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THE WEEK (Aug. 26-Sept. 1)
Steve Wulf
September 10, 1979
AL EAST
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September 10, 1979

The Week (aug. 26-sept. 1)

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AL EAST

The Brewers (3-4) took sole possession of second place, and Manager George Bamberger seemed to temporarily lose possession of his senses. In an 18-8 defeat by Kansas City, Bamberger gave pitching auditions to Third Baseman Sal Bando, Infielder Jim Gantner and Catcher Buck Martinez. There may have been method in his madness, however. Although three regular pitchers allowed 15 runs in three innings, his throw-ins held the Royals to just three runs over the last six. Bando also set an unofficial major league record: by his own admission, he threw "about a dozen" spitballs in his three-inning stint. "The ball was shining when it got to the plate," said Catcher Charlie Moore. While Gorman Thomas was hitting four home runs and Six-to Lezcano three, the Brewer pitching was allowing 49 runs. Even though the effort enabled the Brewers to pass the slumping Red Sox, it dropped them eight games behind the Orioles. Milwaukee announced that slugging Outfielder Larry Hisle, out since May 18, would be reactivated in time for the pennant drive. If there is one.

Baltimore (6-3) kept winning and Earl Weaver kept fighting. After being thrown out of the first game of a doubleheader sweep of Chicago, Weaver filed a protest over what he called a lack of "umpire integrity," a veiled reference to his longtime nemesis, ump Ron Luciano. This did not sit well with League President Lee MacPhail, who was at Comiskey Park at the time. MacPhail suspended Weaver for three games. In the manager's absence, Jim Palmer won his first start since June 27 and Eddie Murray hit three homers and drove in all the runs in a 7-4 victory over Minnesota. Later in the week Mike Flanagan beat the Twins 5-4 for his 19th victory, the most in the majors. Gary Roenicke hit three homers to give him 22 for the season. All but two of them have come against Western Division teams.

Detroit (6-2) won six straight, five of them by one run, before running into the awesome A's, who beat the Tigers twice. Steve Kemp was the hero on three different occasions. In a doubleheader sweep of the Mariners, Kemp slugged three homers, including a game-winner in the 10th inning of the first half of the twin bill and a game-tying shot in the seventh inning of the nightcap. He also had the decisive hit in the sixth inning of a 2-1 victory over California.

The Yankees (3-3) picked up George Scott, who had been traded away by Boston and released by Kansas City. Given a third chance, he hit a three-run homer to stake Ron Guidry to his eighth straight victory, 7-5 over the Rangers. The next night against the Royals, the Boomer had three hits, drove in two runs and stole a base in a 7-3 win. But Scott was not the whole Yankee show. Tommy John won his 18th game, and Reggie Jackson hit his 362nd career homer, passing Joe DiMaggio to rank 26th on the alltime list. New York's hopes for the future were raised when Double-A West Haven became the fifth Yankee farm team to win a division title this year.

"We ain't never been in this deep a hole before," said Boston Manager Don Zimmer as the Red Sox (2-4) all but dropped out of the pennant race. Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn and Rick Burleson played while injured, but what hurt the Sox most were their four errors in a 7-3 loss to the White Sox and a two-hit shutout by the Rangers' Doc Medich in Fenway Park. Meanwhile, Yaz moved to within eight hits of 3,000.

The Indians (4-3) received an encouraging relief performance from the most expensive outpatient in baseball history, Wayne Garland, and a six-hitter from Len Barker. The Blue Jays (3-4) beat Oakland 7-0 as rookie Phil Huffman allowed only a sixth-inning single by Jim Essian, and Roy Howell had four hits, including a grand slam homer. Relief Pitcher Tom Buskey extended his scoreless streak to 17 innings before giving up the winning run in a 3-2 loss to Seattle.

BALT 87-46 MIL 81-56 BOS 78-54 NY 72-60 DET 73-63 CLEV 69-67 TOR 43-92

AL WEST

Most players would be overjoyed if they went from a sixth-place club to a pennant contender, but Pitcher John Montague liked Seattle so much that he broke down and cried when the Mariners sold him to first-place California (2-5). "There are worse places to go," he said. "I'm happy...I guess." By week's end Montague had recovered sufficiently to save both of the Angel victories and put them back on top after they had relinquished first place to Kansas City for a day. Third Baseman Carney Lansford homered his first three times up in a 7-4 win over Cleveland. That helped offset a two-day suspension of Rod Carew for bumping Umpire Nick Bremigan.

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