Baltimore' a red-hot 26-6 going into the week, lost five of seven games. But while the team cooled, the bat of Outfielder Ken Singleton got hotter. He belted four home runs, giving him 14 for the season and a tie with Fred Lynn for the league lead. Most welcome was a two-run clout in an 8-1 rout of the Royals that ended a 10-game team losing streak in Kansas City. Jim Palmer, who missed two previous starts because of a sore elbow, earned the victory, allowing five hits over seven innings. "I suppose we should be pleased because we finally won," said Manager Earl Weaver grumpily. After a 2-1 loss at Kansas City in which the Orioles stranded 10 base runners, Weaver said, "You heard of games where everyone chips in for a victory? Tonight nobody chipped in."
Still, the Orioles clung to the divisional lead, mainly because chief contenders Boston (3-3), Milwaukee (3-4) and New York (4-4) were all running in place. Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski; and Butch Hobson—the batters behind Jim Rice—got just 20 hits in 102 at bats (.196) in a 4-6 road trip. Consequently, opposing pitchers are not giving Rice anything good to hit. "They pitch him like every at bat is in the seventh game of the World Series, bases loaded, two out," says Boston Coach Walt Hriniak. George Scott, who went 0 for 25, was benched and announced he wants to play or be traded. "This team is uptight," he said. "We have problems like the Yankees do, but our players are afraid to express their opinions." With key hitters like Larry Hisle and Don Money on the disabled list, normally explosive Milwaukee scored just 24 runs in losing to Oakland and splitting six games with Kansas City and New York.
The Yankees seemed to have found a suitable replacement for injured Reliever Goose Gossage when Ron Davis, up from Columbus, saved a pair of wins by pitching 5? scorless innings. But in his next outing Davis was tagged by Milwaukee for two hits in the ninth to turn a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 loss. Cliff Johnson, whose roughhousing rendered Gossage disabled, was doubly contrite. Lumbering home on a sacrifice fly, Johnson inadvertently barreled into Ump Lou DiMuro, knocking him out. "I'm beginning to feel like an outlaw," Johnson said.
Detroit (7-1) enjoyed its best week so far, as Jack Billingham, Dave Rozema, Jack Morris and Milt Wilcox pitched complete games and helped hold Tiger opponents to just 50 hits in 250 at bats (.200). For its part, Detroit hammered out 84 hits (.304), Lance Parrish leading the way with 15 in 26 trips.
Righthander Rick Wise beat California and shut out New York on five hits as Cleveland had a typical Indian 3-4 week.
"It's stupid," said Tom Underwood of Toronto (1-6) upon learning that his younger brother, Pat, of Detroit, would be making his major league pitching debut against—who else?—Tom Underwood. Pat won 1-0, yielding three hits in 8? innings. It was Tom's seventh loss without a win.
BALT 31-19 BOS 28-20 MIL 29-24 NY 27-24 DET 23-22 CLEV 22-27 TOR 13-39
Manager Jim Fregosi of California (5-2) had a cold, which was the least of his troubles. Outfielder Rick Miller fractured his hand. The next day Rod Carew, hitting .355, jammed a thumb and was forced out of the lineup. The day after that Nolan Ryan, fresh from a three-hit triumph over Seattle, took two steps while jogging and pulled a calf muscle and was out indefinitely. All in all, so far this season 14 players on the Angels' 25-man roster have missed games because of injury, including every starting pitcher.