Luis Tiant batting clean up? Reggie Jackson a non-hitting 10th? Just a bit of levity by some playful Yankees (6-1) who posted a mock lineup in the clubhouse one night. After all, Tiant was getting a bit antsy because in six of his losses he gave up a total of just 13 runs while the Bronx, er, Bombers got him only five. As for Reggie, there was no use letting him get uptight about striking out seven times and stranding 14 runners in the latest two games. On the night in question, Tiant gave up five runs to the Angels in three-plus innings before being pulled, Jackson went 0 for 5, and New York left 11 men on base. Still, the Yankees won 6-5 on Willie Randolph's single in the 10th. More convincing victories were wrought with the aid of Oscar Gamble, who batted .462 and hit three home runs, and Bucky Dent, who had six hits and six RBIs in a pair of midweek games.
Baltimore (5-2) fell 3� lengths back despite the tight pitching of Scott McGregor and Steve Stone. McGregor's three-hitter took care of California 5-0, and Stone's four-hitter defeated Seattle 5-1 and raised his record to 22-5.
Dick Drago of the Red Sox (5-2), who hadn't started since Aug. 5, 1979, opened two games and won twice. Tom Burgmeier saved both games for Drago, 4-3 over California and 5-1 over Seattle. Thus, in 22 of the last 24 Boston victories the bullpen had had either a win or a save. Carl Yastrzemski was out with an injured rib, but before he was hurt he picked up his 100th hit of the season, the 20th time in 20 years he has had at least that many. That left Yaz tied with Ty Cobb in that category and one behind Hank Aaron.
Like Drago, Bob McClure of the Brewers (5-1) succeeded as a starter. McClure, who broke a string of 212 relief appearances, held the Royals to six hits and won 6-1. "We haven't had a job like that since George Washington was a corporal," said Manager George Bamberger, who announced he would retire and turn the reins over to Coach Bob Rodgers. Milwaukee also beat K.C. 3-1 behind Larry Sorensen and 9-5 by scoring eight runs in the ninth. Were it not for the remarkable hitting of George Brett, Cecil Cooper might well be getting much-deserved recognition. His .458 week left him at .361, the second-best average in the majors, and his seven RBIs gave him 105, the most in either league.
Detroit sportswriter Joe Falls won't get a Nobel Peace Prize for it, but he did help settle the season's bitterest war. After getting a yes from Chicago's Ed Farmer when asked if he would accept a handshake from Detroit's Al Cowens, Falls set the truce-making machinery in motion. Whereupon Farmer, who last year broke Cowens' jaw with a pitch, shook hands with and dropped assault charges against the Tiger outfielder, who had tried to punch Farmer earlier this season. Another surprise for Detroit (4-3) came when Mark Fidrych won for the first time since April 1978, beating Chicago 11-2 on seven hits.
Two victories by Len Barker (18-8) couldn't keep the Indians (3-4) from falling to sixth. The 6'5", 225-pound righthander struck out 11 Twins while winning 5-2 and fanned nine Royals in an 8-3 triumph.
Lloyd Moseby of Toronto (3-3) had three hits as Jim Clancy survived eight walks and five hits to defeat Minnesota 7-1. Then a three-run homer by Moseby knocked off Texas 4-2. And his home run and a triple in the ninth by Garth Iorg beat Chicago 3-2.
NY 84-51 BALT 80-54 BOS 73-58 DET 71-63 MIL 73-65 CLEV 70-64 TOR 56-78