In another pitching novelty, Shortstop Bob Bailor threw 2⅓ innings of runless relief against Cleveland and Kansas City, allowing two hits and walking none for Toronto (2-6). The Indians (5-3) averaged seven runs and 10 hits while taking five straight against Oakland and Toronto, but lost twice to Milwaukee when production dropped to two runs and six hits a game. Detroit lost four of six as Pitcher Dan Schatzeder twice squandered leads. He was ahead of Kansas City 5-4 in the seventh but surrendered runs in the eighth and ninth to lose 6-5, and combined with Reliever Aurelio Lopez to blow a 3-0 ninth-inning lead over Texas. Lopez eventually lost the game 4-3 in the 10th.
NY 67-41 BALT 63-44 DET 57-48 MIL 58-51 BOS 56-52 CLEV 54-51 TOR 46-62
George Brett was paying the price for success. His .386 average and club-record 22-game hitting streak got him unwanted attention both from opposing pitchers and the press. In his first time at bat after hitting a three-run homer, Brett was decked twice by Detroit's Milt Wilcox. After flying out, Brett charged the mound, igniting a bench-clearing fight. "The scary thing about George going to the mound," said Catcher Darrell Porter, "was that on the line were a batting title and our chances of going to the World Series." Said Brett, "I used to come to the park early and fool around, maybe play a few games of hearts. But recently, when I've been getting there at three o'clock, there have been so many people waiting to interview me that I haven't had time to fool around. So now I'm not showing up until five." He continued: "I'm so hot now that going 2 for 5 seems like an off day. If I can throw in a few 3 for 5s or 4 for 5s, I'll be able to hit .400. I think I can do that."
Brett was by no means a one-man team. Kansas City (5-2) has the best record in either league, and the biggest lead—12½ games—thanks to, among others, Willie Mays Aikens, who hit .481 for the week, Dan Quisenberry, who had a win and two saves, Willie Wilson, who made a game-saving circus catch, and Rich Gale, who shut out Toronto 9-0 for his eighth straight victory. Gale lost six of his first seven decisions and suffers from tendinitis and bursitis, but hasn't been beaten since June 11. "When I pitched in Chicago last Saturday I felt like an arthritic old man," he said after defeating Toronto. "But after one or two innings tonight, I felt so good it was ridiculous."
Other teams were as bad as the Royals were good. Minnesota (0-7) averaged two runs and three pitchers a game. "We're hitting too many line drives to infielders with men on base," said Manager Gene Mauch. "The other teams have been blooping us to death." Seattle (1-5) couldn't earn a single win for new Manager Maury Wills; the Mariners were given one by A's Pitcher Matt Keough, who walked Bill Stein with the bases loaded in the 10th inning. "The frustration builds and builds," said Pitcher Steve Trout of Chicago (2-4). Trout lost 2-1 to Baltimore in part because failed to cover first. Frustration mounted for Texas (2-4), too, particularly when the Tigers stole six bases off pitchers Ed Figueroa and Dave Rajsich, both of whom have languorous motions, in an 8-0 defeat. "We don't run that much," said Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson, "but I'll run on anybody that will let me."
The A's Rick Langford beat Minnesota 3-2 for his seventh straight win and 15th consecutive complete game. Oakland (5-2) has already passed its 54-win total of 1979. The Angels took six of seven to escape the cellar, where they had been since June 7. Dan Ford came off the disabled list and got a homer, two singles and three RBIs in his first start, and Toronto castoff Dave Lemanczyk, who had a 5.47 ERA, threw 4⅔ strong innings to pick up a win.
KC 69-41 OAK 57-54 TEX 52-56 CHI 47-61 MINN 47-63 CAL 44-64 SEA 40-69