"Sometimes my corns shoot pains through my feet so bad I have to wince," said Charlie Spikes, one of five former Yankees who helped the Indians build a 4-1 week that got them out of the cellar. Hurting but hammering, Spikes ran his hitting streak to 19 games before being stopped. Former Yankee John Ellis hit .350 and three pitchers obtained from New York also chipped in. Fred Beene hurled scoreless relief to protect Fritz Peterson's first win of the season, over Minnesota, while Steve Kline also halted the Twins. Other contributors were Gaylord Perry, twice a winner; hard-hitting Oscar Gamble (.400) and George Hendrick (10 RBIs).
As the Indians ascended so did their recent trading partners, the Yankees—to first place. Ron Blomberg went 8 for 14 with four doubles, three homers and eight RBIs. Doc Medich won twice and Sparky Lyle picked up three saves, twice pitching to just one batter to seal 4-3 wins over the A's. Lyle also saved a 5-4 game after Joe Hoerner of the Royals hit two batters with consecutive pitches to force in the winning run.
Detroit leapfrogged from fifth place to second as Reliever John Hiller preserved wins for Joe Coleman and Bill Slayback. Willie Horton provided much of the offense, driving in seven runs and scoring seven.
Milwaukee, Baltimore and Boston were all 1-4. The Brewers lost by margins small (6-5 to the Twins) and large (10-3 to the White Sox), coming out on top only when Jim Slaton withstood 11 hits to down Texas 11-3.
In two losses to Chicago and two to the Angels the Orioles batted only .178 and had only four extra-base hits. The lowlight of their nonproductivity was a 31-inning scoreless streak.
The principal Red Sox woes: 1) Second Baseman Doug Griffin was hit by a Nolan Ryan pitch, suffered a concussion and was placed on the disabled list; 2) subbing for him, Rick Burleson tied an AL record by making three errors in his first big-league game. Those increased the Sox error total to 30 in 24 games; 3) Manager Darrell Johnson was mugged in his Boston hotel room.
NY 15-11 DET 12-11 BALT 11-11 MIL 10-10 CLEV 11-12 BOS 10-14
"It got embarrassing over the winter when I had to tell people I played for the Rangers," said Dave Nelson. "The first thing they did was laugh." Nelson may laugh last; the Rangers' 3-2 week kept them atop the West. Most notable among the Texas merrymakers were Ferguson Jenkins, whose two wins gave him a 6-1 record; Cesar Tovar, who batted .444 and hit a three-run homer against the Brewers; and Jim Spencer, who batted .333 and drove in the winning run in Jenkins' 1-0 victory over Boston.