Credit Houston Manager Leo Durocher with the Reds' midweek pair of wins over the Astros. The Cincy players felt that in an earlier defeat in Houston Leo had rubbed it in by having Cesar Cedeno steal in the late innings of a game already won and having a pitcher sacrifice in another run. "It was time for them to calm it down a little and let a sleeping dog lie," said Reds Manager Sparky Anderson. "But Leo had to kick us."
The Padres brought up Dave Roberts from Hawaii, where he was hitting .382, but the bright spot of the week for them was Fred Norman's first win, a six-hitter against the Reds. Norman threw practically nothing but fastballs, leaving his curve and slider in his locker. Henry Aaron brought his 1973 home-run total up to 12 for Atlanta. Only 30 more to go to surpass Babe Ruth's record or 714.
HOUS 27-19 SF 29-19 CIN 25-18 LA 26-19 ATL 17-25 SD 16-29
The Tigers had lost two straight to the Yanks, so Detroit Manager Billy Martin, often more newsworthy than his team, assigned himself to coach third base for the fourth time this season. It worked like a good-luck charm. Mickey Lolich finally got some batting support and won his third 4-0. The next night John Hiller pitched two strong innings of relief and the Tigers beat the A's 1-0 in 13 innings in the first meeting between the 1972 divisional winners.
The Yankees had a lovely week, sweeping a doubleheader from Cleveland, taking two of three from Detroit and raising their record above .500, but the most fun came against the Rangers. Down 7-0 after 1� innings, New York battled back to win 9-7. Said Tiger Second Baseman Dick McAuliffe: "If there were 10 games left in the season and I had to pick a club, I'd say the Yankees."
Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver scheduled batting practice for an off day during a wet, gloomy week, but even that was rained out. Boog Powell continued in his miserable slump, Dave McNally threw three wild pitches and suffered his sixth straight loss (to Cleveland) and Catcher Earl Williams, leader of the Orioles' meager attack, was sidelined with a severely sprained ankle. An injury also hurt the Red Sox, who lost Second Baseman Doug Griffin for four to six weeks because of a broken bone in his left hand—the same hand that was hurt last year and cost him three weeks. Griffin had been hitting .289 and fielding well. The day he was injured Shortstop Luis Aparicio played in his 2,500th major league game and celebrated by stealing two bases.
Gaylord Perry was winning for the Indians and was being accused once again of throwing a spitter. "If baseball really is serious about helping the hitters," said White Sox Manager Chuck Tanner, "then all it has to do is start having umpires call a ball for every pitch thrown that they think is a spitter." Perry thought it a ridiculous idea. "Chuck is just psyching up for the weekend," he said.
Mr. Misnomer, Billy Champion of the Brewers, threw a wild pitch, balked and hit a batter en route to his 14th straight defeat (11 with the Phils last year). Joe Lahoud, who wants to be traded, beat his former Boston teammates with a two-run pinch single. In seven pinch-hit appearances for Milwaukee he has four hits and two walks.
DET 23-20 NY 22-21 BALT 18-19 MIL 19-22 BOS 17-20 CLEV 19-23