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Rod Carew of Minnesota (1-3) predicted he would win his fifth straight batting title despite George Brett's 40-point lead. Then Carew had one hit in a three-game series with Cleveland and fell further back. Brett appears unbeatable anyway. He went three-for-four against Boston—the 22nd time this season he has had three or more hits—as Kansas City posted a 4-2 week.
Chicago (2-2) and California (1-3) sought other ways to entertain. The White Sox managed to pass 500,000 in attendance on their 33rd home date by staging a Greek-American Night featuring Alex Karras and 13 belly dancers. The evening's festivities concluded with Bart Johnson and Dave Hamilton combining to beat Milwaukee 5-2. As the Angels kept slipping, Andy Etchebarren created a "Kalifornia Kangaroo Kourt" similar to the one that sat in Baltimore when he played with the Orioles. One important difference: such "felonies" as poor base running and feeble swings will result in fines of only $1 (the Orioles charged $5). The Kourt meets after wins—which may mean it will not meet often.
KC 55-32 TEX 44-42 OAK 45-43 MINN 40-46 CHI 39-46 CAL 36-54
New York (1-3) was doing two things it cannot afford to do: lose close games and get bad relief pitching. Beaten 4-3 and 1-0 by the Astros, the Mets also dropped a 9-8 decision to Atlanta when all three of New York's stoppers—Jon Matlack, Jerry Koosman and Tom Seaver—pitched in the same game for the first time. However, it was Reliever Bob Apodaca who gave up the deciding hit, a three-run double to Willie Montanez.
Their pennant hopes all but crushed, Met fans turned their attention to slugger Dave (Kong) Kingman, who homered for the 31st time in a 3-1 win over Houston. Kingman was torn between his distaste for discussing home run records and his obligations to Shea Stadium crowds. "Why don't I want to talk about home runs?" he asked. "Because the more I talk about them, the more I think about them." But thinking of Shea, where he has homered only 11 times this year, Kingman said, "Maybe I'll hit more at home the second half of the season. The fans here have big expectations."
Philadelphia (2-2) Pitcher Jim Kaat stopped San Diego (3-0) in 1:36 and lost 1-0 to San Francisco in 1:32, the shortest game of the year. Kaat and his teammates were only too happy to leave cold, windy Candlestick Park, where they had dropped two of three games to the Giants. "If I had to play here," said Greg Luzinski, who was two-for-11 in San Francisco, "I'd go bananas."
Pittsburgh (3-1) outscored its opponents 30-18, and even slumping (.259 for the season) Rennie Stennett got into the act, doubling home the deciding run in an 8-5 win over Cincinnati. The Pirates were streaking even in defeat. Frank Taveras stole his 24th consecutive base in a 10-2 loss to Atlanta.
After Mike Anderson of St. Louis (3-1) had three hits and scored three runs in a victory over Padre Randy Jones, Cardinal Trainer Gene Gieselmann had the hotel bellhop wake him at 9 a.m. and present him with 10 copies of a laudatory newspaper article.
Attempting to catch winless Chicago, Montreal (1-3) celebrated when Woodie Fryman beat the Reds for the first time since Aug. 8, 1975. Unfortunately for the Expos what Fryman won was a cow-milking contest, not a baseball game.