The Angels managed to stay hot on Chicago's trail despite three straight losses to the White Sox. Nolan Ryan struck out 13 in the 4-1 final defeat of the trio, but you have to do even better than that when the opposing pitcher is Wilbur Wood. California picked up Mike Epstein from the Rangers, adding power to a lineup that already had Bob Oliver and Frank Robinson. One small problem was the fact that bullpen arms were getting rusty as the Angels' starters, Bill Singer, Rudy May, Clyde Wright and Ryan, led the league in complete games.
Royal Manager Jack McKeon contemplated a cloudy sky in Minnesota and remarked, "So many things have happened to us lately it might have been better if it had rained all week." Raindrops did delay the game a bit, but it was completed and the Twins' Bert Blyleven shut out Kansas City on one hit 2-0. McKeon called it "The best-pitched game I've seen all year. It was better than Nolan Ryan's no-hitter against us." Said K.C.'s Hal McRae: "The curves that man threw came in and kissed your cap. The ball is heading right for you and you don't know what to do—stay, leave, you just don't know." The Twins took the series 3-1, winning the first two despite the Royals' 28 hits, one a 420-foot homer by John May-berry. "I played baseball for 17 years," said K.C. Coach Harry Dunlop, "and would give anything to have hit just one ball as hard as John did that one." May berry has a good chance to break the K.C. homer record of 38 set by Bob Cerv in 1958. He now has 13.
Unhappy Pitcher Bill Hands, an ex-Cub, sounded off about Twins Owner Calvin Griffith, who cut his salary by $3,000 this year. After calling Griffith "stupid," he said, "If I think a guy's a jerk, I'll call him a jerk." He also called the Twins a "fifth-place ball club" but later apologized to his teammates.
Chicago Centerfielder Ken Henderson suffered a strained ligament in his knee sliding home and was lost for a week. Oakland's Ken Holtzman, the leading pitcher in the league with a 1.68 ERA, did his customary thing after his ninth victory of the season and 102nd career win. He airmailed the winning baseball to his parents in St. Louis for storage in his personal Holtzman Hall of Fame. But Blue Moon Odom was really blue, as who wouldn't be with a 1-7 record? The Rangers, 12� games back, were the only club in the division out of contention.
CHI 24-14 CAL 22-18 KC 24-20 MINN 21-19 OAK 23-21 TEX 12-27