"When you find the Lord and get Him in your heart, everything is fine," said Garry Templeton upon returning to the Cardinals (3-5). Templeton, who had undergone psychiatric care in the three weeks following his suspension for making obscene gestures on the field, was certainly reborn at the plate; he had hits in his first four at bats, stole a base and accounted for all the St. Louis runs in a 3-2 win in Montreal. Joaquin Andujar, who is 46-49 against the rest of the league, ran his record against the Expos to 9-0 by beating them 7-4 with the aid of Darrell Porter's five RBIs. The latest victim of the Cardinals' injury hex was their bat boy, who suffered a fractured kneecap when struck by a foul.
Montreal (4-4), meanwhile, was fretting over the fracture of the right hand sustained by Tim Raines. It will probably limit him to pinch-running the rest of the season. Bill Lee returned to the rotation, beat St. Louis 4-3 and lost to Chicago 2-1. As Lee himself described it, he "winked out—went nuts" after his defeat, kicking over a clubhouse blackboard and screaming as he jogged around a nearby park. Two other pitchers experienced no such frustration against Chicago: Scott Sanderson won 11-0 with a five-hitter, and Bill Gullickson was a 4-0 victor as he struck out 13 and gave up only three hits.
Just when the Mets (4-3) looked as though they would again be the Big Apple's lemon, they started playing like a top banana. Not even 15 strikeouts in eight innings by Steve Carlton of the Phillies could deter the Mets, who won 5-4 when John Stearns hit his first home run in 25 months and 769 at bats. Overcoming a bunch of Carlton whiffs was nothing new for New York, which 12 years and one day earlier had beaten him 4-3 even though he had tied a major league record with 19 strikeouts. In fact, Carlton's career record, 261-173 against the rest of the league, is only 25-28 against the Mets. New York also socked it to St. Louis 8-1, 6-2, and 7-6. The final victory in that series was achieved when Mookie Wilson walloped a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. Hubie Brooks batted .500.
September 27, 1981
While defeating the Cubs 8-2, Luis Tiant of the Pirates (2-2) struck out eight batters and hit a three-run double. Mike Easler's RBI double in the ninth, followed by two errors on one play by Phillies Leftfielder Gary Matthews, helped Pittsburgh beat Philly 7-6.
Matthews redeemed himself the next day, getting three ribbies as the Phillies (4-2) drubbed the Bucs 8-2. "I felt like Thomas Edison," said Dick Ruthven of his experiments to solve a second-season pitching breakdown that had resulted in a 6.38 ERA. Finally, after viewing tapes of himself—he found he was turning his body too much during his delivery—Ruthven adjusted his form, held the Mets to five hits and won 3-1.
Last season's batting champ, Bill Buckner of the Cubs (1-3), who was in a dreadful early-season slump, raised his average to .313. His two-run triple, plus the fine pitching of Mike Krukow and Randy Martz, took care of Montreal 2-1. Since going to the bullpen, Martz has had a 0.35 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
ST. L 21-17 MONT 20-19 NY 19-20 CHI 17-20 PHIL 17-21 PITT 16-23
By combining something old—a stance he first used 10 years ago—with something new—lifting weights—Alan Ashby has given division-leading Houston (4-3) some much needed power. Ashby, who didn't have a homer before the strike, slugged his fourth since it ended as Vern Ruhle beat the Giants 8-1. Joe Niekro defeated San Diego 9-0.
Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers (3-4) also hurled a shutout, 2-0 against the Braves, to equal the modern big league rookie record of eight set in 1913 by Ewell Russell of the White Sox. En route to his 13th triumph, Valenzuela yielded only three hits.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. That's how many pitches Johnny Bench of Cincinnati (6-1) fouled off before slamming a dramatic two-run pinch homer in the ninth for a 5-4 victory in L.A. Other clutch performers for Cincy: Charlie Leibrandt, who pitched a 4-0 win over the Astros; Joe Edelen, who provided six innings of one-hit relief in a 7-3 victory against the Dodgers; and Dave Concepcion, whose RBI single in the 10th gave Tom Seaver a 1-0 triumph over the Giants.
No, they weren't filming a Bela Lugosi chiller at Candlestick Park; it was merely one of the foggiest and eeriest nights ever there—which is saying something—as the Giants (4-3) beat the Astros 5-2. During the game Johnnie Lemaster's inside-the-park homer became a ground-rule double because, as an umpire correctly saw it, Houston Rightfielder Terry Puhl had trouble prying the ball out of a paper cup that had blown onto the field. The week's deftest bit of batwork, though, was Dave Bergman's perfect suicide bunt in the ninth that defeated the Braves 6-5.
Atlanta (2-5) also lost 4-2 in San Francisco, as bungled-up base running put two Braves on third. Giant First Baseman Enos Cabell dashed to third with the ball and tagged out Claudell Washington, who had run there from first. When the ump hollered "Out!" Brett Butler, the other Brave at third, thought the call was meant for him. So he came off the bag, and Cabell tagged him to complete a double play. Larry McWilliams ended Atlanta's five-game losing streak by beating San Diego 3-0 on two singles.
For a change, the Padres (2-5) stole some bases—four—as they beat the Braves 6-3.
