- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Before a 20-minute power failure put the lights out at Milwaukee County Stadium, Jerry Koosman of the Twins (4-2) had given up two runs and five hits in the first 3� innings of the game. Under cover of darkness, Koos searched for his fastball and evidently found it. After play resumed, he struck out five while allowing no runs and only three more hits en route to a 3-2 defeat of the Brewers. In the second game of the doubleheader, Rob Wilfong got his first major league grand slam to help complete the sweep, 6-1. But the Twins lost a pair to Milwaukee the following day, even though rookie Gary Ward hit for the cycle in the first game.
"There's a cancer on the club, and it's at work full force," said Manager Maury Wills of the Mariners (2-5). Wills said he planned to cure the disease—as many as 10 players who he said have a "la-di-da" attitude—by the start of next season. Player reaction was anything but benign. Infielder Bill Stein, one of those accused, bristled, "He asked me how my hand was. It's my back that's hurt. He doesn't even know what's wrong with me."
KC 92-57 OAK 75-75 TEX 71-77 MINN 66-82 CHI 62-84 CAL 61-86 SEA 53-95
"This is the reason you do those two extra pushups in spring training, so you can be in top shape for the last few weeks when the pressure is great," said Astro Second Baseman Joe Morgan, a veteran of five divisional championships with the Reds. And the pressure was great. For the second straight week, the Astros (3-4) and Dodgers remained tied for first place, while Cincinnati closed to within 3� games. Morgan helped beat his former teammates with a two-run homer and the game-winning RBI in a 10-2 romp at Riverfront Stadium after the Reds had won the day before. Houston also lost to last-place San Diego 6-3 and 4-3, and to fifth-place San Francisco 4-3. When Joaquin Andujar lost to the Giants 4-3, despite allowing only one earned run on three hits, he simply said, "That's baseball."
The Padres (4-3) weren't lying down for anyone; they beat Houston and Atlanta twice each and won their ninth straight at home. "We know we're in last place, but we still want to win," said Leftfielder Gene Richards.
The Dodgers (3-4) began the week by completing a three-game sweep of the Reds at Riverfront Stadium. Jerry Reuss, who was 11-1 against pennant contenders this season and 4-0 against the Reds, pitched a five-hitter to win 3-1. But back home, the Dodgers lost to the Reds twice, as Reuss was bombed for eight runs in two innings in one game and Tom Seaver beat L.A. 10-2 in the other. In a 2-1 victory over the Padres, rookie Steve Howe earned his 17th save, and rookie Infielder Jack Perconte, making his first major league start, walked, stole second, scored a run and drove in the game-winner with a bunt single. "The kids have made the difference this year," said Don Sutton. "They come here confident, almost arrogant, but not cocky and not unwilling to learn."
The Reds (4-3) got grand slams from Johnny Bench, who hit his second of the season against the Dodgers, and Ray Knight. "I love being in a situation where you're either a hero or a goat," said Knight.
Speaking of goats, Rennie Stennett of the Giants (3-4) blamed Manager Dave Bristol for his team's deficiencies. "He's a big phony," said the second baseman. "He's jealous of the money I'm making, because he never did anything as a player." Stennett, who has a bad leg and a $3 million contract, is batting .246 and has been pitiful in the pivot.