Caught up in the joie de vivre that marks the commencement of each season was George Argyros, the new owner of the Mariners. During a four-game series against the Angels, Argyros meandered through the Kingdome, shook hands with fans, led "Go Mariner" cheers and even climbed atop the Seattle dugout to join Bill the Beer Man in a chorus of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Argyros found particular satisfaction in three former Rangers who contributed to Friday's 10-2 victory. One was Jerry Don Gleaton, a left-handed starter who allowed only four hits in 6? innings. The others: DH Richie Zisk, who had a homer, and Shortstop Rick Auerbach, who had a single, double and two RBIs.
California took the opener of that series 6-2 as Brian Downing walloped a grand-slam home run in the first inning. Downing's blast came on a 3-2 pitch, as did a pair of two-run shots two days later by Tom Brunansky, a 6'4", 205-pound rookie outfielder who triggered the Angels' 7-4 triumph. Two others who made impressive Halo hellos were transplanted Bostonians, Fred Lynn, who poked a two-run homer in the second game, and Rick Burleson, who contributed three hits. Rod Carew's steal of home with two out in the ninth then gave the Angels a 7-6 lead in a Sunday game they went on to win 8-6.
Another ex-Red Sox, Carlton Fisk of Chicago, had one of the week's most dramatic hits. With the White Sox trailing the Red Sox 2-0 in the eighth inning of their opener at Fenway Park, Fisk recreated memories of his historic home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series by hitting a three-run round-tripper that shot Chicago to a 5-3 triumph.
When Don Zimmer was managing Boston in 1978, the Red Sox lost a playoff to the Yankees after Bucky Dent hit a three-run homer. Last week Dent continued to haunt Zimmer, now the skipper of the Rangers, by connecting for a three-run drive that helped knock off Texas 10-3. Before the next game Dent was given a carryall bag for appearing on a radio show. Dent promptly sent the gift to Zimmer with a note that said, "Nothing personal. I still love you." Nice gesture. But, once again, poor Zimmer was left holding the bag. Until Sunday, that is, when Texas beat New York 6-4.
Oakland Second Baseman Brian Doyle wound up holding something more important—the ball. This occurred in the sixth inning when the Twins had Glenn Adams on second and Gary Ward on first following an error by Third Baseman Wayne Gross. After getting the ball from Gross, Doyle tucked it in his glove and acted as if he had returned it to the pitcher. Adams took a short lead off second as Rick Langford prepared to pitch. Then Doyle consummated the hidden-ball trick by tagging out the chagrined Adams. That play helped the A's win 6-3 behind Langford's five-hitter. Mike Norris and Matt Keough also went the distance and beat the Twins 5-1 and 3-0, respectively. And Steve McCatty yielded only three hits while subduing Minnesota 1-0. Much of the Oakland punch was supplied by Tony Armas, who had two home runs among his seven hits.
Amos Otis, who made only four errors last season, and Larry Gura, who walked an average of barely two men per game in 1980, both flubbed up as Kansas City lost its opener at Baltimore 5-3. Otis, shifted to left field after 11 years in center, dropped a fly in the fifth inning. Apparently unnerved by that miscue, Gura, who had already issued one walk in that inning, walked the next three batters, two with the bases full. Clint Hurdle, who didn't hit a homer off a lefty in 1980, tagged portsider Mike Flanagan for one Sunday as Dennis Leonard stopped the Orioles 4-2.
OAK 4-0 CAL 3-1 CHI 1-1 KC 1-1 TEX 1-2 SEA 1-3 MINN 0-4
Changes in attitude, repertoire and signals enabled Detroit pitchers to take two 6-2 decisions over Toronto. Jack Morris, hitherto known for acting like Mount St. Helens when his fielders erred, didn't erupt once after his defense messed up on several plays. Morris allowed only five hits and won as Richie Hebner broke a 2-2 deadlock with a three-run homer in the seventh. Milt Wilcox of the Tigers then put his new forkball to use against the Blue Jays and won with relief help from Aurelio Lopez. To "take the pressure off the catcher," Pitching Coach Roger Craig now calls the pitches for the Tigers; he sits in a corner of the dugout and flashes signals to the catcher, who relays them to the mound. Toronto took the finale by another 6-2 score as John Mayberry hit a three-run homer.