- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Wilbur Wood pitched a two-hitter and a four-hitter to win his 12th and 13th games—both on the same night. Completing a suspended game, Wood went five innings and held Cleveland to two hits and one unearned run as the White Sox finally won in the bottom of the 21st inning on Dick Allen's three-run homer. After smoking a cigar, Wood shut out the Indians in the regular nine-inning game. Later he came up short, losing to Chris Short of the Brewers. Still, with a 13-4 record, Wood was knuckling along at a 51-victory pace. Rookie Brian Downing's major-league debut lasted one pitch; he was injured as he made a spectacular catch of a foul ball and had to go on the disabled list.
Minnesota won five of six and closed to within two games of the White Sox, but check this strategy: In the eighth inning against the Tigers, Manager Frank Quilici takes out Harmon Killebrew for a pinch runner. To replace Killebrew at first base, he calls on Joe Lis. So there is Lis, with a .152 average, batting in the 10th. And there is Lis hitting a home run to win the game.
Rookie Gene Garber pitched two quick complete-game victories over Boston and Baltimore that pleased Kansas City. "He pitches so fast," said Manager Jack McKeon, "that our infielders don't have time to go to sleep." California Infielder Jerry DaVanon has spent most of his time checking the water cooler, picking up loose gloves, pitching batting practice, warming up the pitcher, etc. He finally got to start, and one night his three hits helped beat the Yankees. Oakland's Ken Holtzman, who had pitched two National League no-hitters, held New York hitless until Matty Alou singled with two out in the seventh, but Jim Ray Hart knocked Holtzman out of the game in the eighth when his line drive smashed off Ken's leg. X rays revealed no damage.
CHI 27-17 MINN 26-20 KC 29-23 CAL 25-21 OAK 25-25 TEX 16-28
While John Hiller twice saved games for Joe Coleman, Outfielders Willie Horton and Al Kaline returned to the Detroit lineup after extended periods on the injury list. Kaline was hitless but Horton went 5 for 9 and raised his average to .366. In keeping with his irascible image, Manager Billy Martin, no music lover, complained that the organist at White Sox Park had interrupted Mickey Lolich's concentration by playing just as Lolich began his windup. It was Martin's fourth protest of the season against league organists.
Fritz Peterson won twice for the Yankees, but Manager Ralph Honk was not happy. After watching California's Bill Singer beat his team easily, Houk complained that Singer, like Cleveland's Gaylord Perry, had come into the American League with moist and illegal substances on his fingers. "It just burns you up to see another one of them in the league," groused Houk, who undoubtedly wishes he had one himself.
Baltimore's Jim Palmer, who throws dry, not wet, heat, escaped from probable disaster in Kansas City. With one out in the eighth inning, speedy Amos Otis on third, mighty John Mayberry at bat and the Orioles leading 3-2, Palmer uncorked a wild pitch that flew against the backstop. Amazingly, the ball boomeranged off the concrete wall and came right back to Catcher Andy Etchebarren, who flipped it to Palmer for an easy tag on Otis at the plate. "It was a good time to reach into my bag of tricks," said Palmer.