CIN 90-56 HOUS 81-64 LA 79-67 ATL 68-78 SF 63-84 SD 55-89
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
The race seethed on as Boston and Detroit battered each other at week's end and Baltimore (page 26) saw its chances all but wing away. The Tigers and Red Sox played a beautiful game of seesaw, the Red Sox winning two of three from the Orioles, then losing two of three to the Tigers. Top of the week for the Sox was a doubleheader sweep of Baltimore's best pitchers, Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar, with Luis Tiant getting his sixth shutout in eight starts in the nightcap. But elsewhere Boston's pitching was about as solid as a hippopotamus in quicksand. Sonny Siebert, testing an injured ankle, went only a third of an inning and gave up three runs as the Tigers mauled the Red Sox Saturday 7-1.
Earlier in the week the Tigers had been behaving as if they were on their way down. They fumed when Cleveland Manager Ken Aspromonte replaced Pitcher Bill Butler in the third inning of a game although he had not given up a run. He had walked five Tigers. The Indians went on to beat Detroit 6-4, and Manager Bill Martin said, "Aspromonte pulled one I'll never forget and I promise you I will bury him. If he was in the pennant race, it would be all right." If you aren't in the race, you shouldn't play to win? The Yankees died in the West, losing to Cleveland and Milwaukee. Indeed, the also-rans bedeviled the contenders. Both teams had winning records for the week, Cleveland beating the division elite four of six and Milwaukee three of four.
BOST 79-66 DET 80-67 BALT 77-69 NY 76-70 CLEV 67-81 MIL 61-86
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Home-run slugger Reggie Jackson came to bat for Oakland in the ninth inning against Kansas City, flexed his muscles, then slammed out—a bunt. That brought in the winning run, as the A's stretched their division lead over Chicago (3-1 on the week) to five games. Jackson called the infield tap "the biggest bunt of my life." It was only his third of '72.
Kansas City rookie Pitcher Steve Bus-by left 42 passes at the gate for relatives and friends when he was scheduled to start against California. He must have had an inkling that it was to be a spectacular evening. Busby won his game 9-2, but it was at the plate that he caused excitement. He hit a grand-slam homer in the first inning—or so everyone thought until Umpire John Rice explained he had signaled time-out before the pitch to eject a heckling KC player, Jerry May, from the game. Rice also ejected KC Manager Bob Lemon, who observed, "I heard him call time, but I had to get mad at somebody."
Minnesota seemed to be mad at everybody, winning four of five as Rod Carew raised his league-leading average to .324. One of his six hits was his 24th successful bunt single in 35 attempts. "If I bunt it where I want, there is no way to be thrown out," he said.
Also looking for a title was Dave Nelson of Texas. Although he was a sack behind Bert Campaneris of Oakland for the league lead in stolen bases (43-44), Nelson groused that his base-stealing opportunities were getting scarce since his teammates were not taking pitches because they wanted to get the games over quickly. The Rangers lost five games, quickly.