California pitchers, who last season set a club record with a dismal 4.34 earned run average, currently have a 2.54 ERA. Helping the Angels (3-3) effect this turnaround were Dave Frost, who held the Twins to four hits in a 2-1, 10-inning California victory, and Frank Tanana, a 3-1 winner over Minnesota. Frost won when Don Baylor foiled Minnesota Manager Gene Mauch's strategy of yanking his centerfielder and inserting a fifth infielder with two runners on and one out in the 10th. After Baylor ended the game with a sacrifice fly, Mauch said his maneuver had failed because "we didn't have infielders 22 feet tall." The Twins (2-6) had other shortcomings, not the least of which was their .210 average for the week.
Willie Mays Aikens may not be hitting with the power the Royals (2-4) expected of him when they traded for him last December, but at least he did end an 0-for-13 slump with a two-run single in a 3-2 defeat of Detroit.
TEX 7-2 SEA 7-4 CHI 6-3 OAK 6-3 CAL 4-4 KC 4-5 MINN 4-7
Tony Perez of Boston (4-2) denied it, but his teammates maintained that in the dugout he admitted that as he had barreled toward home plate he had yelled "corta," Spanish for "cut," at Detroit Pitcher Aurelio Lopez. Whatever the reason, Lopez, who should have been behind the plate to back up the play, remained in the infield and cut off a throw from the outfield on Carl Yastrzemski's double. Thus, Perez scored the run that made the Red Sox 10-9 winners. Perez, who ran through Third Base Coach Eddie Yost's stop sign on the cutoff play, had four hits that day, one his first Fenway Park homer since his historic blast for Cincinnati in the seventh game of the 1975 World Series. Another hero of that Series, Carlton Fisk, homered in the 11th the next day to knock off Detroit 5-4. With such timely hitting, it mattered little that the phone to the Boston bullpen was out of order or that the cart that brings in relievers had been left at the team's spring training camp.
Unlike Perez, Charlie Moore of Milwaukee (2-3) wasn't an alert base runner during a 3-1 loss to Boston. With runners on first and second, Moore faked a bunt and swung away, his grounder resulting in a forceout at second base. After racing to first, though, Moore, in a mental lapse, drifted to the Brewer dugout. At the urging of his teammates, he dashed back toward the field and slid into the bag. He beat the throw, but was ruled out for "abandoning his effort to run the bases."
Rick Bosetti's ninth-inning home run and the pitching of Paul Mirabella gave Toronto (2-2) a 1-0 win over Milwaukee. Even though he didn't get to spring training, Danny Ainge, a guard on Brigham Young's basketball team, had two singles and a double in his first game after reporting to the Blue Jays.
The Yankees (3-4) pounded out 25 hits while sweeping a 9-4, 8-2 doubleheader in Texas. As usual, Tommy John kept his infielders busy during a two-hit, 6-0 whitewash in Chicago, getting 20 outs on grounders.
Ten homers, three by Ken Singleton, powered Baltimore (4-2). One of Singleton's drives helped Mike Flanagan beat KC 2-1.
A crowd of 61,753 at the home opener in Cleveland (1-4) felt there was hope for the future after rookie Outfielder Joe Charboneau singled, doubled and slugged a lengthy line-drive homer in an 8-1 drubbing of Toronto.