In its 17-3 victory over Detroit, Milwaukee's Henry Aaron drove in two runs and broke Babe Ruth's career RBI record of 2,209. "No more plateaus," Aaron said. "I've never set any goals. I just do my best, and the records fall." Next night the Brewers, 5-1 for the week, took over the division lead when Billy Champion beat New York 4-2 for his fourth win.
Cleveland's Leron Lee joined another set of immortals—trivia's own Duffy Lewis, who once hit for Babe Ruth, and Carroll Hardy, who batted for Ted Williams—when he pinch-hit for Frank Robinson. Manager Robinson removed himself with the Indians trailing Boston 7-6 in the ninth, two men on and two out, so that the left-handed Lee could face right-handed Pitcher Diego Segui. Lee fanned on three pitches. Nonetheless, Robinson said, "Nobody's that much better than us" when the Indians, 4-3, got welcome wins from Don Hood and Fritz Peterson.
The Yankees split eight games, two of the victories being Catfish Hunter's first wins of the season. After studying video tapes of his earlier starts Hunter held the Brewers hitless for 7? innings, beating them 10-1 on three hits. Then he shut out Baltimore 5-0 on five hits.
Boston, 2-2, drew just 6,016 for the 7-6 Cleveland thriller and another 9,309 to watch an 8-1 loss to Gaylord Perry. The faithful few begged for power and booed slumping (.220) Carl Yastrzemski. Defending Yaz, Manager Darrell Johnson said, "He's struggling, but I know he's going to start hitting sooner or later."
Baltimore was defenseless. As the Orioles dropped six straight, the bullpen lost control four times in the late innings. One night Centerfielder Paul Blair announced a mock lineup in the team bus. "Who do you have in your bullpen?'' someone asked. "No one," said Blair. "All starters must finish."
MIL 12-7 DET 10-8 BOS 9-9 CLEV 9-9 NY 10-12 BALT 7-12
"Another club can be beating you for six innings," said Texas Manager Billy Martin, "but for some reason the good ball clubs get tough and win them in the last three." In a 4-1 week his Rangers won twice in the late innings, but not entirely because they were tough. They scored the deciding run in the ninth to beat Chicago 2-1 without getting the ball out of the infield. Jim Sundberg, hit by a pitch, reached third on an error and scored when Lenny Randle hit a roller that Bill Melton couldn't get out of his glove. The next night, trailing California 3-0 in the ninth, Texas rallied, if that's the word for it, to win 4-3. Jeff Burroughs led off by striking out, but reached first when Bill Singer's wild pitch got by Catcher Ellie Rodriguez. A double, two walks, a sacrifice fly and single later, the winning run scored on Reliever Frank Tanana's wild pitch.
The A's, who took over first place in a 2-2 week, demonstrated how late-inning baseball is really played. Beating Chicago 4-3 in 12 innings, they stole four bases in the last five innings. "They're a great club," said White Sox Manager Chuck Tanner. "They keep coming." Said A's Centerfielder Bill North, who drove in the winning run with a single, "We beat you with the long ball, on defense, with speed, every way." Chicago, 2-5, had no way. Pitching-poor, they were forced to use Rich Gossage, who was supposed to start the next day, for five innings of relief, and to keep starting Stan Bahnsen despite his 12.00 earned run average.