Playing as if they had taken a miracle cure, a passel of aching, ailing or aging major-leaguers joined Ferguson Jenkins of Texas in demonstrating their revitalization. No one waited as long between victories as David Clyde of Cleveland (3-4). It was in 1973 that Clyde came out of high school to make a spectacular debut for Texas. But his fortunes nosedived thereafter. After repeatedly being cuffed around, being sent to the minors, undergoing shoulder surgery and being traded, Clyde returned to the majors with the Indians. Clyde's first triumph in four years and one day was a four-hit 3-2 verdict over Oakland in which he struck out eight and did not allow a ball out of the infield for six innings. Sid Monge, who had pitched just five innings all season, gave up one hit in 6? innings of relief to defeat New York 5-4.
Helping Detroit (5-2) to return to first place were Pitchers Bob Sykes, John Hiller, Jack Billingham and Jim Slaton, and Catcher Milt May. Sykes, who started the season in the minors, boosted his record to 3-0 by whitewashing Oakland 15-0 with his second straight four-hitter and by beating Boston 7-5. Locking up that win was Hiller. 8-14 last year, who yielded only one run in 9? innings of relief as he earned his third and fourth saves. Hiller's other save wrapped up a 5-3 victory in Milwaukee for Billingham (4-1), who was 10-10 with Cincinnati last season. Also running his record to 4-1 was Slaton, a 14-game loser with Milwaukee in 1977, who stopped Seattle on five hits. May (.249, 12 home runs, 46 RBIs last season) swatted three homers, drove in seven runs and boosted his average to .338. Adding to the assault—the Tigers batted .338 and slugged 13 homers—was Jason Thompson, who hit three round-trippers and had eight RBIs.
Two sore-armed players enabled Boston (3-2) to stay within percentage points of Detroit. Bill Campbell, pitching for the first time since April 30, tossed three innings of scoreless relief as the Red Sox overhauled the Tigers 6-5. Providing the game-winning hit in that game was Butch Hobson, who got a cortisone shot for his ailing arm.
Giving New York (4-3) a lift was seldom-used Ken Holtzman, who beat Chicago 8-3 for his first victory. After being benched for lackadaisical play, Centerfielder Mickey Rivers was forced back into action when Roy White pulled a hamstring. Rivers' seventh-inning triple drove in the go-ahead run as the Yankees bushwhacked the Indians 5-3. Keeping the offense churning were Chris Chambliss, who hit .393 and had 12 RBIs, and Lou Piniella, who batted .423, drove in nine runs and elevated his average to .365.
Having shelved plans for a pro golf career, Shortstop Robin Yount returned to the Milwaukee (5-3) lineup and hit .409.
Baltimore (3-3) averted a drop into the cellar by keeping Toronto there with a 5-3 decision in which Doug DeCinces slammed two home runs. Jim Palmer, winless in four previous outings, stopped Cleveland 2-1 with relief help from Dan Stanhouse, who notched his seventh save. Stanhouse earlier saved a 3-2 win in Texas by working out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the ninth.
Assorted comebacks gave Toronto (3-2) its second straight winning week. A nine-run seventh, the biggest-ever inning for the Blue Jays, turned a 6-1 deficit into a 10-6 win over the Angels. Toronto again rallied past California 5-4 on Dave McKay's RBI triple and Otto Velez' eighth-inning double. Dave Lemanczyk, who was 0-7, struggled to his first win as the Blue Jays outlasted the Yankees 10-8.
DET 22-11 BOS 24-13 NY 21-14 CLEV 17-18 MIL 17-19 BALT 15-20 TOR 14-21