"He was going to become a major league pitcher that inning, or he wasn't. It was entirely up to him." So spoke Manager Sparky Anderson of the division-leading Tigers (6-1) about Dan Petry. The inning in question was the ninth in Chicago. Petry, leading 2-1, gave up a leadoff single and went to a 2-0 count on the next hitter. Anderson, old Captain Hook, would normally have yanked Petry right there, but the manager had vivid memories of removing Petry in the ninth the week before and seeing a 3-0 lead turn into a 4-3 loss. Thus, Petry stayed in, and he worked out of the jam. Four days later he defeated Texas 1-0. Detroit's 4-3 Sunday victory over Texas completed the East's two-day, 15-0 wipeout of the West.
Milwaukee (5-2) Manager Bob Rodgers didn't try to restrain himself the way Anderson did. Not with peerless Rollie (The Finishing Touch) Fingers in the bullpen. Fingers preserved Pete Vuckovich's 11th win, Mike Caldwell's ninth and Jim Slaton's sixth. Slaton had a no-hitter going into the ninth in Minnesota, but after being tagged for three hits and three runs, he gave way to Fingers, who saved the 5-3 win. All of which left Fingers with 22 saves this season and extended his big league record total to 266.
Steve Stone of the Orioles (4-3) needed more than relief help to earn his two victories. Tippy Martinez locked up Stone's two-hit, 1-0 verdict over Seattle and his 5-3 win over Oakland. It took two homers by John Lowenstein and a three-run drive by Terry Crowley to rally the Birds past the A's. They might not have won, however, had it not been for sparkling eighth-inning catches by Gary Roenicke in rightfield and Al Bumbry, who leaped above the centerfield fence to turn an apparent three-run homer by Tony Armas into an ice-cream-cone catch. When Manager Earl Weaver wasn't fretting about Jim Palmer and Mike. Flanagan, both of whom had arm troubles, he had problems of his own to ponder. Weaver was arrested and charged with four traffic violations, including drunk driving. "I probably should never get behind the wheel," said Weaver, who has had similar difficulties in the past.
September 13, 1981
Just when the Yankees (5-2) seemed to have righted themselves, shipbuilder-owner George Steinbrenner rocked the boat by firing Manager Gene Michael and rehiring former skipper Bob Lemon. New York may have to play the rest of the way without Shortstop Bucky Dent, who had surgery on a torn ligament in his right hand. Dave Righetti won 7-0 in Minnesota and 2-1 in Kansas City, where Goose Gossage picked up his 18th save. Largely because of Gossage and Ron Davis, the Yanks are 42-2 in games in which they have led going into the seventh.
Before being sidelined with a pulled hamstring, Jerry Remy of the Red Sox (4-3) went 6 for 10 during a 20-inning loss to the Mariners and batted .571. Four hits by Remy. plus 5‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of shutout relief from John Tudor, helped the Sox beat Seattle 12-5.
A pair of doubleheader sweeps put the Indians (5-2) above .500. When Cleveland twice defeated California 4-2, it was Bert Blyleven who prevailed in the opener and newcomer Tom Brennan in the second, with help from reliever Dan Spillner, who got the last 11 Angels.
Toronto (5-2) had a pair of double winners, Dave Stieb and Jim Clancy each beating both Texas and Chicago.
DET 18-9 MIL 17-11 BALT 15-11 NY 15-12 BOS 14-12 CLEV 15-13 TOR 13-12
Texas had three chances to move into first place, but the Rangers (2-5) couldn't pull the trigger. Worst of all, a shot fired by Ferguson Jenkins a week earlier ricocheted from Toronto to Arlington. What Jenkins had said after stopping the Blue Jays was: "Everybody beats Toronto." The nettled Jays made Jenkins eat crow by handing him a 3-0 loss and then beat the Rangers again, 9-3.
Billy Ball took a backseat to Oakland's newfound Long Ball. A homer and four RBIs by Dwayne Murphy decked the Indians and put the A's (3-4) in first place briefly. Steve McCatty breezed past Baltimore 10-0 with the support of four home runs, two by Tony Armas. Another blast by Armas, his league-leading 21st, plus an 11th-inning smash by Cliff Johnson, his 15th, downed the Birds 5-4. That was Oakland's 19th four-bagger in 11 games.
"For the the Royals to win, they have to run, run, run," said Dick Howser, who replaced Jim Frey as the manager in Kansas City (3-4). The Royals ran well while defeating the Brewers 3-1, Darryl Motley legging out an infield hit and U.L. Washington and Willie Wilson adding back-to-back bunt singles during the winning rally.
It was no puzzle why the White Sox (1-6) fell from first to fifth. Ron LeFlore missed a bunt sign and failed to put the possible go-ahead run in scoring position in a game Detroit won 2-1 in the ninth—with the aid of a sacrifice bunt. Three errors led to a 3-1 loss to Toronto. It took an RBI double in the ninth by Greg Luzinski to defeat the Blue Jays 4-3.
Mickey Hatcher slammed a two-run homer in the sixth, tripled in the tying run in the eighth and scored the winner on a squeeze bunt by Rob Wilfong as the Twins (1-6) beat the Yankees 4-3.
It had long been suspected that Dan Ford of the Angels (2-5) was a "corker," i.e., someone who hollows out his bat and fills it with cork. Last week the tip of Ford's bat flew off, and everyone saw that there was, indeed, cork in the barrel. Ford was ejected and may receive an added penalty from the league office.
