Milwaukee was still dreaming of a pennant, its players debating what would make one possible. Slugger George Scott thought the club needed a good left-handed reliever. A good righthander, Tom Murphy, thought he and Ed Rodriguez were doing just fine. Former starter Jim Colborn scored a point for the right wing, with his, by pitching 5? innings of relief to beat Oakland 6-4.
Boston led the league despite a dearth of starting pitchers. That's right, Boston. The Red Sox began the season with a cast of thousands lighting for positions in the rotation. Last week only Bill Lee and Luis Tiant were cause for happy Hubbub. Reggie Cleveland, who had thrown 13 gopher balls in 70 innings, had a 6.30 ERA, Dick Drago was struggling, too, and Rick Wise and Juan Marichal were still recovering from injuries. Cleveland had Gaylord Perry and those sudsy fans (page 10)—and an epidemic of aches. Moreover, Pitchers Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson looked sore-armed.
BOS 29-25 MIL 28-23 BALT 26-27 CLEV 26-27 DET 26-27 NY 27-30
With Shortstop Chris Speier and Second Baseman Tito Fuentes benched (for poor hitting and an injury, respectively), the Giants had a double-play combination of Bruce Miller and Mike Phillips. Which did not bode well for June, always the toughest month in San Francisco. Swooning, the Giants were 3-4. "We are a peaceable club," said Outfielder Garry Maddox. "We fight other teams...but we're real friendly in the clubhouse. We play hard for each other. I don't understand why we don't win more." Maddox might check across the Bay.
Or down the San Andreas Fault, where the Dodgers seemed to be bidding for the alias Oakland A's South. In a rare loss—7-6 to the Cubs—Third Baseman Ron Cey and Catcher Joe Ferguson publicly argued over who should have caught a foul ball that neither did. And Outfielder Von Joshua asked to be traded. So naturally the Dodgers ran off four straight wins. Their most impressive streak belonged to Steve Yeager, who had caught 28 straight wins before the Dodgers were beaten again by the Cubs. Yeager's fine play has moved Ferguson to right field.
Cincinnati matched Los Angeles, but Manager Sparky Anderson may have blown a chance to gain when he let Dave Concepcion swing on a 3-0 count with two out in the ninth, a man on third, the Reds trailing the Mets 4-3 and Johnny Bench on deck. Concepcion popped out. The Braves, who have been on a tear of their own (17-7 since May 12), kept pace with the leaders. Henry Aaron's grand slam beat Philadelphia and gave him more home runs than Babe Ruth. Total homers, that is. With World Series, playoff and All-Star games thrown in, Aaron now has 731. Pitcher Buzz Capra (5-2) ticked off 25 straight scoreless innings after becoming an Atlanta starter on May 19. He has the majors' best ERA: 1.17.
Houston introduced the "foamer" in an attempt to increase lagging home attendance. If an Astro homers when the scoreboard clock shows an even number—for example, 10:12—everyone gets free beer through the eighth inning. Lee May hit two timely homers, but the Astros still lost three of five. Having been defeated often because of few hits, the Padres lost a game in which they got 17. But San Diego won four one-run games and led the league with a 13-4 record in that department. In games decided by bigger margins they are 9-35.
LA 41-16 CIN 31-22 ATL 30-25 HOUS 29-28 SF 30-29 SD 22-39