This is an article from the Sept. 7, 1981 issue
Two banjo hitters—Rich Dauer and Jose Morales of the Orioles (4-2) came through like bongo drummers as they walloped homers that twice beat the Mariners. Dauer, who has averaged one home run per 23 games during the last five seasons, hit two and drove across five runs as the O's beat Seattle 12-8. Morales, who has averaged one homer per 28 games during eight seasons, jolted the Mariners 6-5 with a three-run shot as a pinch hitter. Also helping to boost Baltimore up to second place were Al Bumbry, who hit .407; Scott McGregor, whose eighth consecutive triumph over California made him 9-3 for the season; and Dennis Martinez, who stopped the Angels 4-3 for his 10th victory.
Detroit (2-5) and Milwaukee (3-3) had trouble scoring. The little oomph in the division-leading Tiger attack was supplied by Kirk Gibson, who batted .500, and by Lance Parrish, whose single in the 10th decked Kansas City 4-3. Jack Morris improved his record to 10-4 by cooling off the Twins 6-1 on Sunday. Cecil Cooper had three RBIs as the Brewers defeated the White Sox 5-4, three more as they downed the Rangers 6-3. Two wins by Pete Vuckovich made him 10-3, and two saves by Rollie Fingers gave him 19.
Until they pummeled the White Sox 12-2 Saturday, the Yankees (4-3) didn't generate much offense either. Bobby Murcer was off his rocker—the one he keeps in the clubhouse. Murcer came through with two pinch hits, a homer in that 12-2 romp and a single in the eighth that beat the Twins 3-2. Ron Guidry (9-3) broke the little finger on his (non-pitching) right hand but continued his superb hurling with six strong innings during a 6-1 triumph over Chicago—eight strikeouts, three hits and one run, which ended his scoreless-inning streak at 23. In 24‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings during Part II, Guidry has given up just the one run and 12 hits while fanning 30 and going 4-0.
Boston (3-3) extended its two-season string of Fenway Park victories over Oakland to 10 by beating the A's three times. Dwight Evans climaxed a comeback from a 5-1 deficit with a two-run homer in the eighth that stunned the A's 6-5 and made a winner of Bob Stanley, who hurled six innings of shutout relief; rookie lefthander Bob Ojeda coasted to his third win in four starts with a 12-5 victory; and Carney Lansford's four RBIs led to a 7-6 win.
Cleveland (5-1) also found a patsy, beating Seattle four times. Bert Blyleven's pitching and Jorge Orta's four RBIs scuttled the Mariners 12-2, and then John Denny won 1-0 with the aid of an RBI single in the ninth by Rick Manning, who hit .410. Manning also had two hits, scored twice, drove in a run and stole a base as the Indians won again, 7-3. Making it four straight on Sunday was no easy task, for the Indians were outhit 20-16 by the Mariners and trailed 10-4 in the seventh inning before they got into the swing of this slugfest. It took a 10-run eighth-inning uprising to put the Tribe in front for keeps and on the way to a rousing 17-11 triumph. Manning had two hits and Duane Kuiper two runs batted in as Len Barker's three-hitter stopped Oakland 2-0.
It took some help from the opposition for the Blue Jays (1-4) to snap their five-game losing streak. The decisive run in a 4-3 victory over the Royals came when Jorge Bell, who went in to run after Otto Velez had doubled in the eighth inning, scored from third on a passed ball.
DET 12-8 BALT 11-8 MIL 12-9 BOS 10-9 NY 10-10 CLEV 10-11 TOR 8-10
For the past few years the Twins (5-2) have had good reason to believe the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Last week, however, they found that some pretty good blades had sprouted in their own backyard: First Baseman Kent Hrbek, 21, who grew up right there in Bloomington, and Catcher Tim Laudner, 23, who's from the Twin Cities suburb of Brooklyn Center. Both homered in their first big league games. Hrbek hit his in the 12th to defeat New York 3-2 at Yankee Stadium; Laudner went Hrbek one better, becoming the third player ever to homer in each of his first two contests. (The other two: Joe Cunningham for the Cardinals in 1954, and Joe Lefebvre for the Yankees last season.) Hrbek was the Class A California League's MVP this year, batting .380 and slugging 27 homers; Laudner led the AA Southern League with 42 home runs, the most by anyone in organized baseball. The Twins started a three-game sweep of the Tigers with a 4-3 win on four runs in the bottom of the ninth, the final pair on Pete Mackanin's two-out single.
