Expansion may have watered down the talent on other major league teams, but spare the Merv Rettenmund fans that argument in BALTIMORE. Rettenmund is now leading the Orioles in hitting at .318 and still hasn't made the regular outfield. Saturday he went three for five and got his 14th home run and 47th RBI in only 260 at-bats, but he was playing only because Frank Robinson was feeling poorly.
Second-place NEW YORK won its eighth straight victory over Kansas City, an accomplishment overshadowed by Baltimore's own string of 23 straight over the Royals. DETROIT lost three games by one run after having been ahead in all three.
Boston was an unfortunate 13 games out, but Manager Eddie Kasko was unbowed after a doubleheader victory over Minnesota (page 18) and attendance beanstalked high above the million mark. Charlie Finley chilled a deal Alvin Dark tried to make for Reggie Jackson—"Jackson isn't available now, tomorrow, or in the foreseeable future," Finley told Dark—and Dark's CLEVELAND Indians cooled their heels on an August Saturday while a pro football exhibition game was played. WASHINGTON won five straight, the Senators' longest winning streak of the season, as Dick Bosnian and Jackie Brown gave them complete games and the relief staff did not yield a run.
BALT 75-44 NY 66-52 DET 63-56 BOS 60-57 CLEV 57-62 WASH 57-62
The MINNESOTA Twins, who hadn't been shut out in their last 125 games, were blanked twice in their recent nine-game losing streak. Their eight-game lead, which Bill Rigney had called "comfortable but not secure," was down to 4� games, and in one infamous game against the Senators, the Twins were rescued from a no-hitter only by Cesar Tovar's leadoff bunt single.
"I definitely feel it now," said OAKLAND'S Tommy Davis. "This club gives me a pennant feeling." Chuck Dobson pitched his sixth shutout and eighth straight victory, Jim Roland threw nine scoreless innings in relief before injuring his knee and the A's won five in a row before Sudden Sam McDowell struck out nine and beat them 4-3. Just prior to the game, when SI's Aug. 17 article on his erraticism was the topic of clubhouse discussion, McDowell said, " Pat Jordan is just some old ballplayer turned psychoanalyst. How's he going to know what's wrong with me when I don't know myself?" After the game, McDowell said, "I just decided to throw hard all night."
"For the first time in our history," said CALIFORNIA General Manager Dick Walsh, "the American League asked us to the World Series ticket meeting. They liked our ticket design. And the way we're going we may use them." The Angels had already cut 3� games off Minnesota's lead before Friday. As they assembled for the pregame meeting, their towering, haloed, A-shaped scoreboard flashed still another Twin loss. "That will serve as our meeting," Lefty Phillips said. The Angels went out and won again.
For the MILWAUKEE Brewers it was a case of the kiss of the good hops. They won three straight one-run games, including a 4-3 thriller in 11 innings over Cleveland that tied them for fourth place. Dropping as fast as the Brewers rose, KANSAS CITY did have the consolation of ending a losing streak of 10 straight against Boston, but streaks of eight and 23 games against New York and Baltimore remained intact. Still faced with the worst record in the majors (43-79), White Sox supporters found their sole satisfaction in informing Northsiders that Leo Durocher's Cubs were stuck on automatic choke.