Ken Singleton wasn't the only hero as Baltimore (6-1) moved into first place. Mike Flanagan beat New York 4-3 and Milwaukee 4-2 for his fourth and fifth consecutive complete-game victories. Ross Grimsley won twice and Rudy May once. Though Eddie Murray (10 for 26. two game-winning hits) continued his barrage at the plate, it was Oriole pitching that had people finally believing Baltimore is a true contender. Fans of Boston (6-2), though, are worried their pitching may not be strong enough. Accordingly, the happiest news of the week was not that Carl Yastrzemski got his 2,655th hit to take over the club career lead from Ted Williams, but that Rick Wise pitched strongly in two wins.
New York's act was growing more and more tiresome. After Grimsley knocked the Yankees out of first place, New York Manager Billy Martin blamed the 6-0 loss on "greaseballs." This is the same Martin who attributed the Reds' four-game sweep of the World Series to bloop hits. The next day an unnamed Yankee accused owner George Steinbrenner of doing Martin's managing. Later in the week Catfish Hunter called his teammates selfish and wondered why Martin couldn't settle on a rotation. The answer is that the staff has been ailing all season. At week's end the Yankees (2-5) dropped two to Kansas City and were in third place.
Detroit (4-3) and Toronto (3-5) had topsyturvy weeks. The Tigers ran off a three-game win streak and a three-game losing streak. There was instant grief for 25,000 fans when Mark Fidrych had to leave a game with a sore arm after 15 pitches. Then there was instant joy when his substitute, Jim Crawford, threw 8? innings of scoreless baseball to beat Toronto 2-1. Blue Jay Ron Fairly, who celebrated his 39th birthday, was named to the American League All-Star team even as he was going 2 for 28.
There was nothing but bad news in Milwaukee (1-6) and Cleveland (1-7). The Brewers have lost 10 of their last 12 and Manager Alex Grammas was suffering further abuse. "Grammas is a nice guy," said utility man Mike Hegan, "but as a manager he makes a good third-base coach." Whereupon the Brewers gave Hegan his unconditional release. When they blew a 4-3 ninth-inning lead and went on to drop a seven-hour double-header to Boston, Third Baseman Sal Bando had another observation. "We're going to have to learn to come back," he said. "That's the one lesson we have to learn. We lost the first game, but we still had the chance to salvage a decent day, and it snowballed into a very bad day." The Indians homered nine times, but among the pitchers only Jim Bib-by could complete a game. And he lost it.
BALT 53-38 BOS 51-37 NY 50-41 CLEV 40-47 DET 40-49 MIL 40-49 TOR 33-57
California (3-4) busily fired one manager ( Norm Sherry), hired another ( Dave Garcia), fired a pitching coach (Billy Muffett) and hired a batting coach ( Frank Robinson). Then the Angels brought in hypnotist Arthur Ellen to teach the players positive thinking. Nolan Ryan came out of the session in a good enough mind-set to record his 98th 10-strikeout game, a 5-4 win over Seattle. The feat erased a Sandy Koufax record. Still lingering, though, was Ryan's remaining negative thought: he wasn't going to play in the All-Star Game because Billy Martin had added him to the team only as a last-minute pick. That made Ryan and two injured players, teammate Frank Tanana and Mark Fidrych, the best would-be rotation ever to miss an All-Star Game.
Another team quickly dropping out of contention was Minnesota (2-4). Twice Manager Gene Mauch inserted a five-man infield with an opposing runner on third. Twice the runner scored to beat the Twins. Rod Carew went 7 for 24 and his average dropped from .401 to .393. Finally, Lyman Bostock, gearing up for free agency, called the Twins a "second-class organization...playing with my mind in moving me from my natural position in center field to left field." Twins fans, he added, know little about baseball. Responded owner Calvin Griffith: " Bostock is a cancer on our club."
With Chicago treading water at 4-4 (page 8), Texas (5-2) and Kansas City (6-1) made their long-expected moves. For Texas, Toby Harrah delivered his ninth game-winning hit of the season, a 10th-inning single to beat Baltimore 4-3, and Bert Blyleven and Doyle Alexander had complete-game victories. For Kansas City, light-hitting Frank White went 8 for 12 over a three-game stretch, and Amos Otis added a steak, milk shake, pie and ice cream to his light frame before homering and tripling to beat Chicago. Manager Whitey Herzog was kind to George Brett, assessing him only a $5 fine after Brett ran through a third-base stop sign, scored—and thereby started a go-ahead rally against Oakland. Seattle (3-4) Manager Darrell Johnson was not so inclined toward Pitcher Stan Thomas. When Thomas revived an old feud with Minnesota's Mike Cubbage by throwing at him three times, Johnson levied "the biggest fine I've ever handed out." The fine, its amount undisclosed, followed a 15-0 shellacking. Things got even more embarrassing when Lee Stanton grounded into a triple play against California.