Jerry Koosman, who grew up in Appleton, Minn., gave the Twins a further boost with two saves. Koosman, 37, only so-so (3-9, 5.01 ERA) as a starter this year, may have found a new career in the bullpen. During the second season he has picked up five saves and has not allowed an earned run in 15 innings of relief. But on Sunday the Twins traded Koosman to Chicago (2-4) for $150,000, two minor leaguers and a player to be named later. Koosman agreed to the deal after the White Sox extended his contract through 1982 and gave him a $100,000 signing bonus. Chicago's Dennis Lamp had a no-hitter for eight innings, but Robin Yount led off the ninth for the Brewers with a bloop double; Lamp was a 5-1 winner. Britt Burns ran his string of scoreless innings to 24 and lowered his ERA to 2.39, second in the league to Lamp, when he shut out the Yankees for seven innings before rain interrupted play. When the game resumed, Greg Luzinski hit a three-run homer minutes before another deluge ended the contest and gave reliever Lamarr Hoyt a 3-1 victory.
The Texas (4-2) bullpen got a chance to rest, thanks to three straight complete-game wins in a row: Doc Medich and Ferguson Jenkins won 3-0 and 6-1, respectively, in Toronto, and Danny Darwin held off Milwaukee 5-1. Powering the offense were Al Oliver, who hit .375, and Buddy Bell, who batted .545 and had seven RBIs, giving him a league-leading 56.
Reliever Dan Quisenberry of the Royals (4-2) had his hitless streak broken after 11‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings but notched two saves. Three homers by Willie Aikens and a pair of game-winning hits by seldom-used Rance Mulliniks also perked up Kansas City. "Hal McRae calls me Mascot," Mulliniks pointed out. "He says I'm here on scholarship. Well, maybe I've earned it now."
The Angels (4-2) stole seven bases during an 8-7 triumph over the Red Sox, but it was not until Bobby Grich singled in the 10th that the outcome was settled. That was one of nine RBIs for Grich, who connected for four home runs. Rick Burleson batted .476. California defeated Baltimore 7-1 on Sunday behind Andy Hassler's five innings of sparkling relief and three home runs by the Angels.
Oakland's 3.14 ERA is the league's best, but the A's (2-4) were shelled once again at Fenway Park, where their ERA is a blimpy 6.43. Despite outhomering the Red Sox 6-1, the A's lost to them 6-5, 12-5 and 7-6 before winning their first in 11 tries there, 5-3, thanks to three more homers. Before coming east, Oakland floored Cleveland 16-4 with a 20-hit, three-homer assault.
The Mariners (0-6) had a 10-game losing streak that dropped them from second all the way to seventh. Seattle couldn't blame Richie Zisk, who hit .474 and raised his season's average to .342, the highest in the league.
CHI 10-9 KC 10-10 TEX 9-9 CAL 9-9 OAK 9-9 MINN 9-12 SEA 7-13
"We want the day to come when other teams say, 'The Padres are the smartest team in baseball,' " said San Diego General Manager Jack McKeon. "We have to teach our young players how to do all the little things it takes to win the close games." Little things, big things, the Padres (1-6) had difficulty doing any of them right as they dropped four one-run contests and lowered their record in that category to 6-22. Only three Padres were productive: Luis Salazar, whose .500 week raised his average to .313; Juan Bonilla, who batted .393; and Ruppert Jones, who drove in seven runs. Those three players combined for seven hits on Sunday as San Diego snapped its seven-game losing streak by knocking off the Cardinals 9-6.
Manager Frank Robinson came down hard on the Giants (5-2) for failing to concentrate and for being picked off bases. One of several players who took exception to the scolding was Jack Clark, who said of Robinson, "He's made a lot of managing mistakes, but nobody gets down on him." Clark's four RBIs beat the Pirates 5-4 in 13 innings, Ed Whitson's four-hitter subdued Pittsburgh 5-1 and Tom Griffin blanked the Bucs 5-0.
The Dodgers (5-2) didn't need any lectures. In fact, they played the kind of ball teams such as the Padres dream of: They made just four errors, pulled off 12 double plays and stole six bases. Hitting? Los Angeles had plenty, including .316 batting by the pitchers and a .467, seven-RBI week by Ron Cey. Pitching? The Dodgers got a five-hit shutout from Burt Hooton and a four-hitter from Fernando Valenzuela, Hooton's second straight whitewashing being a 3-0 win at Pittsburgh. Valenzuela struck out 10 Cubs in a 6-0 victory, his sixth shutout.
