- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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When the Royals arrived in Oakland for a three-game series, both teams were in top form. Kansas City was fresh off an 8-7 win over California in which Tony Solaita hit three home runs and John Mayberry two, giving him the league lead with 33. But the Angels did not concede until Solaita knocked in the deciding run in the 11th with a measly single. For the Royals it was their eighth straight triumph and it moved them to within five games of the A's, who started the week by taking a doubleheader from the Rangers.
In Game One of the pivotal series in Oakland the A's stomped to an 8-2 victory as Gene Tenace, Sal Bando and Claudell Washington homered to back up Ken Holtzman's five-hit pitching. Tenace hit another homer the next night, but it was not until the 14th that a 1—all deadlock was snapped. Bert Campaneris reached base on a two-out error and then, despite the gimpy leg that prevented him from starting at short and in defiance of Manager Alvin Dark's orders not to run, stole second. Bill North brought Campy home with a single, and the A's led the Royals by seven. In Game Three, Tenace homered again (No. 24), and so did Bando as Oakland coasted 9-1, Vida Blue getting his 19th win. Bando, who had begun the week with just 10 homers for the season, slugged two more in an 8-5 decision over the Twins. The A's finished the week with seven wins and one loss. The Royals (3-4) took a doubleheader from the Angels 10-2 and 7-2, John Mayberry getting four RBIs. By week's end he had a league high of 99, one more than Boston's Jim Rice.
Saturday the 13th was memorable for the Angels (3-3), who beat the Royals 6-2 for the first time in 13 games. After giving up a double to his nemesis, George Brett, Ed Figueroa finally stopped him. Brett had reached Figueroa for 13 consecutive hits.
Texas (4-3) utilized an offense that ranged from explosive (four homers in a 9-4 conquest of Minnesota) to timely ( Dave Nelson's two RBIs in the ninth sidetracked the Twins 4-2) to patient (three 10th-inning walks, one with the bases jammed, defeated Chicago 8-7).
Four RBIs by Jorge Orta enabled Chicago to put down Texas 5-2 for its only win in five tries. Minnesota (2-5) trimmed Chicago 9-1 as rookie Jim Hughes won his 14th with the help of two homers by Steve Brye, his first at bats since he suffered a broken hand two months ago.
OAK 90-57 KC 82-65 TEX 73-76 CHI 69-77 MINN 67-77 CAL 67-81
The Orioles got unexpected help from Johnny Walker, not the whiskey but a Baltimore disc jockey, who flew to Kenya, where he had a witch doctor cast an evil spell on the Red Sox last Saturday. That was the day the Orioles (6-2) stopped the Tigers 8-0 and the Red Sox (4-5) split with the Brewers, leaving Baltimore only four games back. In the Oriole win Paul Blair drove in five runs and Doyle Alexander won his second four-hitter of the week. Jim Palmer of the Birds zapped the Indians 10-2 for his 21st victory and Mike Torrez came out on top twice to bring his record to 18-8. The Sox got a lift when Luis Tiant, winless for nearly a month, beat the Tigers 3-1.
Catfish Hunter of New York (6-1) became the third American Leaguer to have five 20-win seasons in a row, joining Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove when he zeroed Baltimore 2-0. Hunter later beat the Brewers 10-2.