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Hordes of Indian fans wore buttons saying, NEW YORK'S THE BIG APPLE, BUT CLEVELAND'S A PLUM. It was all part of Plum Week, a promotional gimmick conjured up by The Plain Dealer. Alas, the week started off like a lemon, the Tribe (2-4) plummeting from second place to fourth after 5-2 and 1-0 losses to the Yankees. Goose Gossage picked up his 12th and 13th saves in those games for New York (2-4). Both victories went to newcomers—Dave Righetti, 22, in the first game and Gene Nelson, 20, in the second. Nelson is the youngest big-leaguer, born 32 days after the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela.
In his other start, Nelson was a 6-4 loser to the Orioles (4-2), largely because Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver "checked many reports before the game and decided he was not a power pitcher." Weaver also knew that his own Terry Crowley "is one of the best breaking-ball hitters in baseball." Despite being in a slump, Crowley was the Oriole DH against Nelson and had two homers and four RBIs. With two out in the ninth and an 0-2 count on lefthand-hitting Dave Revering of the Yanks, Reliever Sammy Stewart—an ambidextrous and fun-loving sort—took his glove off his left hand and put in on his right. Startled by Stewart's apparent intention to pitch lefthanded. Revering stepped out of the batter's box. When he stepped back in, Stewart put his glove back on his left hand and, on the next pitch, closed out his 4? innings of shutout work by getting Revering on an easy pop up.
Crowley gave first-place Baltimore a 6-5 victory over New York the next night when he singled in the tie-breaking run in the ninth. That win was set up by Doug DeCinces, who slugged two homers and drove in four runs. DeCinces also backed up Jim Palmer's five-hit, 10-1 defeat of the Yankees with a two-homer, five-RBI performance. Included in that barrage was Mark Belanger's first home run since September 1977. The Orioles then upended the Tigers 6-5 as DeCinces hit his seventh four-bagger in seven games.
Reliever Mark Clear of the Red Sox (3-3) struck out 11 batters in 7? innings while getting his fifth, sixth and seventh wins without a loss. A three-run homer by Dwight Evans closed out a five-run outburst in the last of the ninth for Boston to even the score with Milwaukee at 6-6. Dave Stapleton finished off the Brewers 7-6 by singling in the 10th. Jerry Remy, who leads the league with a .358 average, contributed to that victory with his eighth bunt single of the season. Earlier, Carl Yastrzemski became the fourth player to appear in 3,000 games.
Ted Simmons of the Brewers (5-2), who started the week batting. 177, walloped a two-run homer in the ninth to knock off the Red Sox 5-4. Another round-tripper by Simmons and a grand slam by Roy Howell made Mike Caldwell a 7-1 winner over Detroit. A pair of six-hitters by Jack Morris of the Tigers (3-4) helped defeat the Brewers 12-3 and the Orioles 4-1. That gave Morris five straight complete-game wins and a 7-3 record.
John Mayberry and Roy Lee Jackson enabled the Blue Jays (4-2) to build a four-game winning streak. Mayberry homered as Dave Stieb beat California 3-1. He hit two over-the-fence shots and had five RBIs as Toronto jolted Oakland 6-5. Jackson got a win and a save in relief, yielding only one run in 8? innings.
BALT 28-16 MIL 27-19 CLEV 23-17 NY 25-20 BOS 25-21 DET 23-24 TOR 16-32
Although languishing in sixth place, the Mariners (4-3) had some fun. Especially Lenny Randle, Julio Cruz and Gary Gray. When Amos Otis of the Royals topped a ball toward Randle, the third baseman knew his only hope was for the ball to go foul. So he got down on his hands and knees and tried to blow the ball across the foul line. Although the ball did roll foul, the umps ruled it a hit because of Randle's head's-down play. "I didn't blow it," Randle insisted. "I was just talking to the ball, 'Go foul. Go foul.' The Bird [ Mark Fidrych] used to talk to the ball." Cruz, struggling to get his average up to .200, wore cotton in his ears on Monday to drown out the fans' boos. By week's end, the cotton was gone and Cruz' .429 spree had raised his average to .213. Cruz also stole six bases, giving him 30 in a row since he was last caught late last season. Gray, obtained in the off-season from the Mexican League for $25,000, came to Seattle with a lifetime average of .203, four homers and 11 RBIs in 62 games. Last Monday, Gray's pair of two-run homers decked K.C. 7-1. His hitting last week fattened his stats to 22 RBIs, 10 home runs and .299.