The Philadelphia (4-3) bats, which of late had seemed as badly cracked as the Liberty Bell, finally began to resound. Big. As in an 11-run inning, the major leagues' biggest such outburst of the season, in a 14-6 drubbing of St. Louis. The Phillies had nine straight hits over two innings that night, the longest streak of that sort in the league since 1930. Even reliever Sparky Lyle had a hit last week and the first stolen base of his 16-year career. But the biggest bopper was Gary Matthews, who drove in 12 runs and hit .435. That gave Matthews 31 RBIs in his last 26 games. In a week replete with superb pitching—there were nine shutouts in the National League—one of the finest performances was Steve Carlton's 10 scoreless innings during a 17-inning, 1-0 loss in Montreal. Carlton yielded only three hits, and his 12 strikeouts pushed him past Bob Gibson for a career league record of 3,128. Meanwhile, the race for first came down to a battle between the Expos and Cardinals (page 32).
Leon Durham and Ty Waller, who came to Chicago (4-3) in the off-season trade that sent Bruce Sutter to St. Louis, both homered during a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals. Steve Henderson's RBI single helped beat his former Met teammates 2-1. And Jody Davis, once a New York farmhand, hit one of four Cub homers during a 10-9 defeat of the Mets. Durham and Waller also slugged four-baggers that day, and Bobby Bonds broke a 9-9 deadlock when he unloaded in the eighth.
Jason Thompson's fourth home run in live games, a three-run blast, enabled Pittsburgh (2-5) to beat New York 5-3. The Mets (2-5) defeated the Pirates 4-3 on Mark Lee's wild pitch in the 13th.
October 4, 1981
MONT 26-20 ST.L 24-21 CHI 21-23 PHIL 21-24 NY 21-25 PITT 18-28
"Shoot, I don't get emotional about these things anymore," said Nolan Ryan of the Astros (4-2) after pitching a record-setting fifth no-hitter to beat the Dodgers 5-0. To understand Ryan, 34, is to realize that in his own way he was thrilled but that he learned to master his emotions long before he got control of his pitches. Although Ryan's fastball has been timed at 101 mph, his personality putt-putts along at 46 mph or so. Besides, he'd fired lour no-hitters between 1973 and 1975 while with the Angels. Nonetheless, he said, "This is probably the one I'll cherish the most. I did it at home, on national TV and my mother was here. This is the first one my mom has seen."
Mom got an eyeful. Ryan walked three men in the first three innings and then retired the last 19 Dodgers in order. On the way to his 188th career win, Ryan fired his fastball at as much as 97 mph, had a snapping curve and fanned I I batters. That gave him 3,240 strikeouts, 268 shy of Walter Johnson's big league record. Only one ball came close to being a hit, but Rightfielder Terry Puhl made a backhanded grab of that drive by Mike Scioscia near the warning track in the seventh. With two down in the ninth, Dusty Baker took two fastballs from Ryan. Both missed the plate. "I knew the curve was coming," Baker said of the next pitch. In all his no-hitters, Ryan pointed out later, his breaking pitch was at its best. It was against Baker, who, despite having guessed right, grounded to Art Howe at third for the final out. Also keeping Houston in first were Don Sutton, who defeated Atlanta 3-0 and L.A. 4-1 on a total of five hits, and Jose Cruz, who batted .500.
There were plenty of other fine pitching performances. Reliever Tom Hume of the Reds (5-1) saved Tom Seaver's 3-2 victory in San Diego and Bruce Berenyi's 2-0 triumph in Atlanta. Burt Hooton of the Dodgers (2-4) was a 3-0 victor in Houston. Chris Welsh of the Padres (1-5) blanked the Reds 6-0. Rick Mahler of the Braves (1-5) held the Astros to three hits, slammed a two-run double and won 3-1. For the Giants (5-1), it was the bullpen that excelled, Greg Minton getting three saves and Gary Lavelle winning twice. Minton also set a major league mark by extending the innings he's pitched without allowing a homer to 248 in a row. What's more, Al Holland, a longtime reliever, started in San Diego, went eight innings and won 3-0.
HOUS 30-16 CIN 28-17 SF 26-19 LA 24-22 ATL 21-24 SD 13-34
"It may have been the most exciting moment in Brewer history," said Gorman Thomas of Milwaukee (3-3) about a three-run homer by Robin Yount that stunned Detroit 8-6. Jack Morris of the Tigers was within one strike of winning 6-5 when Yount came through with his shot on a 2-2 pitch. Thomas had hit a three-run homer earlier to tie Tony Armas of the A's for the league lead with 21. Detroit received another jolt the next day when Ben Oglivie walloped a two-run drive in the eighth for a 4-3 victory that gave the Brewers the division lead. Less dramatic but equally effective were the four RBIs that Ted Simmons had in a 10-8 win over Boston and the week-long barrage of hits by Cecil Cooper, who batted .400. And then there was the redoubtable Rollie Fingers. He tossed 5⅖ innings of airtight relief to seal all three wins and increase his saves to 28, the most in the majors.
