When New York (5-1) beat Kansas City in Game 5 of the playoffs to win the American League pennant last fall, dejected Royal Shortstop Fred Patek sat alone in the dugout, his face buried in his hands, for what seemed an eternity. On Wednesday night Milwaukee Catcher Buck Martinez did the same thing for 15 minutes after the Yankees scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the slumping Brewers 8-7 and oust them from second place. The Yankees scored the winning run when Martinez misplayed Lou Piniella's suicide bunt with two out. Milwaukee (1-6) Manager George Bamberger called it "the worst game I have witnessed in my whole career, and I've been around for 35 years."
Catfish Hunter continued his pitching revival for the Yankees (6-4), shutting out the fifth-place Orioles 3-0 and then beating them again 2-1 in a game ended by rain after 5� innings. Ron Guidry (16-2) got his fifth shutout of the season as the Yanks beat the Brewers 9-0. Although the Yankees moved from fourth to second in the standings, they gained only half a game on the division-leading Red Sox.
Boston (5-2) maintained its eight-game lead for two reasons: the return of the Red Sox hitters and the superb pitching of Bob Stanley (9-1), who won three games. In a 9-7 victory over Cleveland, Stanley got his seventh win in relief. Jim Rice, who batted .533 and had 10 RBIs, hit his 26th and 27th home runs in that game. Then the Red Sox came from behind three times to defeat the Indians 6-5 in 13 innings, with Stanley picking up his eighth win. Liking what he saw. Manager Don Zimmer decided to give Stanley his first start of the season. He allowed seven, hits in seven innings, won his ninth game, and the Sox swept Milwaukee in a doubleheader, 3-1 and 11-4.
Baltimore bats were silent. In four straight losses the Orioles (2-5) scored only four runs. Included in that streak was a 2-0 defeat by Kansas City in which Oriole starter Scott McGregor (11-10) retired the first 20 Royals on 66 pitches and had a perfect game until Hal McRae doubled with two out in the seventh, igniting a four-hit, two-run assault. Then, in a night game interrupted by power failures for an hour and 16 minutes, the Oriole hitters finally came alive as Lee May and Pat Kelly homered to help beat New York 6-4.
Detroit (3-2) moved into a tie for third place with Milwaukee. The Tigers had to place Mark Fidrych on the disabled list for the balance of the season because of tendinitis in his right shoulder but the other Tiger pitchers were doing just fine. Jim Slaton (12-9) pitched his second shutout of the year, defeating the White Sox 8-0; Kip Young (4-1) six-hit Texas and won 5-2; and Jack Billingham (12-5) beat Chicago 7-3.
Cleveland's only victory in a 1-5 week came against the Red Sox, with Rick Wise (9-14) beating his old teammates 5-1 for the third straight time. For Toronto (5-2), it was an ex-Indian, Rico Carty, who provided most of the hitting. His four home runs lifted his season total to 20.
BOS 73-42 NY 65-50 DET 62-51 MIL 62-51 BALT 62-53 CLEV 52-61 TOR 45-70
Kansas City (4-3) is a team of extremes. The Royals were last in the league in home runs (61) and next to last in fielding, but they led in steals (156), doubles (218) and triples (42). And the Royals continued to lead the division, although their edge shrank to a game over surging California (5-2). Hal McRae said he was feeling "hitterish" again. Until Jim Palmer blanked him on Thursday, McRae had hit safely in 24 of 25 games. Whatever McRae had, it must have been contagious. Rookie Clint Hurdle went 4 for 4 in a 10-4 defeat of Chicago, tied a game against Toronto with a two-run home run in the eighth, and singled home the winning run in the 10th as the Royals beat the Blue Jays 9-8. Larry Gura won his 10th, stopping Baltimore 2-0. Since reading Super Food for Super Athletes, Gura has eaten only liver before he pitches.