Art Howe was the main cog in the Houston (5-2) offense, driving in five runs as the Astros bombed the Mets 9-3 and hammering two doubles in a 6-1 defeat of Philadelphia. Howe also doubled in the ninth and scored the tying run against Philadelphia on a single by Harry Spilman; Houston won that game 3-2 in the 10th on a two-bagger by Tony Scott and a single by Craig Reynolds. A couple of pitchers named Smith helped account for a doubleheader sweep of the Phils; Dave Smith went the final 2⅖ innings in the 6-1 opener, and Billy Smith worked the first seven innings of the 2-1 nightcap, kept Philly scoreless and won his first major league start. The Astros wrapped up a four-game sweep of the Phillies by winning 5-4 when Jose Cruz drove in the tie-breaker in the 10th that left Houston tied for first with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Five RBIs by Chris Chambliss and a grand slam by Bruce Benedict powered the Braves (3-3) past the Phillies 12-2. "You wanna talk some hitting?" Pete Rose of the Phils yelled to Atlanta rookie Brett Butler. After listening to Rose for 30 minutes, Butler led off the game with a triple and then singled in a run in the 10th as the Braves prevailed 5-3.
Bruce Berenyi fanned 23 Mets in two outings, but because of feeble hitting by the Reds (they batted .224 while losing four of seven games), the best he could do was split: a 2-0 victory and a 3-2 loss. Tom Seaver slapped out two hits of his own and drove in a run while beating New York 5-2.
SF 12-8 ATL 12-8 LA 12-8 HOU 12-8 CIN 9-10 SD 4-17
"Right now there's nothing to laugh about in Mudville, but it will all come together," philosophized Steve Rogers of the Expos (5-1) after two errors cost him a 2-1 loss to the Braves two weeks ago. Immediately thereafter, it all did come together for Montreal: The fielders made only two errors, the hitters hit, the runners zipped around the bases and the pitchers were tagged for only four runs. Gary Carter went 7 for 10 with 11 RBIs during a three-game sweep of Cincinnati in which the Expos outscored the Reds 27-1. Bill Gullickson blanked Cincy 6-0, and Ray Burris gave up only one hit in eight innings as he defeated the Reds 12-0. Rogers made it three straight shutouts when he held off Atlanta 3-0. Tim Raines, who like Carter had an injured ankle, missed two games but stole seven bases in the other four. That gave Raines 61 stolen bases, the most ever by a rookie. Andre Dawson also was on the go, stealing six bases and raising his total to 22.
Although Garry Templeton was suspended indefinitely (page 28), the Cardinals (5-2) clung to first place. Mike Ramsey replaced Templeton at shortstop, turned in a number of dazzling fielding plays and also drove in two vital runs during a 6-5 victory in San Diego. Keith Hernandez hit .444 and George Hendrick spiced his .433 spree with nine RBIs, one on a homer in the 13th that knocked off the Padres 3-2. Venerable Jim Kaat pitched 3‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of runless relief, won twice and improved his record to 6-2.
"I've never been in a pennant race before in September," said reliever Neil Allen of the Mets (3-4) near the end of August. Allen kept New York in contention with his 12th and 13th saves. Mike Marshall picked up two victories, the first when Mookie Wilson homered in the eighth to beat Houston 2-1. Stolen bases by Lee Mazzilli, Alex Trevino and Frank Taveras all led to runs as the Mets downed the Reds 3-2.
Even the Cubs (5-2) got into the act, climbing into a tie for second place for a day. Chicago overcame San Diego 9-8, tying the score with two out in the ninth on Bill Buckner's two-run single and winning in the 11th on Mike Tyson's double. Buckner, often criticized for failing to drive in runs, had two other big ribbies during a 3-1 triumph in Los Angeles. The Cubs even hit some homers. Leon Durham slugged two—the first ending an 82-inning homer drought—in a 9-7 win over the Padres. Rookie Jody Davis had three hits and drove in both runs as Doug Bird and Dick Tidrow combined to defeat the Dodgers 2-1 on Sunday.
"I know the guys are down, but I'm not sure they're angry enough," said Harding Peterson, the executive vice-president of the Pirates (0-7), who fell into the cellar. The Phillies—at least Manager Dallas Green—were plenty angry, but it didn't help. "For your language and actions, including making physical contact with and removing the hat and kicking same of Umpire Steve Fields...you are hereby suspended for five games...and fined $1,000." That was the telegram Green received from the league office after disputing a call by Fields during a game the Phillies (1-6) took from the Braves 7-5 on Manny Trillo's homer in the 13th.
ST.L 12-6 MONT 11-7 CHI 11-9 NY 11-9 PHIL 6-13 PITT 6-15
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
GARY CARTER: Despite a bruised muscle in his right ankle, the Montreal catcher batted .444, drove across 13 runs and hit his 10th, 11th and 12th homers of the season, one of them a grand slam against Cincinnati.