Milwaukee (2-5) had shown signs of making a run at the Orioles. But after losing three straight to the Birds, Brewer General Manager Harry Dalton conceded that Baltimore was "Destiny's Darlings." Shaken from the sweep and minus two starting pitchers—Mike Caldwell, who had a pulled rib muscle, and Moose Haas, who had the flu—the Brewers lost two to Boston and dropped to a season-low 11 games back. Nevertheless, they still had the third-best record in the major leagues.
Boston (4-4) Manager Don Zimmer does not have much to smile about these days. His pitching is in a state of crisis. He receives threatening phone calls and telegrams. "I guess I'm supposed to go out and pick somebody off a tree," said Zimmer. Instead, he brought up relief specialist Wilhelmus Remmerswaal. The Dutchman could put his finger in the dike if he lives up to his nickname, "Win."
Cleveland (5-2) went over .500 because of a 10-game winning streak, its longest in 13 years. When Boston finally stopped the Indians 7-4, to give new Manager Dave Garcia his first defeat, Garcia said, "I really didn't expect to win them all."
Sparky Anderson knows his Tigers (4-3) can't catch the Orioles, "but I'd sure like to catch the Yankees." Detroit was 2� back of New York after a week in which Captain Hook shuffled pitchers back and forth from the mound to the showers, from the bullpen to the rotation and from the minors to the majors. A surprise winner was Mike Chris, 7-8 with a 5.52 ERA in the minors, who held Kansas City hitless for 6 innings in his first start. Aurelio Lopez won one game and saved two others.
It was Italian Heritage Night at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto (1-5). The bases were loaded and who should come up but Rick Bosetti. He hit a single, knocking in two runs, and the Jays picked up their first win after five straight losses, to the delight of 15,130 fans. One paisan who did not go home happy was new White Sox Manager Tony LaRussa, who suffered his first defeat.
BALT 74-34 BOS 65-41 MIL 64-46 NY 58-50 DET 55-52 CLEV 54-54 TOR 33-76
It was the kind of decision that can make a manager look like a genius—or a.... The Astros (6-1) and the Dodgers were tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Houston batting, with the pitcher scheduled to hit. A pinch hitter comes in, right? Wrong. Manager Bill Virdon let J. R. Richard—he of the .123 average—bat for himself. After all, the Dodgers had not beaten J.R. in nine straight games going back to 1976, and he was cruising along with a five-hitter. Richard made Virdon look good when he hit a high chopper to second and beat it out. Cesar Cedeno followed with a triple to right, scoring Richard, who had never run so fast, to give him his ninth win of the year. He picked up the 10th against Atlanta Friday, equaling a career-high 15 strikeouts to bring his major league-leading total to 197.
In 1976, while he was with a Reds farm team, Ray Knight borrowed one of slugger George Foster's "Black Beauties," a 35-ounce, ebony-colored bat. He used it to hit nine homers in a month. Last week he borrowed the magic wand again. On Sunday he hit a homer and two doubles and drove in five runs for the Reds (4-2). On Monday he hit two homers and had three RBIs. And then he ordered a dozen Black Beauties of his own. For the week he batted .440, with 16 RBIs. to raise his average to .314.
San Francisco (2-4) started the week 8� games behind Houston. Jack Clark got a two-run homer to help John Montefusco defeat the Padres for the first time since 1977. The following night Bob Knepper allowed just five hits in an 8-0 win over the Astros, who committed a team-record seven errors. But then, calamity. In four losses to Houston and L.A., the Giants used 16 pitchers. At week's end they were 12 games back.