Suddenly, it was a four-team race. Clinging to first place were the White Sox (2-6). Chicago scored three times in the last of the 10th to overhaul Kansas City 5-4 as Chet Lemon hit his second homer of the game, a two-run shot, and Ralph Garr drove in the clinching run with a single. It has become customary this season for Chicago rooters to give standing ovations to their heroes and for the Sox to acknowledge those cheers by tipping their caps or by emerging from the dugout. This has irked some opponents, among them Hal McRae and Amos Otis of the Royals, who homered during an 8-4 win in Chicago and then aped the Sox by doffing their caps as they circled the bases. "This isn't a circus or a nightclub act," McRae said angrily.
When the Sox came to Kansas City the Royals (5-3) continued to mimic them. During a 12-2 conquest, four Royal home-run hitters tipped their caps or came out of the dugout for curtain calls. The biggest bopper that day was John Mayberry, who hit for the cycle. Kansas City won the next day 6-3 as George Brett slammed his fourth homer of the week, a three-run poke. All told, Brett scored 11 runs, drove in nine and hit .405.
Moving up on the White Sox, too, were the Twins (6-2), who took over second place. Lyman Bostock hit .400 and drove across 12 runs, and Mike Cubbage climaxed an 11-run inning with a grand slam as the Twins outlasted the Indians 14-10. Paul Thormodsgard (9-8) beat Detroit 11-1; Dave Goltz held off the Royals 9-4 for his 13th win; and Tom Johnson earned his 12th save.
Texas (6-2) pulled to within four games of the top. Three wins in four games in Chicago accounted for half of the Rangers' four-game gain. After taking the series opener 11-6, the Rangers came back from a 7-0 deficit in the seventh inning of game No. 2 and won 9-8 on Willie Horton's double in the ninth. Texas took the third game 12-10, scoring six times in the 12th and then withstanding a four-run uprising by Chicago. Jim Sundberg kept the Rangers perking as he scored eight runs, drove in seven and batted .464.
Attendance in Seattle (3-2) topped 1 million. Local fans saw Glenn Abbott (9-7) beat Baltimore 6-1 on four hits and New York 9-2 for his fifth and sixth wins in a row. They also saw Lee Stanton homer and drive in three runs in each of those games. Dan Meyer was also a crowd pleaser with a .556 average.
Fans in Oakland (0-6) finally found something to cheer about—the opposition. Several A's were incensed when the spectators gave Boston's Luis Tiant half a dozen standing ovations while he blanked Oakland 1-0.
Ken Brett of California (4-2), who had been ineffective for weeks, utilized tips from Pitching Coach Marv Grissom to win his third and fourth games in a row. "He got me to shorten my stride and open my body more to put less strain on my elbow and more of it on my shoulder and body," Brett explained. Using his revamped delivery, Brett beat New York 4-1 and Baltimore 9-5. Nolan Ryan held off the Yankees 5-3 to become the league's first 15-game winner. And Frank Ta-nana got his 13th win and seventh shutout by stopping the Orioles 5-0 on three singles. Bobby Bonds put some oomph in the attack with four homers, raising his total to 25.
CHI 63-43 MINN 64-47 KC 60-45 TEX 59-47 CAL 51-54 SEA 48-63 OAK 42-65