The Minnesota Twins had a weekful of firsts and wished they hadn't. The divisional leaders lost their first series of the season, two out of three to the White Sox. They lost two straight for the first time. Pitcher Jim Kaat suffered his first defeat after four straight wins. And so the Twins had their first losing week of 1972.
By bedeviling California 8-0, Chicago won its 15th victory in 17 home games. Wilbur Wood not only won three games in eight days but put some wood on the ball, too. He "just stuck my bat out" for his third and fourth singles, one less than all last year.
"It was a circus. It should have been played in a tent," said the A's Sal Bando after Kansas City beat Oakland 16-1. Meanwhile the Rangers couldn't hit the state of Texas with a howitzer, but their pitching was as good as their batting was bad. Before ending a road trip with a win and taking the next two at home, the Rangers had averaged six hits a game while losing eight of 11. But three pitchers—Paul Lindblad, Jim Shellenback and Pete Broberg—had ERAs under 2.00, three more were under 3.00, and the team had gone 36 errorless innings.
California had pitching problems: 20-game winner Andy Messersmith was sidelined with tendinitis in his middle finger, Clyde Wright's shoulder stiffened up again and Nolan Ryan's pulled groin muscle stayed pulled. As for relievers, Lloyd Allen joined Paul Doyle on the wounded list with a pulled hamstring muscle. Manager Del Rice threatened to activate batting practice pitcher Ted Bowsfield, director of stadium operations.
MINN 17-9 CHI 17-10 OAK 16-10 TEX 13-15 KC 12-17 CAL 11-18
As Cleveland's Indians won three straight 2-1 games from the Yankees and Tigers, Detroit, with a little hurt from its friends, nearly lost control of second place. The Orioles, losers of four in a row, came to town and were greeted by a headline, WELCOME SKIDDING ORIOLES. Jim Palmer, the most enraged Bird, thereupon won his first game ever in Tiger Stadium, 3-2. Doyle Alexander, who replaced Mike Cuellar in the first inning the next night, gave the Tigers only three hits and ultimately it took a Mickey Lolich four-hitter to produce a Detroit win.
Never, under Earl Weaver, have the Orioles dipped below .500. Each time that ignominy has threatened, Palmer has bailed the Birds out. Last week before the Detroit series he beat the Brewers 6-0 and gave up only two hits.
Manager Eddie Kasko ran three bed checks during Boston's road trip. The first night two players were AWOL, the second night six, the third night eight. Something was missing on the field, too. Boston was 5-5 for the trip and Kasko was talking about benching Marty Pattin and Danny Cater.