In that game the Cardinals (3-4) handed the Expos their worst shutout loss ever, 16-0. Even Bob Sykes, who gave up just four hits while pitching this, his second straight shutout, had a hit and drove in two runs. All week Cardinal pitchers were unusually menacing at the plate. Bob Forsch beat out a bunt and triggered a rally to beat the Expos 7-5. Pete Vuckovich got a single and a double and drove in two runs in a 10-9, 10-inning victory over the Cubs. Chicago (3-4) took the next two games from St. Louis, Bruce Sutter picking up his 25th and 26th saves. Both clubs rejoiced in the return of key players from the disabled list: Shortstop Garry Templeton to the Cards and slugger Dave Kingman to the Cubs. Templeton greeted Cub Pitcher Mike Krukow with a smashing liner off his forehead. Krukow was taken to the hospital for X-rays. In keeping with baseball tradition, they found nothing.
PITT 66-50 MONT 64-52 PHIL 60-53 NY 56-60 ST.L 51-63 CHI 48-67
While the Orioles (3-4) and the Yankees (4-3) were battling (page 10), the rest of the teams in the division kind of fancied themselves in the fight, too. "It's taken 23 days to vault the Tribe into its first pennant race since 1974," announced The Cleveland Press. "We're all watching what's going on," said Indian Catcher Ron Hassey. "We're gaining in confidence all the time." And why not? Since July 21, when they were 16 games out and five games under .500, the Indians (4-3) had won 14 of their 16 games at home and suddenly were four games over .500. But after sweeping Texas, they fell twice to Milwaukee and were still 9� games out.
The Brewers (5-3) had just about given up hope. What else could they do after losing a doubleheader to Toronto (2-5). But then a spark was rekindled when they won four straight, with complete games from Bill Travers, Moose Haas and Mike Caldwell, who gave up but two runs in two victories. Said Travers, "It shows nobody is quitting yet. This might turn everything around. You never know."
No, you don't. Just a week ago, Boston First Baseman Tony Perez was tired, in a slump and thinking of asking Manager Don Zimmer for a few days off. He had played in all but two of the Red Sox' 108 games. But then the Yankees started losing and Perez started hitting—13 for 25. "Maybe I'm getting my second wind now," he said after helping the Sox win four of six. Each of the four was saved by Bob Stanley, who had saved three the previous week.
The Never Say Die Award went to Mark Fidrych of the Tigers (2-5), who made his fourth comeback in four years, while 50,749 fans chanted and cheered his every pitch—120 to be exact, 80 of which were strikes. He lost, but it didn't matter. The Bird was back, billing and cooing to the ball once again. Even Manager Sparky Anderson was impressed. "I'll be honest, I never knew he could throw like that," said Sparky. "I see now why he throws off that electricity. He's earned a spot in the rotation."
NY 71-44 BALT 66-48 MIL 63-54 DET 59-53 BOS 60-54 CLEV 58-54 TOR 48-67
"This is the best place to be in all of baseball," said Pitcher Rich Gale of Kansas City (5-1) after winning his ninth consecutive game. So it seemed. The Royals evidently can do no wrong. They have the best record, the most hits and runs and are hitting nearly .300 as a team. They even have six inside-the-park home runs—a sure sign of luck—the latest by his Royal highness, George Brett, who extended his hitting streak to 28 games while raising his average to .394. And when that old master Weaver of baseball strategy, Earl of the Orioles, made an unorthodox move against K.C., it backfired. With men on first and second, the Oriole skipper had Brett intentionally walked, loading the bases. "They used to do the same thing with Ted Williams," Earl explained. But Tim Stoddard walked the next batter, forcing in the winning run for Baltimore's first loss in 10 games. "At least Brett didn't beat us," said Weaver.