- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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PITT 85-73 ST.L 84-74 PHIL 78-80 MONT 77-81 NY 69-89 CHI 66-92
Oakland Clinched its fourth straight divisional title, but was upstaged by California's Nolan Ryan. "I think I'll let it all hang out," Ryan said before facing the Twins. He did precisely that, striking out 15, walking eight and hurling his third no-hitter in two years. Score: 4-0. Coupled with an earlier five-hit, nine-strikeout effort against the Royals, Ryan has a 22-16 record and 367 strikeouts. As for the A's, they hardly bothered to sip the champagne commemorating the clinching. Catfish Hunter won his 25th game, but Ken Holtzman, irked because Manager Alvin Dark said he would not give him another start to try for his 20th victory, said, "I plan to retire, anyhow."
Texas, 2-3, Minnesota, 2-4, and Kansas City, 2-4, all stumbled. But Ferguson Jenkins earned his 24th win for the Rangers and Jackie Brown, who began the season as the team's batting-practice pitcher, won for the 13th time as he downed the Royals 11-0. But Jim Bibby failed for the third time to win his 20th game. After defeating the Angels 6-2, the Twins managed to score only five runs in their next five games, one a 1-0 victory by Bert Blyleven over the A's. The Royals kept losing despite the 15-for-27 hitting of Third Baseman George Brett.
Jim Kaat of Chicago defeated Texas 5-1 and Oakland 3-1 to become a 20-game winner. The White Sox, 4-1, missed a chance for an all-victorious week when they were guilty of stranding 18 runners in a 6-5 loss to the A's.
OAK 89-70 TEX 82-75 MINN 81-78 CHI 78-79 KC 77-82 CAL 65-94
After becoming the 12th player in baseball history to get 3,000 hits, Al Kaline of the Tigers endured a round of ceremonious picture taking, which he ended by saying, "Let's get going. These guys [the Orioles] are fighting for a pennant and I don't want to mess them up." He should not have been so concerned about the Birds, who edged ahead in the East by winning all five of their games. They got to the top by utilizing a play Manager Earl Weaver admitted "is really not good because too many things can go wrong," then a "side-pocket shot" and finally a dinky ground ball. The first was a suicide squeeze by Andy Etchebarren that brought in the decisive run in the eighth inning as the Orioles beat the Tigers 5-4. The next night Tommy Davis, nicknamed Willie Mosconi because of his many "billiard-shot" hits, capped a three-run ninth with a two-out, off-the-end-of-the-bat single that drove in two runs. Orioles 5, Tigers 4, again. Subsequently, in the 17th inning of a scoreless game with the Brewers, Baltimore won when Bob Oliver came up with the bases loaded, took a mighty swing and hit a chopper to third base that enabled a run to score. Mike Cuellar got more conventional support in the form of 14 runs as he won his 21st and 22nd games.
Sparky Lyle sawed the legs off Bobby Murcer's clubhouse rocking chair, so Murcer went out and rocked the Indians with a homer to beat them 2-1. That win in the week's first outing kept the Yankees in first place, but the loss of a doubleheader to the Red Sox dropped them back, and they spent the rest of their time scrambling to stay in the race, which they did by beating the Red Sox 1-0 and sweeping two from the Indians. Ron Blomberg slugged three two-run homers against Cleveland, two in a 9-3 first-game triumph and another as a pinch hitter in the five-run eighth of a 9-7 nightcap win that kept the Yankees within half a game of the Birds.