Seattle (3-4) capitalized on clutch hitting and nifty relief pitching, both of which had been rare commodities the past two weeks. Lenny Randle's ninth-inning homer and Larry Andersen's two shutout innings beat Baltimore 4-3, ending a string of 10 defeats. Then the Mariners beat the Red Sox 8-7 in the longest game in the 69-year history of Fenway Park. Boston scored three times in the ninth to tie it at 7-7, and then both teams put up nothing except zeros for the next 10 innings before a curfew halted play at 1:16 a.m. When play resumed the next night, Dave Henderson singled with two out in the 20th and Joe Simpson tripled him home. Jim Beattie, who had hurled 10 innings without yielding an earned run two nights earlier as a starter, came in to get Jim Rice for the last out with the bases loaded, thereby earning his first-ever save as the Mariners won 8-7. Richie Zisk boosted his league-leading average to .351 with a .440 week.
KC 13-14 OAK 12-13 TEX 11-14 CAL 11-14 CHI 11-15 SEA 10-17 MINN 10-18
To err is human; to produce in the clutch divine. That was the case with Sixto Lezcano of the front-running Cardinals (3-3). A dropped fly in rightfield by Lezcano led to a 4-2 loss in San Francisco, but he redeemed himself the next two days, stroking three hits during a 5-2 victory over the Giants and then homering in the ninth to topple the Dodgers 5-3. Reliever Bruce Sutter sewed up both games with his 18th and 19th saves. As a result, St. Louis, which had played terribly on the West Coast in recent seasons, wrapped up a 6-4 trip to California.
Andre Dawson slugged five homers for the Expos (2-5), one helping Ray Burris defeat the Astros 5-2. Steve Rogers, who had a 1.45 ERA in four Part II starts, didn't pitch. That was because he suffered a cracked rib sliding into second base as a pinch runner.
Continued weak hitting cost the Cubs (1-6) three one-run losses. But Chicago ended a five-game skid by beating San Francisco 8-2 as Mike Krukow fanned 11 batters and Bill Buckner had the first Cub homer in 10 days.
Reliever Neil Allen saved both wins for New York (2-4) against Atlanta. After nailing down a 4-1 victory for rookie Greg Harris, Allen put the finishing touches on Pat Zachry's 4-2 decision. Steve Carlton of the Phillies (4-3) beat the Braves 3-0 on three hits. Gary Matthews generated all the offense, homering and driving in the three runs. Even though Carlton's scoreless-inning streak was halted at 28⅖ by Cincinnati, Philly won 5-4 when Pete Rose singled across two runs in the eighth. For the week Rose batted .433.
Pittsburgh (4-3) had three hot hitters: Mike Easier batted .478, Omar Moreno .390 and Bill Madlock .392, raising his average to .349, tops in the league. The three Bucs combined for eight hits as Luis Tiant held off San Diego 7-3. That the last-place Pirates were already looking ahead to 1982 was clear: Grant Jackson was sent to the Expos for a player to be named later, or for cash; and Phil Garner went to the Astros for Second Baseman Johnny Ray, who hit .348 this season in Triple A, and two players to be named later.
ST.L 15-9 MONT 13-12 NY 13-13 CHI 12-15 PHIL 10-16 PITT 10-18
There's nothing funny about watching the infield being spruced up in midgame, but Dodger (4-3) fans got a belly laugh when they noticed that the two men pulling a steel net to smooth out the infield were Jay Johnstone and Jerry Reuss. Both had donned groundkeeper's togs, and their prank drew a standing ovation from the crowd but $200 fines from Manager Tom Lasorda. Johnstone drew more cheers that night when he slugged a pinch-hit home run to help beat Pittsburgh 6-2. Dusty Baker, who was out of the lineup with the flu, also came through with a pinch homer, an 11th-inning shot that polished off St. Louis 4-3. Fernando Valenzuela's seventh shutout, 5-0 against the Cardinals, tied the league record for rookies. Valenzuela also kept up his robust hitting by walloping a triple that drove across three runs.
Another dramatic blast was Jack Clark's homer in the 10th that gave the Giants (4-2) a win over Chicago. Doyle Alexander needed no such help, retiring the final 20 Cubs in order as he won 12-0 on a two-hitter.
Eddie Miller stole the show—as well as three bases in the last three innings—when the Braves (2-4) rallied for two runs in the ninth to stun the Phillies 3-2. After Glenn Hubbard tripled, Miller singled and stole second and third. Then, after George Vukovich caught a 200-foot foul along the rightfield line, Miller broke for home and beat the throw to score the gamer.
Houston (6-1), which started the week in a four-way tie for first, broke away from the pack and ran its winning streak to nine games before losing to Montreal. Alan Ashby batted .513, Bob Knepper blanked the Mets 7-0, and Nolan Ryan went seven innings in a 5-0 victory over the Expos. Ryan (1.29) and Knepper (1.80) remained 1-2 in the league ERA race, in which the top five contenders are all from the West. The others: San Francisco's Vida Blue (2.14), Cincinnati's Tom Seaver (2.23) and L.A.'s Burt Hooton (2.29).
Seaver, with last-inning help from Joe Price following a rain delay, defeated Montreal 7-0. Ray Knight of the Reds (4-3) had hits in the ninth to beat the Expos 9-8 and the Phillies 5-4. George Foster had only six hits but drove in 10 runs.
"They don't quit," said Pirate Coach Bob Skinner after the Padres (4-3) overcame a 4-0 deficit and won 5-4. Tim Flannery had a pinch single in the decisive rally that day; earlier he had another single, in the 10th, and scored after singles by Juan Bonilla and Terry Kennedy as San Diego beat the Cubs 5-4.
HOU 18-9 SF 16-10 LA 16-11 ATL 14-12 CIN 13-13 SD 8-20
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
JOHN DENNY: The Cleveland righthander defeated both the A's and Angels 2-0, giving him three straight shutouts. He yielded only seven hits and fanned 15 while improving his record to 7-4 and trimming his ERA to 2.80.