New York (7-0) came up with its own version of the aphorism "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." With Doug Bird defeating Cleveland 5-3 and Chicago 2-0 and with Reliever Goose Gossage saving both games, the fine-feathered Yankees flew up from third place, bumping the Orioles out of first. Bird's victories gave him 18 in a row starting Sept. 8. 1978—12 in the majors and six when he was sent to the minors briefly. "I think everyone should be fired once," Bird said of his time in the bushes. "It builds character." Gossage's efforts were part of a remarkable week by New York's bullpen, which didn't allow a run in 23 innings. In addition to his three saves. Gossage picked up a victory after working out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the 10th against Baltimore. New York won that game 5-3 when Dave Revering slammed an 11th-inning two-run homer, a sweet-revenge blast off Sammy Stewart. Revering felt Stewart had tried to show him up the week before when the ambidextrous Stewart acted as if he might pitch lefthanded against Revering. The next night Graig Nettles' two-run shot in the 11th beat Baltimore 2-0 as Dave Righetti went the first eight innings for New York and Ron Davis the last three. The Yankees won the series finale 12-3 as Gene Nelson atoned for his previous week's loss in Baltimore by feeding the Orioles fewer changeups and more fastballs. The Yankees batted .314, but Reggie Jackson contributed little. "This isn't a slump," lamented Jackson, who was hitting .200. "I'm scared to death."
"We're a 24-man team—and one prima donna," said Doug DeCinces of the Orioles (2-4). The object of DeCinces' scorn was teammate Jim Palmer, who made disparaging remarks about the third baseman's inability to come up with a grounder during a loss the week before.
Rollie Fingers of the Brewers (3-3) earned his 10th and 11th saves by twice throwing two innings of shutout relief. Gorman Thomas' two home runs and four RBIs made Milwaukee a 5-2 winner over Detroit in the first of those games.
"My stuff was ordinary. I just had to be a 'paintmaster.' " That was the self-evaluation of Dennis Eckersley of Boston (3-3) after he beat the Indians 4-0 by "painting the corners." Old Master Carl Yastrzemski slugged a two-run homer in the eighth to help Frank Tanana defeat Oakland 4-1.
Cleveland (3-4) coupled timely hits with strong pitching. Toby Harrah's two homers helped Rick Waits defeat Boston 4-1. Jorge (Call Me George) Orta had four RBIs as Len Barker eased past Seattle 8-1. And Mike Hargrove stroked a go-ahead single in a three-run ninth to topple the Mariners 5-3.
Last-place Toronto (0-6) was more games out of first place (17) than all the other teams in the East combined (15). Although still sixth in the standings, Detroit (5-1) went above .500. Jack Morris beat the Twins 2-0 on a three-hitter, and Milt Wilcox blanked them 3-0 on five hits. Pitcher Kevin Saucier and Outfielder Lynn Jones brought back memories of two beloved former Tigers. "I'm a looney," said Saucier, who celebrates victories or saves by vaulting off the mound and shaking every hand in sight � la Mark Fidrych. Saucier, who's called Hot Sauce by teammates, gave up only two hits in 7? innings of relief and was able to go into his postgame routine after saving a 4-1 triumph over Milwaukee. In that same game, Detroit fans thought they were seeing a reincarnation of Rightfielder Al Kaline when Jones pulled off a sparkling double play. Jones made the first out with a sliding catch of a sinking liner. Then he jumped up and gunned out a runner trying to score from third. At the plate, Jones had four hits, including the gamer in the 12th, in a 4-3 win over the Brewers.
NY 32-20 BALT 30-20 MIL 30-22 CLEV 26-21 BOS 28-24 DET 28-25 TOR 16-38
Despite having his hitting streak ended at 18 games. Bill Stein of the Rangers (5-1) had a vital hit of another kind during a 5-3 victory over the Twins. Stein was at bat in the second inning and Jim Sundberg was on third base when a pitch by Minnesota's Jerry Koosman bounced in the dirt. Twins Catcher Butch Wynegar came up with the ball and, seeing that Sundberg had strayed off the base, tried to pick him off. However, Wynegar's throw struck Stein's bat and glanced away as Sundberg scampered home. Against Toronto, Sundberg took advantage of another weird situation in the 12th inning when he went from first to third on a bunt by Mario Mendoza as four Blue Jays converged on the ball. Mendoza was thrown out, but Sundberg made it to third because no one was left to cover the bag. He then scored the deciding run of a 5-4 victory on an error.