Detroit (3-3) regained first place Sunday as Dan Petry bumped off Milwaukee 2-1. Earlier, Milt Wilcox, who had an 0-9 career record against the Orioles, beat the Birds 5-1. And rookie George Cappuzzello, who wasn't even listed on the programs in Baltimore, was a 6-3 victor in Memorial Stadium when he fired 7⅖ innings of three-hit relief. Although he was batting less than .200, John Wockenfuss was the DH in both games because Manager Sparky Anderson wanted to give him a chance to play in front of family members who had come to Baltimore from nearby Delaware. Wockenfuss showed his gratitude by getting five RBIs.
When Boston (3-4) drubbed Milwaukee 9-3, seven Red Sox batters had two hits apiece. That contributed to a .308 week by the Bosox hitters, who were led by Dwight Evans' nine RBIs and .344 average. Bob Stanley, the best long reliever in baseball this year, gave up only one hit in 5‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬® innings as he chalked up his 10th win, 5-4 over Cleveland.
Just when the Orioles (3-4) were in danger of falling out of the race, their pitching shaped up. Dennis Martinez (14-5) beat Detroit 1-0, and Jim Palmer and Scott McGregor won in New York by respective scores of 5-1 and 1-0. The Dynamic D's supplied the punch: Jim Dwyer's homer in the ninth beat Detroit 1-0; Rich Dauer, Rick Dempsey and Doug DeCinces combined for five hits as Palmer won; and DeCinces' single and Dauer's double gave McGregor the only run he needed.
Cleveland (5-2) gave 'em H: Mike Hargrove, Von Hayes, Toby Harrah and Ron Hassey teamed up to bat .325, score 12 runs and drive in 12. Those four had 17 hits and eight RBIs during 5-2 and 7-5 victories in Boston. But John Denny may have been put out of commission until next season after Reggie Jackson of the Yankees (3-4) wrestled him to the ground and bruised some of his chest cartilage. Jackson, decked by a Denny pitch in his previous at bat, homered moments before grappling with the pitcher. Bobby Murcer's three-run pinch homer in the bottom of the ninth inning defeated Baltimore 6-4.
Ted Cox hit .368 for the Blue Jays (1-5). That, however, was hardly enough to keep them from falling into the basement.
DET 27-19 MIL 27-20 BOS 26-20 BALT 24-21 NY 24-22 CLEV 23-24 TOR 20-23
"All I can say that the Mariner slogan is IT CAN HAPPEN," Seattle Manager Rene Lachemann said. The Mariners (5-2), who had bumpety-bumped through most of the season like an old Maxwell on four flat tires, suddenly roared through Texas and Kansas City like a Maserati and actually had visions of a playoff berth. Five road victories in a row, Seattle's longest winning streak of the year, put the Mariners in fourth place, only 3½ games out. Reliever Shane Rawley didn't allow a run in six innings in Texas, where he saved 3-2 and 2-1 wins and was a 2-1 victor. Rawley added two more runless innings against Kansas City and won 4-2 when Seattle scored twice in the ninth.
The losing pitcher for the first-place Royals (3-4) in that game was Lefthander Larry Gura, who pitched a five-hitter but was done in by four errors that made all four Seattle runs unearned. Earlier, Gura had beaten Minnesota 2-1 on a four-hitter. It was his first start in 13 days because of a broken little finger on his pitching hand. Doctors had advised him not to pitch for the rest of the season or, if he did, to at least wear a splint, which he disdained. Gura credited his quick healing to his rigorous physical fitness program and to a variety of pills he popped, among them dried leaf of comfrey and abstracts of raw veal bone and bovine orchid tissue.
Rickey Henderson of the A's (4-2) stole nine bases and, after one of them, scored on a 13th-inning single by Keith Drumright for a 3-2 win in Toronto. Rick Langford shut out the Blue Jays 6-0, and Steve McCatty (14-6) defeated Toronto 4-2 and Chicago 5-1.
Five RBIs by Dave Engle plus John Castino's five ribbies and two game-winning hits kept the Twins (4-3) alive. So did a 7-3 win over Texas by Fernando Arroyo, who has had a 2.00 ERA over his last six starts.
Not even the .450 hitting of Mickey Rivers could keep Texas (2-5) from tumbling to fifth. Four weeks after being atop the West, the White Sox (4-4) had to scramble to avoid the cellar. Dennis Lamp's four-hit, 4-1 victory in California and a Sunday doubleheader sweep of Oakland stopped the slide. The A's tied a league mark with eight straight singles, all before making an out in the opener. But reliever Lamarr Hoyt, who gave up the last three of those hits, blanked Oakland the rest of the way as Chicago rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win 9-5. The Sox, who hit three homers in that game, had five more in the nightcap, which they won 10-3. Challenging the Sox were the Angels (5-2). Steve Renko was a two-time winner, and rookies Angel Moreno and Mike Witt defeated Chicago 1-0 and 7-3, respectively. Reliever Don Aase, who earned his 10th and 11th saves, was put out of commission when he sneezed so hard that he separated cartilage in his rib cage. Not to be sneezed at was the .348 hitting of Bobby Grich or a revived offense that carried Geoff Zahn past the Blue Jays 11-5.
KC 25-21 OAK 23-21 MINN 23-24 SEA 21-25 TEX 19-25 CHI 20-27 CAL 17-27
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
NOLAN RYAN: The Astro righthander struck out 11 Dodgers as he established a big league mark with his fifth career no-hitter. His 5-0 victory ran his record to 10-5 and reduced his ERA to 1.74, the best in either league.