Mickey Lolich went nine innings Thursday for the 15th time this season as first-place Detroit beat the Royals 6-4. It was Lolich's 15th win against six losses and his seventh complete game in his last eight starts. Can he reach 30, like famed ex-teammate Denny McLain? "I've pitched some 180 innings [182 to be precise] with half a season to go. I'm tired and I admit it," he said. "Winning 30 is too much."
Baltimore was having a fairly easy time against the strong teams but falling flat against the supposed weak sisters: the Orioles were a sad 24-26 against the bottom four clubs in each division. "We're just not hitting," lamented Manager Earl Weaver.
Boston Shortstop Rico Petrocelli, who is having eye difficulties, announced he would have a sty removed during the All-Star break. But Shortstop Juan Beniquez was having worse problems, making six errors in two games (an AL record) and scaring box-seat holders with his wild throws as the Red Sox played a .500 week. By contrast, another infielder in the division, Celerino Sanchez of New York, was fielding beautifully at third base and hitting well, too. His .282 average was some solace in a 3-4 week.
No telling where Cleveland would be without Gaylord (Mr. Moist) Perry. Friday night he earned his 15th victory by shutting out the Rangers for 13 innings before getting help in the 14th in a 2-0 win. Four of his seven losses have been by one run. "We want to win so badly for Gaylord that we press," said Buddy Bell. "I never saw a ballplayer like him, and I probably never will again. He won't let himself lose."
Milwaukee's John Briggs hit two homers, one of them a grand slam, against the Angels Friday. The next day, chasing a long fly ball in the ninth inning, he crashed into the left-field wall and had to be hospitalized. It was typical of Milwaukee's season. The Brewers' 31-46 record is the league's worst.
DET 45-35 BALT 44-36 BOST 37-39 NY 37-40 CLEV 34-45 MIL 31-46
Oakland lost three at home and Manager Dick Williams decided to do some screaming and stomping—at which he has few peers. He called a clubhouse meeting and blistered ears for 20 minutes. "Mistakes happen, but stupid baseball won't be tolerated," he said. "I don't like lazy baseball." The A's then swept four from New York.
Four Chicago regulars were hobbled by injuries, but at least Dick Allen's sore toe did not bother him for long. He hurt it Wednesday, then came back to go four for five Friday and get his 19th homer and 60th RBI of the year. Carlos May had a fumble festival in the field, including one fly ball in Cleveland that he juggled into a home run.