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When Oakland Manager Dick Williams was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy, the Athletics sent him a get-well telegram. The vote to do so, said locker room wags, was 13-12. Vida Blue presumably was among the nays, in view of his comments after lasting nine innings to beat the Orioles for his first win in three weeks. "Around here you go four innings and Williams says, 'See ya later, Vida,' " Blue complained. "If you don't get three runs ahead in the first inning you know you won't go nine. Throw two balls and four guys get up in the bullpen. Nolan Ryan has thrown two no-hitters this season. I've done that eight times already, but they were all in the bullpen."
California's Ryan became only the fourth pitcher in baseball history to post two no-hitters in one season as he struck out 17 Tigers in Detroit. Four days later in Anaheim, Ryan stopped the Orioles without a hit for seven innings before Mark Belanger blooped a single into left-center field. Although only 20,823 watched Ryan flirt with Johnny Vander Meer's 1938 feat of throwing back-to-back hitless games, it was the Angels' largest non-promotion weekday crowd in five years.
Meanwhile, Wilbur Wood became the first pitcher in 55 years to start and lose both games of a doubleheader as the slipping White Sox lost five of seven. Wood failed to retire a single Yankee in the first game, then gave up a grand-slam home run to Roy White in the second.
Bonus Babies David Clyde of Texas and Eddie Bane of Minnesota continued to pitch impressively. Clyde stopped Milwaukee with one run for seven innings but was shelled in the eighth. "It was stupid on my part," said Texas Manager Whitey Herzog. "A high school kid isn't conditioned to go that far." In his next start Clyde held the Tigers to one run through six innings, then left after giving up a two-run homer to Bill Freehan in the seventh. Bane, who tries to pattern his techniques after Whitey Ford, baffled the Yankees with his junk for five innings, but then a debatable balk seemed to unnerve him and the Yankees quickly scored three runs. "They wouldn't have called the balk on me if I wasn't a rookie," Bane suggested. "They have to show me a few things." Bane now wants to copy some of Ford's alleged tricks. "I haven't tried to rub the ball on my belt buckle yet because I don't think they'll let a rookie get away with it," said Bane. This drew a retort from Ralph Houk: "The only similarity between Ford and Banc is that they are both left-handed."
Outraged at Umpire Merlyn Anthony's anti- Kansas City decision on a surprise pickoff attempt, Royals Owner Ewing Kauffman suggested that his "visualization" course, mandatory for KC players, be made compulsory for umpires, too. First Baseman Kurt Bevacqua had a better suggestion. "From now on," he said, "before the game I'm going to tell the umpire that when that play is on I'll give him a wink and he'd better be ready."
OAK 55-42 KC 54-46 CAL 48-47 MINN 48-47 CHI 48-48 TEX 33-61
Sam McDowell, no ball of fire this season when he was employed in San Francisco, pitched successive shutout victories for the Yankees over the Royals and the White Sox as New York swept two doubleheaders while winning five of six games. Once again McDowell seemed to be throwing the live fastball that had made him Sudden Sam. "As long as I have the heat," McDowell said, "I'll stay with it."
Baltimore won live of seven games despite facing a succession of live no-hit pitchers on the West Coast. The Orioles beat Jim Hunter and Ken Holtzman, lost to Vida Blue and Bill Singer and battled Nolan Ryan through almost 11 innings, finally defeating the Angels 3-1. Designated hitter Tommy Davis had 12 hits in 27 at bats and beat the Angels one night with a two-run single in the ninth. "My legs and feet have been through two lifetimes," Davis said. "A man would think I'm on social security if he saw me from the waist down."