Bobby Winkles' first 11 weeks as manager of the A's were crammed with problems: injuries, a 14-game losing streak and a road trip on which he found two right shoes in his equipment bag. Last week, the shoe—presumably a right one—was on the other foot for Oakland (5-2). Vida Blue's 12th win was a nifty four-hit, 3-1 job over the Tigers. Rookie relievers saved a pair of games against Toronto for Doc Medich, Bob Lacey protecting a 5-2 lead and Doug Bair preserving a 9-8 advantage.
Willie Crawford wrapped up the first of those games with a three-run pinch home run in the eighth inning. In the other, Oakland batters ran up a season high of 18 hits, including three each by Bill North, Rodney Scott, Earl Williams and Manny Sanguillen. A day earlier, the A's had 13 hits—Sanguillen also had three hits in that game—as they bopped the Blue Jays 8-4. By tossing 4? innings of scoreless relief, Pedro Torrealba earned the win.
While Kansas City, Chicago, Texas and Minnesota continued to battle for first (page 20), the scramble for sixth tightened as Seattle's edge over Oakland dwindled to five percentage points. A five-game Mariner losing streak ended when John Montague beat the Indians 4-3. Seattle's other win was also against Cleveland. In that 4-2 victory, the Mariners (2-5) scored three times in the top of the ninth on singles by Ruppert Jones, Carlos Lopez and Craig Reynolds and a double by Steve Braun.
Bobby Bonds of California (3-4) figured he was right on schedule in his effort to become the first ever to get 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in a single season. He has 31 home runs and 29 steals. No. 31 gave Bonds a share of the league lead with Graig Nettles of the Yankees and George Scott of the Red Sox. Ken Brett bagged his 11th win and Dave LaRoche his 13th save as the Angels defeated the Indians 5-2. Frank Tanana's 20th complete game and 15th victory came at the expense of the Blue Jays by a 3-2 score.
KC 74-52 CHI 72-54 TEX 72-56 MINN 73-57 CAL 61-64 SEA 52-80 OAK 49-77
On the whole, the Phillies (3-4) would rather have stayed in Philadelphia. It was there that they stretched their at-home winning streak to 13 games behind Steve Carlton, who yielded just five hits and struck out 14 while stopping the Astros 7-3. As he racked up his 18th win, Carlton socked his second homer of the season, giving him nine hits in his last 15 times up. The Phillies then won twice in Atlanta, Jim Lonborg chalking up his seventh straight victory in the first game by a 5-4 score. Mike Schmidt's 31st homer and Bake McBride's three hits, three stolen bases and game-saving catch in center field sealed a 3-2 Phillie win the next day. That gave the Phillies 19 wins in 20 outings and a 7�-game lead over the Pirates. But just as they seemed ready to make a runaway of the division race, they lost four games in a row as Carlton stopped hitting, Lonborg stopped winning and the defense became shoddy.
Pittsburgh (4-3) used superb pitching to get three week-ending wins and move within 4� games of the top. John Candelaria (14-4) and Larry Demery combined to shackle Los Angeles 2-1. Dave Parker's 18th homer and Rich Gossage's 18th save led to a 3-1 victory in San Diego. Winning Pitcher Bruce Kison had two singles, a double and a stolen base. In all, the Pirates stole 18 bases, seven by Frank Taveras, who leads the majors with 49. Jerry Reuss then whitewashed the Padres 4-0. The Bucs also downed the Padres 7-6, as Bill Robinson hit a two-run homer and Al Oliver a last-of-the-ninth blast.
Pittsburgh lost Rennie Stennett for the rest of the season after he suffered a broken right leg and dislocated ankle sliding into second base. He was batting .336, eight points below Parker's league-leading figure. And Willie Stargell may undergo surgery for a displaced nerve in his left elbow.