LA 81-55 SF 78-57 CIN 74-61 SD 70-67 HOUS 63-71 ATL 59-76
Two kids fresh off the farm helped give Baltimore a 7-2 week. Sammy Stewart, 23, set a major league record for a pitcher making his first big league start by fanning seven White Sox in a row in a 9-3 win. The Orioles promptly took Jim Palmer's name off his locker and posted it above Stewart's cubicle. "Just a locker-room joke," explained Stewart. Then Dave Ford, 21, beat Chicago 1-0 with relief help from Tippy Martinez.
Nonetheless, Manager Earl Weaver wasn't thinking pennant. Instead he suggested that New York's four-week-old newspaper strike was helping the Yankees' chances. "Probably the same words are being said and the same things are being done," Weaver said, "but people aren't reading about it, and the Yankees aren't either." Indeed, they looked star-touched. Ron Guidry won his 19th game, even though Ken Singleton's bat slipped out of his hands and struck Guidry on the ankle. The X rays were negative. And Paul Blair's 19th hit of the season, a 400-foot single, gave him his 13th RBI; it beat the Angels 4-3 in 11 innings.
Boston (4-3) fans and writers, often indistinguishable, were panicking. "I'm worried," wrote Leigh Montville in The Boston Globe. The Red Sox did have injuries—Dwight Evans was beaned and Bill Campbell, Mike Torrez, Carl Yastrzemski and Jerry Remy had sore arms—but the worrying seemed premature. Butch Hobson, nursing five injuries, was the hero of two games, and George Scott came out of a protracted slump to hit a grand slam in another.
The Red Sox had another reason to celebrate. Dennis Eckersley had won his 16th game and ninth straight at Fenway the same day runner Dave McGillivray arrived in the Boston area after a 3,452-mile transcontinental run. Proceeds from both the game and the run went to the Jimmy Fund for children's cancer research.
It was party time in Detroit (3-3), where the 1968 World Series champions had a reunion. Pitcher John Hiller, one of the four remaining active players from that team, got little sleep but pitched 2? innings of relief the day after the reunion to save a 4-2 win over the Brewers. Of the old champions, Hiller said, "Five or six of the guys will probably try out for pitcher now that they've seen what I get away with." Other causes for celebration were Jack Billingham's 15th win and a $110,000 contract for 1979, and Ron LeFlore's hitting streak, which reached 23 games. It was easy to overlook the Tigers' fall to fifth.
Toronto's (2-5) Bob Bailor struck out for only the 18th time in 545 at-bats to lead the league in that category. For Milwaukee (4-3), pitching was everything; the staff gave up just seven runs in the wins and 21 in the defeats. The Brewers set a team record, with their 77th victory. Cleveland (2-4) was shut out three times in a row.
BOS 84-50 NY 78-55 MIL 77-58 BALT 76-60 DET 74-60 CLEV 58-76 TOR 55-82