"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart." Willie Aikens of the Royals (5-1) said he drew strength from those words in Psalm 34:18 during his 2-for-26 slump. Aikens broke out of the doldrums with three home runs. Dennis Leonard perked up, too. Winless for three weeks and 1-8 at home, Leonard beat California 5-3 in K.C. and won 4-0 in Oakland. Willie Wilson's single in the 12th gave the Royals a 6-5 Sunday victory over the A's and sole possession of first place.
Psalm 34 also says, "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger." That was true of the White Sox (2-5), some of whom aren't young but all of whom were hungry after Manager Tony LaRussa paid an attendant $100 to remove the postgame food from the clubhouse following a 3-1 loss in Minnesota. "It was expensive, but it was the only way to make my point," said LaRussa, who didn't explain exactly what his point was. Greg Luzinski, though, had a feast—at least at the expense of opposing pitchers—as he batted .448.
Troubles. Mike Norris of the A's (3-3) had them before facing the Rangers. First, a friend who was driving him to the park was involved in a minor accident. At Oakland Coliseum Norris, who didn't have any identification with him, had a hard time convincing the security officers to let him in. When he finally suited up, it was 15 minutes before game time. But that was the night Norris got his screwball back in working order, and he came out on top 2-1 for his 10th win. Steve McCatty also beat Texas, 3-0.
September 20, 1981
The Rangers (3-3) were two outs from a 4-3 loss to the A's when an error on a sure double-play grounder gave them a new life; they took advantage of that blunder to score six times for a 9-4 triumph. Texas, which had lost eight of its 10 previous games, then won its next two outings in California. Pat Putnam's four hits—two of them homers—and four RBIs abetted an 11-6 romp over California, and then Rick Honeycutt beat the Angels 3-2 for his 10th victory.
Minnesota (6-0) pitchers, who had a 3.99 ERA for the season, had a 1.83 ERA. Doug Corbett contributed eight shutout innings of relief and had four saves. Darrell Jackson struck out nine Blue Jays in 6⅖ innings of a 4-0 win before giving way to Corbett. Rookie Brad Havens made it two in a row over Toronto, prevailing 1-0 when Glenn Adams and Rob Wilfong doubled in the ninth.
Tom Paciorek's .458 hitting and the pitching of rookies Larry Andersen and Bob Stoddard lifted Seattle (3-3) out of the cellar. Andersen got two saves, one as he locked up Stoddard's 3-1 triumph over the White Sox.
"This has been the most frustrating week of my career," complained California (1-5) Manager Gene Mauch. What made it a bummer was that the Angels fell into last place.
KC 18-15 OAK 15-16 MINN 16-18 TEX 14-17 CHI 13-20 SEA 13-20 CAL 12-19
Jack Morris of first-place Detroit (4-2) was on target when he beat Boston 3-1 with a two-hitter, but when he rushed off the mound to acknowledge Rick Leach's high five he completely missed his teammate's hand. Congratulations were also in order for Dan Schatzeder, who tossed 6‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of one-hit relief to defeat Cleveland 6-3, and for Lance Parrish, who finished off the Indians 11-9 with a two-run homer in the 12th inning.
Rookie lefthander Bob Ojeda of the Red Sox (3-3) went into the ninth at Yankee Stadium with a no-hitter, but Rick Cerone and Dave Winfield opened the inning with pinch doubles. Mark Clear preserved the 2-1 triumph for Ojeda, who is 5-2 and has a 2.67 ERA. Earlier in the week Ojeda had held Detroit to only one hit in 7‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings.
Dave Righetti of New York (4-2) was another rookie lefthander who continued to excel, fanning 11 Bosox in seven innings and winning 4-1 with relief from Goose Gossage. That left Righetti with a 6-2 record and a 1.59 ERA. Graig Nettles hit .500 and slugged three home runs, and Yankee pitchers kept up their fine work. During Part II the New York staff has given up only seven hits a game, struck out 199 and fashioned a 2.05 ERA.
John Denny of Cleveland (2-5) and Dennis Martinez of Baltimore (3-4) also maintained their form. Denny had his string of scoreless innings broken at 34⅖ but struck out 10 Orioles in 7⅖ innings and won 4-1. Martinez earned his 12th victory, 2-1 over Milwaukee. Al Bumbry hit .462 and Eddie Murray spiced his .423 average with 10 RBIs.
Toronto (2-4) twice blanked Seattle, Luis Leal and Joey McLaughlin combining for a 2-0 victory and Dave Stieb winning 3-0.
Brewer President Bud Selig couldn't stand his team's shoddy play any longer. So, after the Brewers (3-4) made four errors in one inning, Selig turned off the game telecast in his private box and watched the Miami-Pittsburgh football contest.
DET 22-11 NY 19-14 MIL 20-15 BALT 18-15 BOS 17-15 CLEV 17-18 TOR 15-16
Those were not dogs barking. Those were yells of "Roof-Roof-Roof" by St. Louis fans, who were turned on by Gene Roof, a 23-year-old outfielder just up from the minors. Roof was on top of things during a 4-2 victory over New York; he had two hits, an RBI, scored once and stole a base. That ended a five-game skid by the first-place Cardinals (3-3), who defeated the Mets 4-2 again when seldom-used Julio Gonzalez slammed a two-run homer in the 13th.
