- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Using forkballs in games for the first time, after perfecting them on the sidelines for two months, San Diego's Dan Spillner and Bill Greif beat Houston 2-0 and 4-1. Larry Dierker of Houston blanked San Francisco 5-0, but the Giants took two other meetings between the clubs with late-inning slugging.
LA 91-54 CIN 90-56 ATL 80-67 HOUS 73-72 SF 66-80 SD 53-94
Oakland was futilely trying to end Texas' masquerade as a divisional contender. The Rangers, 8� games behind the A's in early September, began the week by concluding a three-game sweep in Oakland with a 5-1 win by Ferguson Jenkins. That was such a startling turn of events that even Oakland's normally moribund fans look notice; 46,780 of them showed up to support their struggling team on Double Dinger Night. "Dinger" is the A's term for a home run and their rooters celebrate each one by rattling an assortment of bells. The big crowd was not disappointed. The A's hit three dingers as Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter blanked the Royals 3-0 and 7-0. The same night Jim Bibby of Texas beat Chicago 6-2 for his 19th win.
Then the A's and Rangers clashed head on once more, this time in Texas. In a matchup between two Cy Young Award candidates—Hunter and Jenkins—the Rangers came out on top 3-1. It was the 23rd victory for Jenkins, who is 5-0 against the A's. In 45 innings he has given them just 24 hits and eight walks, while striking out 43 and compiling an ERA of 0.60. In the second confrontation, the Rangers shelled Vida Blue and won 8-3 as Jackie Brown tossed a seven-hitter. That left Texas four games behind Oakland; the Rangers were having a ball, not a masquerade.
With the help of two homers, their first in 14 outings, Kansas City downed Minnesota 13-3 to end a seven-game losing streak. Home runs also bolstered the Twins, who hit 11, including two game winners by Harmon Killebrew and one by Rod Carew. The power hitting enabled the Twins to win six of eight and go over .500 for the first time since late April.
Before a game against California, Dick Allen of Chicago did something unusual: he took fielding and batting practice. Surely, something had to be up. It was. In the clubhouse moments after the conclusion of the warmup drills, Allen announced he was retiring from baseball, effective immediately. Jim Kaat defeated the Angels 1-0 and 8-0 to run his string of shutout innings to 25.
OAK 83-64 TEX 79-68 MINN 74-73 CHI 72-75 KC 71-75 CAL 59-89