Amid the confusion over the sale of Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi to the Red Sox and Vida Blue to the Yankees (page 22), the game went on, and Oakland (3-3) was cheered by its new act, Abbott and Lindblad. Although the A's knew who was on first, they did not know who was going to pitch for them on Tuesday because of the impending sale of Blue. So, shortly before game time, Pitching Coach Wes Stock said to Glenn Abbott, "Surprise. You're starting tonight." It turned out to be a pleasant surprise, for Abbott, who had not been on the mound in nearly a month, allowed the Red Sox just two hits and two runs in eight innings. Abbott was then replaced by Paul Lindblad, who became a 3-2 winner when Gene Tenace, Oakland's man on first, hit his second homer of the night and sixth in seven games in the bottom of the ninth. Four days later the two pitchers went into their routine again, Abbott being credited with his first win and Lindblad with his first save as Oakland muscled past Milwaukee 7-4.
With Shortstop Fred Patek, Second Baseman Frank White and Pitchers Steve Busby and Doug Bird all hurt, the Royals (4-2) had to make do. Did they ever. They pounded out 24 hits in a 21-7 drubbing of Detroit. Leading the assault were Dave Nelson, who took over at second base and had four RBIs; Amos Otis, who drove in five runs; George Brett, the regular third baseman, who moved over to short and rapped out four hits; and Tom Poquette, who had five hits and scored five times.
Minnesota came up with two wins in seven tries—barely. Leading the Tigers 4-0 in the top of the sixth, Dave Goltz was tagged for a single, double, two triples, a homer and four runs. After those runs poured across, the rain poured down while the Twins batted in the sixth. It rained so hard that the game was called, the score reverting to the last full inning, the fifth. That washed away Detroit's four runs and made Goltz a 4-0 winner.
Rich Gossage of Chicago (0-7) was a sore loser, being hit on both legs by batted balls as the Yankees beat him 4-3.
Bert Blyleven, who was supposed to give the Texas pitching staff a lift, lost 9-4 to Cleveland, his third defeat without a win since being obtained from Minnesota. Those were the only losses for the Rangers (2-4) in 11 games before they dropped the next three to the Orioles. Gaylord Perry stopped the Indians 3-2 and moved past Bob Feller and Warren Spahn into sixth place on the all-time strikeout list by fanning six and raising his total to 2,586.
Nolan Ryan was glad to have his rhythm back, Gary Ross was happy that his sinkerball sank and the Angels (4-3) were further delighted by the fielding of Ron Jackson and the slugging of Bob Jones. Those four combined to snap some bad streaks. With his pitching rhythm restored, Ryan was as steady as a metronome while muffling the Brewers 1-0 on two hits. Ross also tossed a two-hitter, downing Milwaukee 2-0 as he got 18 outs on grounders, three of them on scintillating plays by Jackson, the team's new third baseman. For Ross it was his first complete game in 28 starts since 1968. Jones, who took over in center field last week, walloped a pair of home runs, the first by an Angel at Anaheim in five weeks. Those drives aided Ryan, who, still rhythmic, came back to strike out 15 and halt Boston 5-3.
KC 39-21 TEX 33-25 MINN 29-31 OAK 30-33 CHI 27-31 CAL 27-39
The Orioles' Jim Palmer ended a nine-game Baltimore losing streak with his first win in 17 days, a five-hit, 4-0 shutout of Chicago. After that came a whopping 10-player deal with New York. Yankee Pitchers Dave Pagan, Rudy May, Tippy Martinez and Scott McGregor and Catcher Rick Dempsey for Oriole Pitchers Ken Holtzman, Doyle Alexander, Grant Jackson and Jim Freeman and Catcher Elrod Hendricks. With all the uniform changes taken care of, the Orioles (5-1) continued winning. Mike Cuellar beat Chicago 10-2 in his first complete game of the season, Reliever Pagan saved a 4-1 win over Texas and May handled the Rangers 9-4. Next the Orioles rallied to topple the Rangers 8-4, Palmer winning again and striking out 11. The Orioles, who had just 31 homers in their first 54 games, exploded for a dozen, Lee May hitting four and taking the league lead with 13. Outfielder Ken Singleton took over as the team's designated hitter—and explained how he utilized his new free time: "I had a diet drink, a few Doritos, watched the game on TV and read Penthouse."