While Texas struggled through a losing, but not dispiriting week (page 28), another longshot, California, stayed in contention despite winning only twice. The Angels moved to within three percentage points of division-leading Chicago when Nolan Ryan set down Kansas City 2-1 on four hits. Going in, Ryan had a disappointing 3-3 record and 5.37 ERA. When a photographer pointed out that he was not bringing his arm down as he used to on his follow-through, he adjusted and, among other improvements, struck out 10 Royals. Another apt learner, Wilbur Wood of the White Sox, watched himself on a videotape machine, saw a flaw in his stride, corrected it and beat Detroit l-O for his first shutout since May 28, 1973. Additional news from the classroom: Chicago's Terry Forster was taught a screwball by teammate Jim Kaat and blanked the Tigers over 8? innings.
Was there no pitcher who could just rear back and throw? Yes, there was—Kansas City's Marty Pattin. After beating Texas 6-1 for his first win of the year, he said, "I've been trying too much fancy stuff, so I went back to what got me where I am, throwing strikes." In one four-inning stretch he threw nothing but. "I've been in pro baseball 24 years," said Texas Manager Billy Martin, "and I've never seen anything like that." Believing went with seeing as the Royals won three straight.
Minnesota's 14-4 record against Oakland last year helped make the Twins a respectable .500 team. Came the first series of 1974 against the disrespectful A's, and the Twins dropped two straight. Vida Blue finally won a game for Oakland—7-3 over Baltimore—and said, "That was important for my head. After four losses, you wonder whether you're still alive." Deron Johnson, who had missed two weeks because of a hand injury, belted three homers and helped the A's to a 4-3 week. Then Reggie Jackson spoiled the celebration by pulling a hamstring.
CHI 14-13 CAL 16-15 TEX 16-15 OAK 15-15 KC 13-15 MINN 12-14