- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Kansas City's Bruce Dal Canton has a new knuckler this season and, ingrate that he is, he flipped a 9-0 helping of knuckles at the team of the man who helped him with the pitch, Chicago. " Wilbur Wood told me to cut my fingernails square, not round," Dal Canton revealed. The game was on national television. In KC's previous network TV appearance this year Dal Canton beat Baltimore 9-1. When the Royals appeared on the tube once again, last Saturday, Nelson Briles was the KC pitcher, and he kept the streak going with a 5-3 win over Boston. It was Briles' first victory in the American League.
Texas dropped back into a third-place tie by losing three straight, but Ranger Shortstop Toby Harrah hit his ninth home run in 16 games—nearly half his team's homer production for the period. Chicago, only 4-4 for the week, also had an enterprising hitter. Bill Melton, who had been in a slump most of the season, went nine for 12 in three games against the Royals, hit three home runs and raised his average from .199 to .225. Said Melton, who homered again on Saturday against Detroit, "I was in a slump so long it was like the Sox were playing with eight guys instead of nine."
While Minnesota was deep in fifth place, the Twins at least could applaud the progress of Outfielder Larry Hisle (whom Owner Calvin Griffith tried to trade last winter). Hisle got his sixth game-winning hit of the season—a home run—and ripped four hits the next day, including another homer, in a 6-4 win at Milwaukee.
OAK 46-36 KC 40-38 TEX 41-41 CHI 39-40 MINN 35-46 CAL 32-51
Relishing the outcome of the Boston-Baltimore slugfest (page 24), Cleveland slipped past the Red Sox into the lead. The Indians had won 11 of their last 13, thanks to the bat of Centerfielder George Hendrick and the phenomenal arm of Gaylord Perry. Among other deeds, Hendrick spoiled a Nolan Ryan no-hitter-in-progress with his 15th homer of the season. Hendrick is batting .304, has 44 RBIs and has scored 41 runs. Perry won his 15th straight. As former Indian owner Bill Veeck said, "Never has a club or a town owed so much to one pitcher." Said Perry, "There is more pressure each game, but I pitch better under pressure." Brother Jim wasn't doing so badly either, defeating Milwaukee to even his record at 7-7.
Detroit won five of eight and moved into a third-place tie with Baltimore as Gates Brown fattened his league record for pinch hits to 91 and set a new AL mark for pinch home runs: 13. Another Tiger was getting record-conscious, the record being most games won, single season, by a reliever. Reliever John Hiller won his 11th, putting him even in victories with L.A.'s redoubtable Mike Marshall. Their target is ElRoy Face's mark of 18, set in 1959.
The Brewers were Cleveland's favorite patsies, losing four of five to the Indians. The Yankees had a turnabout week—losing their seventh straight, then winning three in a row—and on one night you might have mistaken them for the Bombers of yore. Indeed, genuine Bombers were present for an Old-timers evening in Texas: DiMaggio, Mantle, Bauer. Thus inspired, the 1974 Yankees slammed 11 hits and won 9-3.
CLEV 44-35 BOS 43-36 BALT 42-37 DET 43-38 MIL 39-40 NY 38-42