Kansas City (6-2) all but wrapped up its third consecutive division title—although Manager Whitey Herzog was reluctant to declare the race over. Referring to the Royals' first title, in 1976, he said, "We lost nine of our last 10. I can't relax until we finally wrap it up." By week's end he was breathing easier as his main men on the mound, 19-game-winners Dennis Leonard and Paul Splittorff, each won twice. Leonard, 15-8 since June 7, defeated California 5-0 and Milwaukee 8-4. Splittorff needed relief but got victories over Seattle 9-8 and Minnesota 3-1. To further bolster Herzog's confidence, long-ineffective Doug Bird threw six strong innings against Seattle. "You try a little harder this time of the year," Bird said. By then Herzog was relaxed. Referring to a 4-2 win over Minnesota in which KC amassed all of four hits, he said, "I guess you could call it our 'scientific' attack."
Its chances for a divisional title slipping away, California (2-3) was shocked by the death of Outfielder Lyman Bostock, who was shot while sitting in a car in Gary, Ind.
Oakland (1-5) Pitcher Alan Wirth was leading the White Sox 3-2 when he looked in to Catcher Bruce Robinson for the sign. Robinson was signaling curveball; Wirth thought he saw the call for a fastball. It was a costly mistake: Ron Blomberg socked Wirth's heater for a grand slam to beat the A's. Meanwhile, owner Charlie Finley was again dickering with another would-be purchaser, Oakland furniture dealer Ed Bercovich. As usual, there was a Finleyesque fly in the ointment. Charlie O. hinted he would sell only if he could purchase the Chicago White Sox. The chances that fellow American League owners would approve a sale to Finley are as great as the possibility that the A's, who slipped to sixth, would finish in the first division.
Minnesota (4-4) hoped to close out one of its worst seasons with a successful Fan Appreciation Day. The fans were something less than appreciative—only 13,288 showed up. The Twins dutifully gave away both a car and the game, losing 3-1 to Kansas City. Butch Wynegar had his 38th straight at bat without a hit, and Willie Norwood made a two-out, two-run error.
Seattle (1-5) got its only win when Byron McLaughlin threw a 3-1 three-hitter at the White Sox. It was enough to give the Mariners an 8-7 edge in the season series. Chicago's (3-3) only significant win was a 5-4 victory over California.
Too little and too late, Texas (5-1) ran off four wins in a row. Jon Matlack beat Minnesota 6-3 for his second victory in 13 decisions on the road, which shows how much his 2.35 ERA has been wasted, and Ferguson Jenkins beat Seattle 1-0 on three hits. But no Ranger week would be complete without some turbulence. When news leaked that Cleveland might send Infielder Larvell Blanks and Pitcher Jim Kern to Texas for Outfielder Bobby Bonds and Pitchers Doyle Alexander, Reggie Cleveland and Dock Ellis, three of the Ranger players involved objected.
KC 88-67 CAL 82-73 TEX 79-74 MINN 70-85 CHI 68-86 OAK 68-88 SEA 55-96