While the Mets' rooters mourned the loss of Tom Seaver (page 22), Yankee fans lamented their team's inclination to be more explosive off the field than on. For most of the week, the Yankees (2-4) behaved. Then came Round Forty-Six of the ruckus between Manager Billy (I'd Rather Fight Than Switch) Martin and Rightfielder Reggie (Candy Bar) Jackson during a 10-4 loss in Boston. Precipitating this latest misadventure was a bloop checked-swing double by Jim Rice that fell in front of Jackson, who, Martin felt, did not hustle after the ball. So Martin sent Paul Blair out to replace Jackson. As soon as Jackson reached the New York dugout, he and Martin exchanged purple words, angry shouts and bitter accusations. While network TV cameras focused on the incident, the two lunged for each other. Only the intervention of several players and coaches averted the Yankee version of Armageddon.
Teammate Lou Piniella had his own problems. After failing to beat out a grounder to deep short in one game, Piniella, who never has been compared to Mickey Rivers as a speedster, broke a light fixture near the dugout. Piniella was ejected from another game for allegedly throwing his bat in the direction of home-plate Umpire Bill Deegan. He was supposed to begin a three-day suspension the next day, but this season, players can appeal suspensions. Piniella did, and his suspension was delayed pending a hearing. He made the most of his reprieve. With New York trailing Kansas City 2-0 in the fifth, he singled, went to second on Blair's single, then—running like Rivers—galloped to third on a fly ball to left and pranced home after another fly. The Yankees went on to win 4-2 behind the four-hit pitching of Don Gullett. Another lefthander, rookie Ron Guidry, outdid Gullett, allowing only three hits in a 7-0 win over the Royals. For Guidry, who on four occasions had been knocked out in the ninth inning, it was his first complete game. He said he overcame his late-inning jitters by "making believe the ninth inning was the seventh."
Life among the Indians (2-4) was also tumultuous. Manager Frank Robinson was fired; Third Baseman Buddy Bell left the club for a day because of "personal reasons"; and In-fielder Larvell Blanks put on the most versatile clubhouse rampage of the season. Replacing Robinson was bullpen Coach Jeff Torborg, who signed a contract through the 1978 season. Bell returned to the team and had two hits as Dennis Eckersley struggled to a 5-4 win over Detroit. As for Blanks, he limbered up his throwing arm by angrily tossing his gear around the clubhouse for no known reason, and then he demonstrated a strong leg by booting a stool into a pot of brewing coffee. Andre Thornton vented his frustration in a more constructive manner, improving his .162 pregame batting average by singling in one run, slugging a two-run homer and finishing off Detroit 8-5 with a three-run homer in the 12th. Pat Kelly of Baltimore (4-2) settled an 8-5 contest with a three-run homer in the 11th against Milwaukee. Rudy May became a 20-game winner for the Orioles. Exactly one year after being acquired from the Yankees, May (9-5) won his 20th game as an Oriole, blanking the Brewers 6-0. Jim Palmer held off Toronto 4-2 for his 182nd career win, the most ever for an Oriole pitcher.
That setback was part of an all-losing week for the Blue Jays (0-6), who produced a total of only 10 runs. Although the cellar-dwelling Blue Jays kept losing, they also kept drawing large crowds at home. For their first 27 home dates they have attracted 626,111 fans—an average of 23,189—second in the league only to the Red Sox.
In today's parlance, homers are "taters." That being the case, the Red Sox (6-1) must lead the world in mashed taters. They started slowly, hitting nary a home run in their first three games. In a Fenway Park rarity, Boston got a pair of complete-game victories while sweeping a doubleheader from Texas, Reggie Cleveland prevailing 3-2 and Luis Tiant tossing a three-hitter while winning 2-0. Next came a 5-4 squeaker over the White Sox as Reliever Bill Campbell registered his fifth triumph when Carlton Fisk singled with the bases full in the bottom of the 10th. From there on the Red Sox resorted to power—16 homers in four games, one short of the Twins' 1963 record. George Scott conked two home runs and Bernie Carbo another as Chicago fell 7-1. Scott and Rice homered in a 7-3 loss to the White Sox. In two games against the Yankees, Boston out-homered New York 11-0, winning 9-4 and 10-4 to supplant the Yankees in first place. There were six homers in Game One, Scott hitting his 16th of the season and Fisk, who batted .423 for the week, unloading his 12th and 13th. In Game Two, Scott hit his fifth tater of the week, and Carbo and Carl Yastrzemski both cleared the fences twice. During the week, Yaz had 11 RBIs, Scott eight, and Rice hit .481. If they keep up their home-run pace (90 in 61 games), the Red Sox will finish with 255; the alltime high is 240 by the '61 Yankees. The redoubtable Campbell rendered the Yankees helpless in those two wins, pitching 6? innings of runless relief and chalking up his second and third saves of the week and 13th and 14th of the season.
Three pitchers who were not in the starting rotation in April hurled impressive victories for Detroit (3-3). Longtime Reliever John Hiller struck out 12 Blue Jays, giving him 62 whiffs in 60 innings, as the Tigers won 7-2. Fernando Arroyo, who also began the season in the bullpen, followed with a 9-0, five-hit conquest of Toronto. Then it was Mark Fidrych's turn. The Bird, whose left knee was operated on in April, submitted to tonsorial surgery by having his curly locks trimmed to moderate length. Said Fidrych. "My hair was too long. I couldn't see over to first." He then made short work of the Blue Jays, using just 81 pitches in a 4-1 victory.
Nifty pitching also bolstered Milwaukee (3-3). Jerry Augustine stopped the Royals 4-0, and Gary Beare, Sam Hinds and Bill Castro held the Angels to just one hit—a first-inning double by Joe Rudi—in a 4-2 triumph.
BOS 36-25 BALT 35-27 NY 36-28 MIL 31-34 CLEV 26-31 DET 27-33 TOR 23-37