Baltimore's Mike Torrez is a native of Kansas, the Sunflower State, and it is fitting that he likes to eat sunflower seeds. But when he tosses the husks onto the artificial turf in K.C. it annoys the groundkeeper, who must pick them up by hand because his vacuum cleaner can't do the job. Last week Torrez added injury to insult by beating the Royals 4-2 for his 16th win. Jim Palmer of Baltimore (4-3) became the first 20-game winner in either league, stopping Chicago 4-2, thanks to a two-run single by Brooks Robinson.
Boston (3-2) maintained its 6�-game lead. A pair of 6-1 wins, by Bill Lee over the White Sox and by Rick Wise over the A's, brought each his 17th victory. Roger Moret held off the Angels 6-2, bringing his record to 11-2.
Cleveland (3-2) gained on New York (3-4) in the battle for third place, climbing to within four games of the Yankees. Fritz Peterson defeated the White Sox for his sixth straight triumph. Two rookies also contributed: Dennis Eckersley beat Chicago 5-1 and Rick Manning grand-slammed Minnesota 9-6. A two-run homer in the eighth by Bobby Bonds carried the Yankees past the A's 3-2, and daring base running by Thurman Munson, who went from first to third on a single to left, set up the winning run in a 10-inning 6-5 squeaker over the Royals.
"The spark is not there," said Don Money of the lethargic Brewers (2-4). But they did snap an eight-game losing streak, overcoming a 5-1 Oakland lead in the seventh to salvage a 7-6 nail-biter. Finishing with a flourish was Reliever Tom Murphy, who came on in the ninth with three on and nobody out, induced two pop-ups, added a strikeout and gained his 17th save.
Detroit lost five in a row, a slump that hardly drew a sigh from weary Tiger fans. Only once did Detroit hitters break loose, but when they did it was for eight runs in one inning—their biggest outburst of the year—in a 9-2 defeat of the Angels.
BOS 79-53 BALT 73-60 NY 67-66
CLEV 61-68 MIL 58-76 DET 52-81