HOUS 26-14 CIN 23-16 LA 22-18 SF 21-18 ATL 20-19 SD 12-29
"There's no friction between players and between players and manager," said Dan Quisenberry of the Royals (4-2). When asked how Dick Howser had brought about such harmony in just three weeks as the Kansas City skipper, Quisenberry replied, "He flew in Ann Landers." George Brett, meanwhile, was flying off the handle. Brett got into his second scuffle of the year with members of the media, a minor tiff with two reporters. Dennis Leonard didn't throw any punches, but on the night Sugar Ray Leonard pummeled Thomas Hearns, Dennis KO'd the Angels 3-1. As for Quisenberry, he earned two saves.
Although weakened by a virus, roommates Dwayne Murphy and Steve McCatty helped boost the A's (4-2) above .500. Murphy hit three home runs: a two-run drive in the eighth to give Mike Norris a 2-1 victory in Texas; a grand slam to help McCatty defeat the White Sox 10-5; and a 445-foot blast in Chicago as Rick Langford won 2-1. Dave McKay lent Murphy a hand by going on a .450 tear.
Minnesota (3-3) clung to third, thanks to two saves by Doug Corbett and clutch hits by newcomers Ron Washington and Dave Engle in 6-3 wins. Washington's two-run single highlighted a three-run eighth that beat Toronto, and Engle had four RBIs against Texas.
Bump Wills, the best little second baseman in Texas (3-3), had four hits, as did Al Oliver, during a 12-2 laugher over Oakland. And Doc Medich, the best surgeon in baseball, performed a bypass operation on Twins hitters, who swung over, under and around his pitches in a 6-0 two-hit defeat. Mickey Rivers, who batted .500, had three hits in that game.
Manager Rene Lachemann of the Mariners (3-3) twice beat the percentages when he let lefthanded batters stand in against southpaws. Lachemann, aware that Bruce Bochte had hit well against Chicago's Jerry Koosman, put him in the lineup. Bochte came through with a homer in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie and ignite an 8-4 triumph. Later, hoping "to get Danny Meyer's confidence back," Lachemann didn't lift him for a pinch swinger when lefty Paul Splittorff relieved for Kansas City. Meyer responded with his first homer of the season and the second of three in the inning for the Mariners, who won 4-1.
Four White Sox (3-3) were thumbed from one game for arguing with the umps. Chicago's loss that day to the Mariners was part of a prolonged downward spiral: 17 defeats in 22 games while tumbling from first to fifth.
The Angels (0-6) played like the Disneyland characters with whom they share Anaheim. California hitters batted like Mickey Mouse (.237), fielded like Goofy (six errors) and ran like Donald Duck (one steal).
KC 22-17 OAK 19-18 MINN 19-21 TEX 17-20 CHI 16-23 SEA 16-23 CAL 12-25
Carl Yastrzemski called it "the most unbelievable comeback I've ever seen" after Boston (6-1) scored seven runs, with two out in the eighth, to jolt New York 8-5. The final blow was a three-run homer by lefthanded hitter Rick Miller, who was swinging at a 3-0 pitch from southpaw Dave LaRoche. It was the 28th come-from-behind victory for the Red Sox, and the 16th time they had won in their last at bat. It also ended a string of nine straight Sox losses to New York at Fenway Park. The next day two homers by Tony Perez beat the Yankees 4-1 and moved Boston to within half a game of first. Carney Lansford's single in the 10th gave Dennis Eckersley a 2-1 win in the second game of a four-game sweep of Detroit. Four RBIs by Jim Rice and the pitching of Bob Ojeda enabled Boston to take the finale 6-1.
A 5-1 Sunday triumph over the Indians by Jack Morris (13-5) put the Tigers (2-5) back on top after the Brewers had been there for two days. Earlier, streaky Detroit lost five straight. Seventy-eight percent of the Tigers' wins and 62% of their losses have come in streaks of three games or more.
Moose Haas and Randy Lerch of Milwaukee (4-2) beat New York 2-1 and 3-2, respectively, as both received stellar relief from Rollie Fingers. Four innings of shutout relief by Jamie Easterly sealed a 5-1 victory over Baltimore for Pete Vuckovich (13-4).
Bennie Ayala's three-run pinch homer in the ninth carried the Orioles (3-2) past the Indians 7-6. A five-hitter by Jim Palmer plus two homers and five RBIs by Lenn Sakata took care of Milwaukee 8-2. Bobby Murcer of the Yanks (2-4) delivered in the clutch, singling in the eighth to defeat Boston 6-4.
Bo Diaz of the Indians (1-4), a prestrike .356 hitter who was hurt three games into Part II, showed he still had some wallop. His two-run homer helped defeat Detroit 8-4. For the second week in a row Joey McLaughlin of the Blue Jays (4-2) came out of the bullpen to preserve a victory for Luis Leal, this time a 4-2 win over Minnesota.
DET 24-16 BOS 23-16 MIL 24-17 BALT 21-17 NY 21-18 TOR 19-18 CLEV 18-22
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
GARRY TEMPLETON: The 25-year-old shortstop for the Cardinals returned from a three-week suspension, had 14 hits in 31 at bats (.452), scored five times, slammed three doubles, had two RBIs and stole two bases.