The division was not only loaded with offense but also with offensive behavior. Texas (3-2) Pitcher Bert Blyleven set the tone by hitting Kansas City Catcher Darrell Porter on the leg during the ninth inning of a 5-0 Ranger win. Blyleven was retaliating for a pitch Royal Marty Pattin had buzzed by the head of Texas' Juan Beniquez, who had hit one of his rare home runs earlier in the game. Admitting he had deliberately thrown at Porter, Blyleven said, "I didn't throw at him hard.... I think it puts a little excitement into the game.... I'd rather have the respect of my teammates than a shutout." He didn't have the respect of American League President Lee MacPhail, who fined him $500 and suspended him three days. Other Ranger hitmen were Willie Horton, Claudell Washington and Sandy Alomar, each of whom drove in three runs in a 14-4 win over Chicago.
The Royals (3-3) were peeved at everyone, including themselves. Porter said he couldn't understand how Texas Manager Frank Lucchesi could order a beanball after being beaten up in spring training by Lenny Randle KC Manager Whitey Herzog called Lucchesi "Emmett Kelly" and said of his own sagging slugger John Mayberry (.240 average and three homers), "My patience is exhausted. It's ridiculous for a man with his talent to hit like he has for 1� seasons." Other choice words came from Pattin, who said of Beniquez, "Why hit a guy like that when you can get him out?" And from George Brett, who said of Blyleven, "If he had any brains, he'd be 25-0." Despite all the heated language and the .474 batting of Tom Poquette, Kansas City was cold on the field, most chillingly blowing a ninth-inning lead and losing 2-1 to Toronto.
Minnesota (4-2) contributed to the mayhem when Rod Carew took some swings at Detroit's Dave Roberts, who had plugged Carew on the back with a pitch. "He's a control pitcher, and I'm sure he threw at me," said Carew, who was ejected after the second-inning episode. Roberts lasted only a couple of batters more, and Minnesota won 7-3. The Twins had 62 hits for the week, but needed to call on their bullpen five times, an ominous turn of events considering the auto accident Relievers Mike Pazik and Don Carrithers were involved in. Carrithers (fractured kneecap, broken right wrist and a partial rupture of the quadriceps tendon) will be out three months; Pazik (broken legs) is through for the season.
Chicago (2-4) fell out of first despite 13 homers. The pitchers, especially Steve Stone, who lost twice to Texas, were the culprits. With an 0-2 count. Stone even threw a run-scoring wild pitch to .182-hitter John Ellis. Events were somewhat happier—if a little mixed up—in Oakland (3-4), where owner Charlie Finley gave $10,000 raises to rookies Rick Langford and Rob Picciolo. Broadcaster Monte Moore mistakenly introduced Right-fielder Larry Murray as Wayne Murray, Finley introduced newly acquired Infielder Marty Perez as Tony, and Dick Allen introduced a sobering note after his young teammates complained of the umpiring. "I've never seen such a bunch of crybabies," he said. Upon hitting his fourth homer of the season, Allen refused teammates' handshakes, saying, "Tell it to the umpires." Another veteran, Dock Ellis, had no scapegoats after losing his first start since coming from the Yankees. "I was terrible," he said. So was Seattle (2-5).
Despite a 2-4 week, California provided the division with a model of deportment. After being demoted to the bullpen, Paul Hartzell said, "I would rather help a club win a pennant in relief than start for an also-ran." And also-rans the Angels were, although Joe Rudi had two homers. He has five for the season, all of them when Frank Tanana (4-0) was pitching.
MINN 13-9 KC 11-8 OAK 12-9 CHI 10-8 TEX 10-8 CAL 9-13 SEA 8-16
Streaking from fourth to second, New York (6-1) never had a dull moment. The Yankees whipped their Cleveland cousins 10-1 and 7-1 to extend a winning streak over the Indians to 10. In Baltimore, New York encountered effigies, obscenities and flying hot dogs, all directed at former Oriole Reggie Jackson. Responding with five RBIs, Jackson led the Yankees to victories in two of three games. When Ron Guidry beat Seattle 3-0 and Ed Figueroa bested the Mariners 7-2, Manager Billy Martin should have been enjoying himself. Instead he was wondering when new Pitcher Mike Torrez would show up. Torrez was rumored to be both fishing in Arizona and attending his sick wife in Montreal.
Baltimore (3-4) owed its wins to Ken Singleton, who went 10 for 28 and drove in six runs. None of the hits was more satisfying than the 10th-inning single that beat Nolan Ryan 4-3. "I was aggravated all night because I wasn't touching the ball," he said. "The hit was some sort of strange gratification." Stranger still was 10-year-veteran Tom Shopay's first major league homer in a 3-1 win over Detroit. Asked why he has hit only one tater, Shopay said, "My bats-weren't long enough."