a triple to Craig Reynolds, the major league leader with nine.
That was only part of a dismaying week for San Diego (2-4). At the start of a three-game series against St. Louis, the Padres' ERA was better than the Cardinals' (3.74 to 3.81) and both teams were hitting .260. Despite those figures, San Diego was last in the West, St. Louis first in the East.
Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers (2-4), using more fast balls and fewer screwballs, fanned 11 Braves in a 5-2 win. Valenzuela went nine innings for his ninth victory, but Reliever Fred Breining of the Giants (2-4) threw only one pitch—a double-play ball—and earned a 5-3 victory over the Pirates. Breining won when Enos Cabell hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
LA 35-19 CIN 32-21 HOUS 28-26 ATL 25-26 SF 27-29 SD 21-33
"In baseball there's no such thing as a small enemy," said the Dodgers' Valenzuela when asked if he expected to pitch a perfect game against the lowly Cubs (2-4). How right he was. Valenzuela lasted only 3‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings and was tagged for seven runs. The big blow in Chicago's 11-5 triumph was a three-run pinch homer by Mike Tyson. The Cubs weren't nearly so productive on artificial turf; Chicago ran its record to 0-17 on the rug after it lost three times in Pittsburgh. The Cubs also lost Bobby Bonds, who was in the first inning of his first game since being brought up from the minors. He fractured his right pinky when he fell after his cleats caught in a seam in the artificial turf in rightfield. As Manager Joey Amalfitano aptly put it, "There may be a black cloud hanging over us."
Despite mounting troubles of their own, the Cardinals won five of seven. Reserve In-fielder Mike Ramsey broke a bone in his right hand. Shortstop Garry Templeton said he wanted to be traded, and Catcher Orlando Sanchez had to be rushed up from the minors. Then things took a turn for the better. Templeton recanted, and Sanchez, playing because Darrell Porter and Gene Tenace were hurt, tripled in the 11th and scored on Tommy Herr's single to beat Montreal 3-2. St. Louis trailed 2-1 with two out in the ninth when Manager Whitey Herzog made a novel decision. Instead of pinch hitting for Pitcher Bob Forsch, Herzog let Forsch bat, and he singled in the tying run. In a similar situation, Herzog let Reliever Jim Kaat hit in the last of the 13th of a 1-1 game against San Diego. Kaat, who had pitched two shutout innings, walked and subsequently scored the winning run on a single by Keith Hernandez.
The Pirates (5-1) were encouraged when Reliever Kent Tekulve, a dud all season, picked up a win and his first save. Jason Thompson and John Milner each walloped a two-run pinch homer in Pittsburgh wins.
George Vukovich, just up from the minors, twice came through in the clutch for the Phillies (4-2). A pinch single in the eighth by Vukovich sewed up a 5-4 defeat of New York, and his pinch two-run homer helped Larry Christenson and Mike Proly dispose of Atlanta 3-0. Pete Rose, hot on the trail of Stan Musial's league record for career hits, batted .417 by going 10 for 24. That gave him 3,626 hits, four fewer than Musial.
After eight games without a steal, Tim Raines of the Expos (1-6) talked with former base-stealing champ Lou Brock. That night, Raines stole three bases, and at week's end he had 45, the most in either league and five steals ahead of Brock's record pace of 1974.
Frank Taveras of the Mets (2-4) also swiped three bases in one game, a 6-2 triumph in Philadelphia.
PHIL 31-21 ST.L 28-19 PITT 25-21 MONT 27-25 NY 17-31 CHI 12-37
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
KEN FORSCH: In two shutouts—3-0 over the Blue Jays and 10-0 over the Orioles—the California righthander allowed only eight hits and ran his totals for the season to four shutouts, an 8-3 record and an ERA of 2.30.