During spring training Dock Ellis of the Pirates had a glorious 0.25 ERA, Bruce Kison an atrocious 6.93. Last week Ellis was shelled for the second time in a row, and Kison downed the Mets 5-3 on three hits.
After being pulled for a pinch hitter with Pittsburgh leading 3-2 in the seventh, New York's Tom Seaver said some things about his teammates' fielding and about Yogi Berra's managing. Seaver bemoaned the poor defensive support he received and questioned Berra's wisdom in yanking him. After the Cubs beat him 4-2, Seaver admitted, "I was mediocre." All was not lost, though. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 14-7 and got some decent relief pitching for a change, rookie Rick Baldwin hurling 5? strong innings: Unlike Seaver, Baldwin felt he got plenty of support, and not only from the Met offense. "I prayed," Baldwin said. "I never could have done it without Him."
CHI 7-1 ST.L 6-4 PHIL 5-5
PITT 4-4 MONT 3-7 NY 2-6
"Gaylord and I have an understanding," said Milwaukee's Henry Aaron of Cleveland's Perry. "If he makes good pitches, he gets me out. If he makes bad ones, I hit them out." Three times Perry made good pitches and three times Aaron struck out. But when he made a bad one Henry jumped on it for his first AL homer and the 734th of his career in a 5-1 win. The Brewers, 3-2, took the lead in the East, Billy Champion picking up a couple of neat wins, a 3-0 two-hitter in Cleveland and a 7-1 five-hitter against the Orioles in Baltimore.
Otherwise the Orioles were strong, winning three games as four NL transplants excelled. In an 11-3 romp over the Red Sox, Ken Singleton drove in three runs, and Mike Torrez, who was with Singleton on the Expos last year, got the win. Ex-Astro Mike Cuellar beat the Brewers 2-0, and another former Houstonian, Lee May, had seven RBIs in a 9-7 victory in Boston.
Centerfielder Fred Lynn, 23, went 9 for 15 (.600), had three homers and drove in seven runs as Boston split four games. Jim Rice. 22, took over as designated hitter from Tony Conigliaro and promptly walloped two balls over the wall. Bill Lee, using a blooper-type pitch he calls "a sludge curve," beat New York 5-3.
In Cleveland's lone win in three outings, Gaylord Perry beat Milwaukee 3-1 for his 200th career triumph. Boog Powell said the shocking-red home uniforms worn by the Indians made him feel "like a massive blood clot." Other Indians felt the same and petitioned management for blue shirts to go with their vermilion trousers.
Another ponderer of uniforms, Walt (No Neck) Williams, a 5'6" utility man for New York, said, "If a guy looks good in his uniform, if he's big and handsome, they think of him as a starter. Me, I'm bowlegged and short and they say, 'Man, he can't play every day.' " Maybe he can't, but No Neck's hitting .556. A Yankee official said the team would not change to bright new duds because their pinstripes are "well, chiseled in stone, cast in bronze." Catfish Hunter? In his second and third defeats, against no victories, he was tagged for 15 hits and 11 runs in 10? innings, raising his ERA to 7.32. But Bobby Bonds' somnolent bat awoke: he stroked three hits, including a three-run homer, in an 11-3 win over the Tigers. Doc Medich, who earlier had stopped Detroit 6-0, earned that victory.
Just as he had in his first at bat against Hunter the week before, Willie Horton of the Tigers hit a home run, this time-a three-run blast that highlighted an 8-3 win.