Having all but wrapped up the division, New York (5-1) set about finding new ways to entertain its faithful. Trailing California 8-0 in the ninth, the Yankees tied the score only to lose 11-8 in 11 innings. They rebounded to beat Minnesota 5-4 in 19 and California 5-0 in 15. If the first marathon had the most excitement, the second had the most intriguing baseball. New York's Willie Randolph set a league record of 20 chances accepted (seven putouts, 13 assists) by a second baseman; Yankee Dick Tidrow threw 10? innings of four-hit relief; and Minnesota Manager Gene Mauch made two thought-provoking strategic moves. With Thurman Munson on third, Sandy Alomar on first and no one out in the 15th, Mauch removed his centerfielder and inserted Luis Gomez in the infield, putting three fielders between first and second against left-handed-hitting Carlos May. The move paid off when relocated Second Baseman Jerry Terrell knocked down May's smash and threw out Munson at the plate. The next batter, Graig Nettles, ended the inning by grounding into a double play. But with a man on second in the 19th, Mauch had Centerfielder Steve Brye play shallow against Mickey Rivers. Rivers lined a shot just out of Brye's reach to win the game for New York.
Baltimore (4-3) maintained its hold on second place when the league's top winner, Jim Palmer, earned his 17th and 18th victories, the first of them coming on Reggie Jackson's third grand slam in four months as an Oriole. Palmer could have plenty of company in the 20-victory circle, however, because Mark Fidrych of Detroit (3-3), Bill Travers of Milwaukee (4-2) and Luis Tiant of Boston (3-4) each won his 15th.
It was a topsy-turvy week for their teams though. The Tigers committed six errors while losing 12-7 to the White Sox, prompting Manager Ralph Houk to blame the ground crew. Milwaukee Pitcher Danny Frisella blew a ninth inning lead—and eventually the game—to Kansas City by walking the bottom three men in the batting order. "That's the first time I've done that since I came to the big leagues," he moaned. "I guess you can't do it every time. That's why people on bomb squads don't live long." Boston's Carl Yastrzemski went 4 for 5 on his 37th birthday, Ted Williams made a rare Fenway Park appearance and Bill Lee won his first start in a year. So far, so good. But this was the same week that Tiant complained because reporters questioned his stated age (35), Fred Lynn cost Boston a game by running through a stop sign at third and Ferguson Jenkins told the Boston Globe that the Red Sox were a "team of disunity." One reason for Jenkins' complaint: he had not received any invitations to dine at teammates' homes. The next day Jenkins' fellow Sox greeted him with calls of "Cocktails at six, dinner at eight."
Cleveland (5-1) stopped hosting a summer slumber party when Pat Dobson and Jackie Brown won their first games since July 16 and June 29, respectively. Unfortunately, Indian fans have gone to sleep. In order to draw I million this year, Cleveland is thinking of staging a pregame tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Renee Richards.
NY 77-48 BALT 66-60 CLEV 64-63 DET 61-66 BOST 60-67 MIL 57-66
While his crippled team continued its pursuit of Kansas City, Oakland (4-2) Manager Chuck Tanner said, "We should replace the Bicentennial symbol on our sleeves with the Red Cross emblem." Later in the week he varied his metaphor, saying, "They've tried to count us out lots of times, but they haven't reached 10 yet. We keep coming off the floor and coming back at them." The best fighter was plainly Pitcher Vida Blue (see box) who won twice, then announced, "We're going to court to break my three-year contract."
Minnesota (1-5) pinch hitter Tony Oliva, playing perhaps his last season, received a standing ovation when he came to bat at Yankee Stadium. The three-time batting champion promptly gave his admirers even more to cheer about by homering. Meanwhile, Texas fans were speechless. The Rangers lost six straight, including three to Milwaukee, their prime (2-10) tormentors of this lost season. The big frustration for California (2-4) was Frank Tanana's 13-strikeout, 13-inning masterpiece. It was all for naught, as the Angels lost in 15.
Chicago (3-4) rookie Ken Kravec was impressive in winning his first major league game when he set down the Brewers 5-2, but his strongest impression was of facing Henry Aaron for the first time. "When he came up, I thought, uh, oh, here he is, 750 of them. But after he popped up, I didn't think of him anymore as Henry Aaron, the Man." Later, when Aaron singled to drive in a run, Kravec had second thoughts about him.