Boomer and the Crunch Bunch put on their own fireworks display in a 9-6 Fourth of July victory celebration against Toronto at Fenway Park. When George (Boomer) Scott and the rest of Boston's over-the-wall gang went into the locker room, they had smashed eight home runs to tie a major league record. More important, the barrage stopped a nine-game losing streak that had dropped the Red Sox out of first place. Said the Boomer, "It was like a disease out there. When you're around our guys, you catch it."
The Red Sox (4-2) socked five more home runs before the week ended, but of greater significance to Boston's pennant chances was the sweet sound of line drives jumping off Fred Lynn's bat. Embarrassed by the widespread criticism concerning his making the starting lineup for the All-Star game despite a batting average of around .230, Lynn raised his mark an astonishing 56 points in 10 games. Now at .275, he says, "I want to be a .300 hitter by the All-Star game."
New York (5-2) and Baltimore (6-1) got together on a steamy 94-degree summer evening in Crab Town to begin one of those "crucial" series. The Orioles had won seven games in a row, but were undone by Yankee Catcher Thurman Munson, a man with true grit. Playing with a split little finger on his right hand that required seven stitches, Munson belted a home run and a single. Graig Nettles added three RBIs with a double and his 17th homer as New York won 7-5. Baltimore bounced back to win 6-5 Saturday night when two Yankee errors and a wild pitch contributed to a three-run Oriole uprising in the eighth inning.
Cleveland's little Larvell (Sugar Bear) Blanks cracked two home runs in one game to help Cleveland (3-3) and Dennis Eckersley defeat Toronto 11-5. The homer brought Blanks' total for the year to five, equalling his season high. Other mighty mites doing well with this year's new ball include Philadelphia's Larry Bowa with four homers (previous high: two) and the White Sox' Jim Essian with seven (previous high: zero).
Milwaukee's usually prodigious sluggers walloped only four homers all week, as the Brewers lost four of six. Don Money's pinch grand slam helped crush Seattle 10-3. Catcher Charlie Moore came out of an 8-for-57 slump to connect against the Red Sox in a 3-2 win.
Detroit (1-7) suffered through a nightmarish week, as Mark Fidrych's six-game winning streak came to a crashing halt. Twice the Bird was pelted by base hits and chased to the bird-bath before he could get three outs in the sixth inning. Baltimore got 10 hits in that length of time and hung a 6-4 loss on him; Chicago got 11 hits off him en route to a 10-7 victory. "I got to get my atmosphere built back," said Fidrych. " Rome wasn't built in a day, you know. But it was destroyed in a day."
Toronto (1-6) was falling apart, too—all except for 39-year-old Ron Fairly, who is seventh in the league in hitting with a .321 average.
NY 48-36 BALT 47-37 BOS 45-35 CLEV 39-40 MIL 39-43 DET 36-46 TOR 30-52