Alex Johnson, an Angel in name only, asked for a conference with CALIFORNIA Manager Lefty Phillips, who had benched him for not hitting, not fielding, not hustling and not being nice. Two hours later, Johnson was back in the lineup against OAKLAND, banging out three hits, including one that won the game. Phillips said the somber outfielder had promised to try harder. "I'm giving him the chance to be the player I thought he was," said Phillips. The A's Reggie Jackson, who was in a Johnsonian sulk for much of last season, was hitting home runs (numbers eight and nine) and trying—not always successfully—to be nice again. "My attitude is better," he said. "Last year I was thinking in my own little circle." MINNESOTA'S Harmon Killebrew, who is always nice, hit his 493rd home run, tying him with the late Lou Gehrig for 10th place on the alltime list. But despite winning three out of four, his team still trailed the A's by seven games. MILWAUKEE'S Roberto Pena beat the Twins one day with a bases-loaded triple that looked like a single until it "whooshed" by a flabbergasted Tony Oliva in right field. Pena is good at bases-loaded whooshes. Last year he got a grandslam home run out of a pop fly when Detroit Outfielders Al Kaline and Jim Northrup collided under it. "I have no secret," said Pena modestly. The WHITE SOX' secret (for staying in last place) is inexperience in the infield, says Manager Chuck Tanner. "You got to expect they aren't going to catch them all." They don't. KANSAS CITY Pitcher Ken Wright saved himself a trip to the minors by shutting out the Senators Friday night. It was his first major league win as a starter, his first complete game and his first shutout.
OAK 32-17, MINN 24-23, KC 21-22, CAL 23-25, MIL 18-24, CHI 16-25