"Earlier in the year we might have found a way to lose this game," Catcher Jody Davis said after the Cubs (4-2) hung on to defeat the Expos 6-5. Montreal trailed 5-0 after two innings but had narrowed the score to 6-5 and had men on first and third with none out in the ninth. Willie Hernandez struck out Warren Cromartie and Tim Raines, and Davis applied the finishing touch to a game-ending double play by gunning down Wallace Johnson on an attempted steal of second. The Cubs, last and least at the end of Part I, were third and snarling. The turf in St. Louis may have been ersatz, but the Cubs were for real as they broke an 0-for-17 streak on artificial grass by sweeping three games by scores of 10-0, 4-3 and 7-3. Bobby Bonds slugged a pair of home runs as Doug Bird breezed through the opener with a three-hitter and then hit two more in the finale.
After replacing Dick Williams as the manager of the Expos (3-3), Jim Fanning told his team there was "a pot of gold out there for the winning." Jeff Reardon went after the pot like a 49er, hurling five innings of hitless relief as he earned two saves.
Neil Allen's 16th save came as the Mets (2-5) held off the Pirates 3-1. And Ray Sear-age's first save came when he retired the last five Bucs in order to lock up a 5-3 triumph for Terry Leach, who had pitched 3‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings of runless relief.
Philadelphia (3-3), the only Part I winner currently out of contention, finally got some solid hitting. Garry Maddox drove in nine runs, five as the Expos were shelled 10-5. Philly then battled from behind three times and defeated Montreal 11-8 on a three-run homer in the eighth by Gary Matthews.
Jason Thompson of the Pirates (4-3) batted .171 before the strike but has hit .306 in Part II. Thompson hit a two-run pinch single in the eighth on Sunday to defeat Philadelphia 3-2 and top off a spree in which he reached base 22 times in 26 at bats.
St.L 18-12 MONT 16-15 CHI 16-17 NY 15-18 PHIL 13-19 PITT 14-21
"You have to love September," said Don Sutton of the division-leading Astros (4-2). Downplaying the pressure of the Part II pennant race. Sutton added, "I'm really having fun." Sutton's fun came at the expense of the Giants, whom he blanked 5-0. For going into the stands in Atlanta to confront fans who had viciously heckled him for two days, Cesar Cedeno was fined $5,000 by the league.
Game-winning RBIs, which were added to game statistics last season, don't always reflect clutch-hitting ability. Batters can, for example, earn a gamer by driving in a run with an early-inning groundout in what winds up a 1-0 contest, or by punching across the first run in a 14-0 rout. Chris Chambliss of the Braves (4-2), though, had two hits that were true gamers—a two-run double in the ninth that overcame Houston 3-2, and a homer in the 11th that beat San Diego 5-4.
Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes. Bill Russell and Ron Cey have been the regular infielders for Los Angeles (3-3) since June 1973; theirs is believed to be the longest unbroken tenure ever for an infield. But age, injuries and other woes may be breaking up that old Dodger gang. Garvey, 32, is eligible to become a free agent at the end of the 1982 season, and the Dodgers may well decide not to pay him the megabucks he'll want because by then Mike Marshall—he led the league with 34 homers, 137 RBIs and a .373 average at Albuquerque this season—should be ready. Lopes, 35, is hitting only .202. Russell, 32, recently learned he has played for at least three years with a stress fracture of his right foot that will require surgery. And Cey, 33, may miss the rest of the season because of a cracked bone in his left forearm. Before Tom Lasorda can say tortellini à la panna, the L.A. infield may have Marshall at first, Jack Perconte at second, Steve Sax at short and Pedro Guerrero at third. And there are rumors that Cardinal Shortstop Garry Templeton may become a Dodger, too.
Johnny Bench of the Reds (4-2) continued to prove his durability. Bench, who suffered a broken ankle in May, homered twice to defeat the Padres 8-7 and the next day beat them 5-4 by swatting another round-tripper and then singling in the clinching run in the ninth. Ron Oester also came through when it counted, homering in the 10th to defeat L.A. 3-2.
"I need a phone booth—not to call anybody, just to hide in," said Vida Blue of the Giants (1-5). Blue was blue because of a short-distance performance (three innings) in which Houston hitters had his number.
Manager Frank Howard of the Padres (2-4) may have wanted to hide, too, after three one-run setbacks. If Howard does seek refuge, it won't be in a phone booth. The word is that he may be getting the call that all managers dread—the one that says you're fired.
HOU 22-11 LA 19-14 ATL 18-14 CIN 17-15 SF 17-15 SD 10-24
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BOB HORNER: The slugging third baseman for the Atlanta Braves batted .565, walloped his eighth and ninth home runs, drove across five runs and stole a base. He raised his batting average for the season 31 points to .286.