BOS 73-48 BALT 65-54 NY 62-58
MIL 56-65 CLEV 52-65 DET 47-74
The Oakland- Kansas City race tightened when the A's dropped four of seven games at home. Still, Oakland's grittiest victory, a 4-3 defeat of the Red Sox, had a playoff feel to it. Claudell Washington went to the wall for one drive and made a shoestring catch of another after eighth-inning homers by Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk had cut the A's lead to one run. Joe Rudi saw a specialist after he injured his left thumb and was told he might have to wear a cast on it for the rest of the season. So the indefatigable Rudi found a more obliging doctor, who said the cast could be removed within two weeks.
While the Royals remained six games behind, Texas moved up to third place. When the Rangers acquired 36-year-old Gaylord Perry from Cleveland in June, he could not keep the ball down—and his 6-9 record showed it. And after Perry lost four in a row for Texas, it seemed that the Indians knew what they were doing. But since July 6 Perry has been making like the best pitcher in baseball, with a 7-2 record and four shutouts. In the last 67 innings he has given up three earned runs. Tom Grieve knocked in 11 runs in seven games as Texas won seven of nine on the road.
Jim Kaat won his 17th game as the White Sox split six games and fell to fourth place.
Minnesota, the most schizophrenic team in either league, has the following record for the past six weeks: lost five in a row and, soon thereafter, four more in a row; won four straight; lost four straight; won four straight; suffered only one defeat last week (7-4 to Milwaukee) before winning three straight. Bert Blyleven (12-6) triumphed twice, and in a 9-1 slaughter of Cleveland, every Twin in the starting lineup got at least two hits.
California, easily the best and most entertaining of the four last-place teams, won five of seven as young Frank Tanana fastballed his way past injured teammate Nolan Ryan to take over the major league lead in strikeouts, with 179. The speedy Angels stole six bases in one game—four in the same inning—and that prompted another major league leader, Mickey Rivers, to predict that he might break Lou Brock's record next year. "I have 60 steals now," said Rivers. "I'm going after 80 this year, and I'd like to get 120 next season."
OAK 73-48 KC 66-53 TEX 60-62
CHI 58-62 MINN 56-66 CAL 55-68