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THE WEEK (April 5-8)
Herman Weiskopf
April 17, 1978
AL WEST
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April 17, 1978

The Week (april 5-8)

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AL WEST

Instead of the season opener being in Cincinnati, as it had been for years, it was held indoors in Seattle. And at night. The distinction of hosting the league's first game—in this case it was the majors' opener, too—was the Mariners' for the asking when they joined the league last season. It will apparently be theirs for years to come, if no other team squawks.

Impervious to the hail, thunder and lightning that descended upon those who were outdoors in Seattle, the Mariners stormed past the Twins 3-2 in the Kingdome. Glenn Abbott picked up the win and Shortstop Craig Reynolds hit a two-run homer.

Seattle (2-2) also got fine pitching from three 23-year-olds who have dubbed themselves the Three Stooges: Steve Burke (who wears uniform No. 39), Rick Honeycutt (No. 40) and Shane Rawley (No. 41). Honeycutt and Enrique Romo combined on a four-hitter and trimmed the Twins 6-3.

Between those two defeats, Minnesota (2-2) beat the Mariners 5-4, despite nifty relief work by Rawley (no runs in four innings) and Burke (one run in 3? innings). Minnesota rookie Roger Erickson, 21, who has a collection of 1,500 comic books ("Almost all the Marvel comics," he says proudly), was, in his own way, a marvel. Erickson, a non-roster invitee to the Twins' spring camp, gave up five hits in 6? innings and won his debut. Minnesota finished the week with an 8-2 victory over the Mariners. Paul Thormodsgard pitched a three-hitter to get the win.

Atop the West was Chicago (2-0), the winner of two improbable 6-5 encounters with Boston. In the first game the White Sox went into the ninth trailing 5-4. Ron Blomberg, late of the Yankees, ended 2� years of "super depression" by belting a game-tying homer. And then Chet Lemon singled and came home on a bloop double by Wayne Nordhagen, much to the delight of a Comiskey Park day-game record crowd of 50,754. Chicago was behind 5-2 in the eighth of the next game, but Lemon tied the score with a two-out, two-run double and scored on a single by Eric Soderholm.

Shortstop Mario Guerrero, the player to be named later in the deal that sent Vida Blue to the Giants, joined the A's (1-1) on Friday. Guerrero, a former Angel with only two homers in 1,204 at bats, unloaded a three-run shot in the eighth inning on Saturday for a 4-2 win over California (1-1). Nolan Ryan started for the Angels but was yanked with a 2-0 lead after six innings, 123 pitches and 13 strikeouts. In the opener between Oakland and California, Frank Tanana of the Angels beat the A's 1-0 with a six-hitter.

Texas owner Brad Corbett, who spent tons of money during the off-season signing new players, got an early dividend as the Rangers (1-0) jolted the Yankees 2-1. Going all the way was ex-Met Jon Matlack. And driving in both Texas runs was Richie Zisk, formerly of the White Sox. Zisk, who batted only .138 in spring training, had three hits, including a decisive home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Kansas City's only game, an 8-5 loss in Cleveland, drew the ire of Royal fans, who decried last week's trading of John Mayberry to Toronto. With Mayberry not around to snag errant throws to first base, two infielders were charged with errors on tosses that got past rookie Clint Hurdle.

CHI 2-0 TEX 1-0 SEA 2-2 MINN 2-2 CAL 1-1 OAK 1-1 KC 0-1

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