Having defeated the A's five straight times in two weeks, the Rangers eagerly awaited their final confrontation with the world champions. After all, they had 19-game winner Jim Bibby going against five-game winner Glenn Abbott, and a Texas win would slice Oakland's lead to three. Ah, well, Bibby was shelled, Rollie Fingers came to Abbott's rescue and the A's won 4-1.
Both teams had their troubles thereafter, but the A's did stop the Royals 5-4 for Ken Holtzman's 19th win and the White Sox 3-2 for Catfish Hunter's 24th win. Texas' solace was limited to Steve Hargan's 2-0 conquest of California.
Minnesota, which spent much of the season trying to stay out of the cellar, leapfrogged to within 1� games of second place. Since Aug. 28 the Twins, 5-1, have won 16 games and lost six. Complete games were a rarity for the Twins early in the year, but now they got five. Vic Albury defeated the White Sox 8-0 and both Joe Decker and Bert Blyleven earned their 15th and 16th wins.
Kansas City lost its first two (making 19 defeats in 22 games) before doing a turnabout. The Royals won two of three from the A's ( Steve Busby beat them 2-1 for his 20th victory) and swept a doubleheader from the Rangers as they bumped the White Sox from fourth place.
Chicago, 2-3, won only when it had excellent pitching: Bart Johnson and Terry Forster stopped the A's 2-0, and Jim Kaat, who was 4-6 at one point, squelched the Twins 3-1 to reach 18-13. Nolan Ryan of California downed Chicago 6-2 for his 20th win.
OAK 86-67 TEX 80-72 MINN 79-74 KC 75-78 CHI 74-78 CAL 61-92
"I guess they think we're dead," quipped Pete Rose when the Reds arrived at their San Diego hotel and spotted a sign welcoming a convention of casket makers. But Manager Sparky Anderson did not seem to be joking when he said, "The Dodgers have it won." Los Angeles got two victories each from Don Sutton and Andy Messersmith. It was Sutton who began the week with a 7-1 win over Cincinnati with the help of a grand-slam home run by Jimmy Wynn. Although the Dodgers lost three other games, the Reds were 2-5 and fell 3� games back.
Playing the role of spoilers were San Francisco and San Diego. The Giants shocked the Reds twice—4-3 when Gary Thomasson drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth and 8-6 when Ed Goodson homered in the 10th. The Padres also zapped the Reds twice and knocked off the Dodgers once. Bill Greif beat the Reds 6-1 and the next day Enzo Hernandez, who had never had more than two RBIs in any game, drove in four runs as the Padres won 6-5. And Dan Spillner held off the Dodgers 4-3 with a five-hitter.
The smallest crowd in San Francisco history—748 for a game with the Braves—underscored the fact that the Giants will draw barely 500,000 for the year. In San Diego, however, the team went over 1 million in attendance for the first time.