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THE WEEK (Aug. 17-23)

Aug. 31, 1981
Aug. 31, 1981

Table of Contents
Aug. 31, 1981

Swiss Clockwork
The Tigers
College Football 1981

THE WEEK (Aug. 17-23)

NL WEST

This is an article from the Aug. 31, 1981 issue Original Layout

Tommy Boggs, Claudell Washington, Brian Asselstine and Rick Camp are becoming household names in Atlanta (4-3). Boggs, 1-10 before the strike, won his second straight game in Part 2 as he beat New York 5-2 with the support of a three-run pinch homer by Asselstine. Camp's four saves gave him a total of 13, and Washington hit .385. When it came to names, though, Peachtree Street was celebrating newcomer Brett (Gone with the Wind) Butler, a 24-year-old outfielder who came up from the minors and promptly scored two runs and drove in another during a 6-4 triumph over the Mets.

Three saves by Greg Minton of the Giants (4-2) gave him 14. Minton, who has added a changeup to go with his sinker, was also a 5-1 victor in Pittsburgh, Joe Morgan's three-run double breaking an 11th-inning deadlock.

Burt Hooton and Jerry Reuss of the Dodgers (3-3) pitched four-hit shutouts against former teams, the Cubs and Cardinals, respectively. "Reuss is the hardest-throwing lefthander in the league," said Keith Hernandez of St. Louis. "He simply overpowered us." Fernando Valenzuela was no slouch, either, striking out 12 Cardinals and giving up just four hits in 8⅖ innings. Dave Stewart came on to get the last out of that 3-2 victory, one that gave Valenzuela a 10-4 record.

Two Nolans excelled. Joe Nolan of the Reds (3-2) batted .467 and drove in eight runs, four in a 6-3 triumph over Philadelphia and two in Mario Soto's 2-0 defeat of New York. And Nolan Ryan of the Astros (2-4) fired five innings of hitless ball in a 9-1 win over Montreal. Punchless San Diego (2-5) remained mired in the basement.

ATL 9-5 HOUS 7-6 SF 7-6 LA 7-6 CIN 6-6 SD 3-11

NL EAST

What were a singer and a belly dancer doing in the Montreal clubhouse? Well, it was Ray Burris' 31st birthday. Ray's wife phoned Woodie Fryman and asked him to do something special, so Fryman arranged for a singing telegram and the hip-shaker. The Braves spoiled the party somewhat by knocking Burris out in four innings, but the Expos (3-4) rallied for a 5-4 victory. John Milner, just obtained from the Pirates in exchange for Willie Montanez, had the big blow for Montreal, a three-run homer. Another three-run blast, by Gary Carter in the 11th, finished off Atlanta 4-1. Carter had missed three games because of an injured right leg. "The pain was excruciating," he said. "I thought I was going to faint. But if you're going to be a catcher, you've got to be a dog."

Gene Tenace's pinch single in the ninth carried first-place St. Louis (3-3) past the Padres 7-6. Catcher Darrell Porter didn't have any big hits, but his mere presence behind the plate provided encouragement; Porter had been out of commission since early May, when he tore a rotator cuff in his right shoulder. On Sunday, Porter had two of the Cardinals' 20 hits as they beat L.A. 11-7.

With Neil Allen chalking up two saves and a win, and with Dave Kingman walloping three home runs, the Mets (3-3) remained pesky. Kingman slugged two homers as Ed Lynch and Allen blanked Atlanta 4-0, and his grand slam in the eighth beat Cincinnati 7-4. The Mets signed 1974 Cy Young Award winner Mike Marshall, who hadn't pitched since his release by the Twins 14 months ago, and used him in relief four straight days. He gave up six hits and three runs in 3‚Öì innings.

"I think I've stayed in Pittsburgh three years too long," said Dave Parker of the Pirates (4-3). The 1978 MVP was hitting .251 and has been booed lustily by hometown fans. Parker, though, was cheered when his three-run homer helped defeat the Padres 4-2. Two other Bucs were more consistent: Omar Moreno hit .480, and Bill Madlock's .462 week pushed him into the league lead at .337.

Unlike Marshall and Parker, two Cubs with distinguished pasts did well. Three hits by Bobby Bonds helped Chicago (3-3) topple Los Angeles 4-3. And Doug Bird, who said he "stayed drunk for a week" after being traded by the Yankees in June, hurled his first complete game in five years while defeating the Dodgers 3-1.

"This team thrives on emotion," said Larry Bowa of the Phillies (3-2). Manager Dallas Green stirred up those emotions with a 30-minute locker room talk after the club's midweek fall into the cellar. Next time out, the Phils gunned down two runners at the plate, played aggressively and beat the Astros 5-4 with the aid of Bowa's two-out, two-run single in the seventh. Four home runs, two by Keith Moreland, overpowered Houston 8-4. Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw wrapped up the series sweep with a three-hit 6-0 victory, in which Mike Schmidt unloaded a grand slam. Those three losses gave Houston a 40-101 record in Philly since entering the league in 1962.

ST.L 7-4 NY 8-5 MONT 6-6 CHI 6-7 PITT 6-8 PHIL 5-7

AL WEST

Larry Gura, the guru of assorted breaking pitches, baffled the Yankees again as the Royals (2-4) won 4-0. Since being traded by New York to K.C. in 1976 for Catcher Fran Healy, who two years later retired to become a Yankee radio broadcaster, Gura has gone 8-1 against the Yankees, beating them the last seven times and holding a 2.38 ERA against them. And he's done all that despite throwing a fastball that, at best, is a slowball. "It's like this guy we hired to cut down 55 walnut trees on our farm," Gura says. "He told us his equipment doesn't look like much but it gets the job done." George Brett didn't get much done, his average for the Second Season dropping to .163. After Dan Quisenberry picked up his 11th save by getting the final four outs in a 5-3 victory over Toronto, he said, "The thing I got most excited about today was forming the world's only Q-initialed battery with Jamie Quirk."

