"They've Put the rabbit back into the baseball," said Gaylord Perry of the Indians. "Those are rockets going out of here.... For sure they've jacked up the ball." After 15 games in Municipal Stadium last year 19 homers had been hit; this year 35 have gone out. What is more, league home-run output is up a whopping 38%, a difference too great to be attributed solely to the use of designated hitters. Perry's complaints were not the grousing of a loser, for he won twice last week. Milt Wilcox also won, presumably with the assistance of a wooden statuette of a Hawaiian war god his father sent him.
Last season Boston's Luis Tiant gave up seven homers in 179 innings; in 56 innings this year he has allowed 11, three last week, as the Red Sox went 3-3. Ron Blomberg of the Yankees pulled a 440-footer in Minnesota that had it been straighter might have netted him $50,000. George Medich and Fritz Peterson hurled shutouts as the Yankees leapfrogged from fifth to third.
Still, no team could reach .500, Milwaukee moving in front after a 3-2 week. Jim Colborn subdued Texas on one hit and Darrell Porter's eighth-inning homer squelched Kansas City 3-2. Latest of the ball park gimmicks is the chap in Milwaukee who commemorates Brewer home runs by sliding down a chute into a huge beer stein. Alas, the chute was not greased properly for his first trip, but he made it to the mug anyway.
"When they got me only six runs in my first five starts I decided to pitch shutouts," said Baltimore's Jim Palmer. He blanked the Angels, then the Yankees, and the Orioles managed a 4-2 week.
These were trying times for the Tigers. They lost four of six, Woodie Fryman committed the first Tiger balk since 1971, Willie Horton and Gates Brown wound up on third base at the same time and Shortstop Eddie Brinkman, who set five fielding records last season, made four errors.
MIL 13-14 DET 14-16 BALT 13-15 NY 13-15 CLEV 14-17 BOST 12-15
Ed Kirkpatrick, a .233 lifetime batter, hit .400 for the Royals and raised his average to .386, second highest in the majors, as Kansas City went 4-2 for the week. Kirkpatrick attributed much of his success to Dr. Ray Reilly, a psychologist: "He seems to know a lot about how athletes' minds work."
The Angels are already in a stretch drive of sorts, indulging in what Manager Bobby Winkles calls "static stretching exercises." This latest of Winkles' Wrinkles is designed to cut down on injuries, particularly pulled hamstrings. But last week little worked as California lost five of six.