Oakland fans, who used to prefer catching some Zs to watching the A's (3-3), have been awakened by a spirited, division-leading club. On hand for a doubleheader split with Detroit were 18,217 rooters, who saw the A's win the second game 1-0 when Jeff Newman homered in the sixth. Mike Norris, his screwball at its best, ran his record to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.44 in the four-hit shutout. There were 12,605 people in Oakland one day later when Matt Keough, 4-2 on the year, beat the Indians 5-1. And 24,309 showed up for a Salute to the A's Night, which featured $10,000 in giveaways but a disappointing 4-3 loss to Cleveland. Attendance dropped to 4,925 on Saturday, when the A's defeated the Blue Jays 4-3 as Tony Armas slugged a two-run homer in the seventh and a game-winning single in the ninth.
The Royals (4-2) tied the Rangers for third place with some lusty hitting. In his first full game of the season, Designated Hitter Darrell Porter singled, tripled and drove in three runs to knock off the Red Sox 5-3. Later in the week Kansas City won in Boston for the first time since July 1978, beating the Red Sox 6-5 as George Brett had three RBIs in his first game back after missing a week because of a bruised heel. The next day the Royals pounded out 18 hits, including a homer by Porter, and won 13-8. Porter, usually a catcher, was DHing because his stand-in, John Wathan, was second in the league with a .377 average. Wathan, who batted .206 last year, attributes his improvement to off-season hitting in his garage, where he set up a batting tee and whaled 150 to 200 balls a day into a screen. In the fourth inning of a 12-5 win over the White Sox, it seemed that all the Royals were slamming the ball off a tee as they had nine consecutive hits, one short of the American League record.
Buddy Bell batted .481 and had eight RBIs for the Rangers (3-3). Two homers by Richie Zisk carried Texas past Chicago 2-1 in II innings, but five hits by Al Oliver couldn't avert a 10-6 loss to the surprising White Sox (page 28). The Rangers had 16 hits while drubbing the Red Sox 11-3 behind Gaylord Perry, and Doc Medich continued his mastery over Boston, beating the Sox for the eighth straight time, 7-2.
Minnesota (2-4) ended a longer streak, defeating a lefthander for the first time in 12 decisions when Ken Landreaux singled in the 11th to beat Rudy May of the Yankees 1-0. Darrell Jackson, a 150-pound lefty, went the first 10 innings of that game for the Twins, and Doug Corbett sealed the five-hit victory by working the 11th. Corbett also saved a 4-2 triumph over Baltimore for Pete Redfern, who improved his record to 4-1, with 3? innings of scoreless relief.
Mark Clear's 2? innings of one-hit relief wrapped up a 4-3 win over the Mariners for the stumbling Angels (1-5). Leon Roberts gave Seattle (2-4) a lift with three home runs, one in a 7-6 defeat of Detroit. Julio Cruz, who missed 17 games with a stress fracture of his right foot, came through with a unique stolen base during a 4-1 loss to the Indians, zipping to second base while Pitcher Dan Spillner stood on the mound, ball in hand, peering in at the catcher.
OAK 17-11 CHI 16-12 KC 14-12 TEX 14-12 SEA 14-16 MINN 12-16 CAL 11-16
"I said in spring training wasn't going to let anything bother me, and I still say it," insisted Manager Don Zimmer of Boston (1-5). Presumably, Zimmer wasn't upset that Fred Lynn had an aching back, that Carlton Fisk had a bruised foot, that Dennis Eckersley was shelled twice—which dropped his record to 1-5—or that his pitching staff had an ERA of 5.64. The boys of Zimmer, though, were bothered as they fell to fourth place. "My shoulder feels broken," Reliever Skip Lockwood said after yielding four consecutive hits in an 11-3 loss to Texas. And Bob Stanley, who was pounded for 10 hits and six runs in 5? innings against Kansas City, conceded. "I stunk."
In Toronto (5-1) there was the sweet—but rare—smell of success as the Blue Jays set a club record by running their winning streak to six games and earned a share of the lead. Toronto put it all together during a 7-3 win over California. Dave Stieb (4-1) did the pitching, the fielders pulled off five double plays, and Otto Velez drove in three runs.