Britt Burns of the White Sox (4-2) spent most of his time in Birmingham at the bedside of his father, who was critically injured in an auto accident. When it was his turn to pitch, Burns flew to New York and Toronto, and homers by Greg Luzinski helped him win both games. Luzinski homered again Sunday as the Sox had 21 hits, whipped Toronto 13-2 and moved into first place.

Tony Armas, first in the league in RBIs with 53 and tied for first in home runs with 17, downtowned four balls to briefly put the A's (3-3) atop the West. One of Armas' drives, a two-run clout in the seventh, made Rick Langford a 2-0 winner over Baltimore; another, a bases-empty blast in the 14th, sent a Red Sox-A's game into the 15th inning and Oakland prevailed 3-2 on a wild pitch.

The Rangers (2-4) need solid relief work from Jim Kern, and last week got it as Kern tripled his total saves for the season by locking up 8-6 and 4-1 wins over the Brewers.

Bobby Grich's hitting streak ended at 21 games, but some of his Angel (4-2) teammates began to unlimber their lumber. Don Baylor, who began the week with a .187 average, doubled twice and homered to knock off Baltimore 6-2. Rod Carew, who hit .464, went 5 for 5 during a 12-2 drubbing of Cleveland as Ken Forsch became the majors' first 10-game winner. Dan Ford had five RBIs one night, then beat the Indians 3-2 the next when he homered in the ninth and hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th.

When the Mariners (1-5) returned home from Minnesota at the start of the week, they discovered that their baggage had been routed to Alaska. The gear was found, but Seattle lost its winning touch and fell from first to third. Bullpens made the difference: The Mariner relief corps gave up 14 earned runs in 25‚Öì innings, while opposing relievers yielded only one earned run in 30‚Öì innings.

Minnesota's troubles were more deep-rooted. The Twins (1-5), who have the worst record in either league, again were stung by the words of owner Calvin Griffith, who 1) labeled the entire team "scabs," for some unknown reason; 2) said Third Baseman John Castino "has let us down so much it's unbelievable"; and 3) angered injured switch hitter Roy Smalley by saying, "I hear he played golf righthanded during the strike. Why can't he bat righthanded?" Ron Jackson was the Twins' RBI leader, but Griffith, who was irate when the outfielder-first baseman won a $200,000 salary-arbitration dispute last winter, peddled him to Detroit for a player to be named later.

CHI 8-5 OAK 7-5 SEA 7-7 KC 6-8 CAL 5-7 TEX 5-7 MINN 4-10

AL EAST

The Orioles (3-3) continued to get the daylights knocked out of them. A 2-0 loss to the A's wasn't a humiliation, but it left Baltimore 8-15 in games played in daylight. And Mike Flanagan encountered his usual misfortune in Anaheim. Last week, with the score 1-1 and two out in the bottom of the fourth, Oriole outfielders John Lowenstein and Al Bumbry pursued a fly ball. Sensing a collision, both backed off and the ball dropped for a triple, touching off a four-run uprising and a 6-3 loss to the Angels. Two nights later, Lowenstein and Bumbry each had two hits as Jim Palmer beat Oakland 4-2. Detroit (page 26) took over the division lead by winning all six of its games. Rollie Fingers kept Milwaukee (3-3) alive as he saved a 3-1 victory in Texas, beat Minnesota 4-3 and then preserved Sunday's 8-5 win over the Twins.

Boston (4-2) got spotless relief pitching from Mark Clear and Bob Stanley. Clear twice pitched two hitless innings, saving a 6-4 triumph in Oakland and a 5-3 win in Seattle. Stanley tossed 62⅖ innings of scoreless ball against the Mariners and won 7-4 when Joe Rudi and Jim Rice slammed two-run homers in the ninth. Rice gladly agreed to Manager Ralph Houk's suggestion that he relinquish his cleanup role and return to the No. 3 spot in the lineup. "At No. 4 they were pitching around me," Rice said. In his first five games after the shift, Rice had 11 hits in 22 at bats.

The Blue Jays (3-3) hadn't beaten the Royals in more than a year, but did so twice in two days. The slumping Danny Ainge had three hits and Barry Bonnell broke an 0-for-23 streak with two RBI singles in a 5-3 Toronto win; then Lloyd Moseby had six RBIs in a 9-4 Toronto romp. Moseby later gave Toronto a 5-4 win over Chicago with a two-out homer in the last of the ninth.

Mike Stanton of the Indians (3-3) permitted only one hit in 5⅖ innings of relief in Seattle and won 6-5. The Tribe tied that game with a three-run ninth and won it on Alan Bannister's hit in the 14th.

"We've got the highest-paid team in baseball and we're not getting our money's worth," said owner George Steinbrenner as he canceled a scheduled Yankee (3-3) off day. Maybe so, George, but Jerry Mumphrey earned his bread by batting .462. So did pitchers Ron Guidry, Rick Reuschel and George Frazier. During a 4-0 win over Chicago, Guidry fanned seven in six innings and Frazier struck out five in the final three. Reuschel won his first game as a New Yorker by stifling the Royals 5-0, Frazier providing him with 2‚Öì innings of solid relief. On Sunday, Guidry fanned seven in seven innings during an 8-0 romp over K.C.

DET 10-3 MIL 9-6 TOR 7-6 BALT 7-6 BOS 7-6 NY 6-7 CLEV 5-10

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

BRITT BURNS: The 22-year-old White Sox lefty didn't allow a run in 16 innings as he beat New York 4-1 and Toronto 8-0. The wins raised his record to 8-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.56, second best among AL starters.