The crowd of 33,694 that jammed Fenway Park for the first Boston-New York game since the Oct. 2, 1978 playoff anticipated another classic confrontation between Red Sox Pitcher Mike Torrez and Yankee playoff hero Bucky Dent. Torrez got Dent to bounce out in his first at bat, but that was the last good news of the day for Boston. The Yankees won 10-0 and had 17 hits, including Reggie Jackson's bases-loaded double and a Dent single that sent Torrez to the showers. Jim Beattie, who early last season had pitched so badly in Fenway that he was dispatched to the minors, got the win—and his first big league shutout.
Otherwise it was a joyous week for both clubs. New York (4-2) got another win—11-3 over Detroit (3-3)—from Tommy John, at 8-0 the majors' most successful pitcher. For the week, the Yankees scored 43 runs as Graig Nettles hit three homers and had 15 RBIs.
The Red Sox took four of six, mostly by doing the unexpected. Rookie Chuck Rainey continued his surprising pitching, beating Oakland 8-2 on three hits. Dennis Eckersley defeated the Orioles 3-2 in 10 innings for his first win over Baltimore in three years. And there were bigger surprises. Normally considered an offensive team, the Red Sox beat Baltimore behind six outstanding defensive plays and had four double plays in a 4-3 win over New York. The DPs stoked up the already heated Sox-Yankee rivalry. Blasting Jackson and Thurman Munson for sliding beyond the baseline to try to knock him out of two of the double plays, Boston Shortstop Rick Burleson bleeped, "I hate every dirty bleeper who wears a bleeping pinstripe uniform."
Cleveland (5-2) was uncustomarily joyous. The pitching staff allowed only 17 runs in seven outings, as Rick Waits got two wins—1-0 over Toronto on two hits and, combined with Don Hood and Dan Spillner, 6-0 over Detroit on four—and Wayne Garland beat Minnesota 3-2 for his first win since April 25, 1978. As the Indians moved to within 1� games of fifth place, oft-traded slugger Bobby Bonds said he would like to end his career with the team. "I've had more fun playing here than I've had in a long, long time," he said. Milwaukee (1-5) was more miserable than it's been in a long, long time. The Brewers dropped to fourth and lost Outfielder Larry Hisle for at least two weeks with a torn muscle in his shoulder. If he needs surgery, he could be finished for the season. So, Brewer fans fear, would be any hope of a divisional title.
Despite a 3-2 week, there was cause for concern in Baltimore, too. Base-running errors contributed to a 6-2 defeat by Boston, and Pitcher Steve Stone, the loser in that game, allowed a first-or second-inning home run for the fourth time in a row. Toronto had a 2-6 week, which at least was consistent. It kept the Jays' season percentage at .250. At their current rate, they'll equal the pace of the 1962 Mets. Toronto might do even worse, now that Pitcher Jim Clancy has been lost for six to eight weeks after surgery on his right foot.
BALT 25-13 BOS 24-13 NY 21-17 MIL 21-18 DET 14-18 CLEV 15-22 TOR 10-30
When surprising Minnesota (2-4) began its first tough stretch of competition with three losses to Texas, critics scoffed, "I told you so," and shifted their attention from the first-place Twins to the Rangers (4-3). Of special note was Texas' red-hot Relief Pitcher Jim Kern, who faced the minimum nine batters while shutting the door on the Twins in the 7-5 Rangers victory that opened the series. Kern, 5-0, picked up saves in the other two wins. But the Twins immediately righted themselves, beating Kansas City 7-6 in what has become their typical fashion. Jerry Koosman got the win, his seventh without a loss; Mike Marshall got the save, his 10th; and Shortstop Roy Smalley had a hand in the game-ending double play. Not that Smalley was aware it had been completed. "I caught the ball, stepped on second, threw to first and I don't remember another thing," said Smalley, who was knocked down on the play by George Brett. The Twins took another game from the Royals, 10-6 in 10 innings, behind the 4-for-6 hitting of Hosken Powell.
Even so, the Royals (4-3) were beginning to resemble contenders. The most promising sign was a return to form of Pitcher Rich Gale, who had kept them in the race early in 1978. Gale decided to stop worrying about walks, and he set down the Mariners 1-0 on five hits—and four bases on balls. In his first five starts, Gale had concentrated on not walking batters. He gave up only eight bases on balls in 27 innings, but was 0-2. Last year, when he walked 100 in 192 innings, he was 13-3 before injuring his shoulder in mid-August. Steve Busby, who won his first game since April 9, 1978, could smell victory coming. "There's a certain scent when you get close to winning," said Busby after beating Seattle 4-3. "You may go a long time without winning, but you never forget that scent." Al Hrabosky, by contrast, has been leaving a bad taste in Kansas City's mouth. In his last five appearances, he has given up eight earned runs and 12 hits in 3? innings.