Last month, following several trades with New York clubs, Brad Corbett, owner of the Rangers (4-3), was nicknamed Chuckles the Clown by a local writer. Last week, after former Yankee Mickey Rivers went 5 for 5—two homers and three singles—in a 5-3 win over Minnesota, and Willie Montanez hit his fifth home run of the year, all since leaving the Mets, and a grand slam at that, it was Corbett who was doing the chuckling.
Seattle's Leon Roberts walloped a grand slam, too, as the Mariners (2-4) beat the Royals 7-5. Wayne Gross of Oakland (3-4) left his glasses at home and decided to "hit natural" in Chicago. His pinch grand slam was the A's first since Reggie Jackson hit one in 1970. And Matt Keough, who, after breaking an 18-game losing streak last week, declared himself 1-0, dropped a 5-0 decision to Milwaukee to make it 1-1.
CAL 81-67 KC 78-70 MINN 76-72 TEX 74-75 CHI 64-83 SEA 62-87 OAK 52-97
The bases were loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and Tug McGraw of Philadelphia (4-2) had a shot at a major league record—most grand-slam home runs allowed, season. McGraw had given up four, and now, facing the Mets' Doug Flynn, he could surrender a fifth. Instead, McGraw got Flynn to hit into a routine double play—fly ball to center, runner thrown out at the plate. A TV replay showed that Catcher Bob Boone had juggled the throw, but Umpire Terry Tata called base runner Joel Youngblood out. "Nice catch, nice drop, nice recovery," said McGraw. And of his missed record: "Just goes to show I'm a team man. I'm not one for personal records."
Teammate Pete Rose is. Starting the week 32 hits shy of becoming the first major leaguer to have 10 200-hit seasons, Rose picked up 17, extending his batting streak to a personal season high of 12 games and raising his average from .311 to .327. He also put in his bid for the Danny Ozark/ Dallas Green manager's job—a position that seems to have as many applicants, including Leo Durocher—as Rose has hits. Included among those names supposedly in the hat is that of the Mets' Joe Torre, whose team was 0-5 and has lost 23 of its last 28 games to fall 32� back.
The Phils bumped the Cubs (2-5) into fifth. And although Chicago's Dave Kingman got his 45th home run to lead Mike Schmidt of the Phils by three, Kong lost a home-run hitting contest with Schmidt, 9-4, at the Vet. In the regular game neither man hit one out.
The questions of the week were: Who is in first place? And how many games back are they? On Wednesday, Montreal was in first by .0002—but because of a statistical anomaly, stood a half game behind Pittsburgh. While everyone was trying to figure that one out, the question became moot. The Expos fell .001 behind the Pirates, half a game out. "It 'seams' we're a team of destiny," the Expos were chanting after winning a game on a fluke single that hit a seam in the artificial turf. But just to make sure, the Expos hold a chapel service every Sunday and have had high attendance. Unfortunately, destiny has conspired to make Montreal rest on the seventh day: three times this year, Sunday doubleheaders have been rained out, and the Expos were faced with five twin bills in the remaining 15 days of the season.
The only bright spot for the 1-4 Cardinals was another win by rookie John Fulgham, his ninth, all of them complete games. Although St. Louis still leads the league in team batting with a .281 average, it has failed to cash in often enough on its hits, stranding 100 more men on base than its opponents.
The Pirates (4-0) continued to swash without buckling. They have won 15 of their last 19 games. After picking up two wins and a save, Reliever Kent Tekulve said, "There's no pressure. It's just fun."