"Opponents nave been laughing at us. It's about time we put the coin on the other foot." Opponents would really have laughed at the Yankees (5-1) if they'd had coins on their feet. Lou Piniella's metaphor may have been garbled, but his .429 hitting helped straighten out New York. So did two victories by Ron Guidry (7-1), one of which was preserved by Reliever Goose Gossage. Gossage, who has 11 saves, also locked up Tommy John's win over the Royals 3-2 and Dave Righetti's 1-0 triumph over the Twins. But a pulled hamstring put Dave Winfield out of commission for at least 15 days.
No one laughed at the Red Sox (5-1). Gary Allenson doubled in the 12th to finish off Seattle 6-5, Rich Gedman batted .555, and Bob Stanley fired 8? innings of one-run relief to defeat Oakland 7-4. Carl Yastrzemski helped settle that game with some frisky base running. Yaz turned a single into a double when he lulled Rightfielder Joe Rudi with an easy turn around first and then, after Rudi had leisurely pegged the ball back to the infield, zipped into second. Yaz's pinch-runner then scored the first of a three-run eighth that broke a 4-4 deadlock. Dwight Evans, who tied for the league home-run lead last season, finally hit his first of the year. Manager Ralph Houk stuck up his forearm to keep a wicked foul into the dugout from hitting Stanley. Painful as it was, Houk felt the bruise was worth the effort, because Stanley has yielded only six runs in his last 41 innings. During that time he has picked up 109 of 123 outs via grounders and strikeouts. Another fine pitching performance was the one by Dennis Eckersley, who handcuffed Oakland on three hits while winning 6-0.
Baltimore (4-2) got some respect, too. John Lowenstein slugged his seventh, eighth and ninth homers. After an 81-minute rain delay, Benny Ayala stepped up and slammed a three-run homer that did in Minnesota 4-2. From there on, the pitchers took charge with three consecutive shutouts: Scott McGregor blanked the Twins 6-0, Mike Flanagan, Tim Stoddard and Tippy Martinez whitewashed the Blue Jays 3-0, and Dennis Martinez won another Battle of the Birds 6-0.
"He's always had the power, but he always was an opposite-field hitter," explained Batting Coach Gates Brown of Detroit (4-2), speaking of Larry Herndon. Brown has taught Herndon how to open his hips and pull the ball. The result: Herndon had three homers and seven RBIs to beat the A's 11-9. That gave Herndon four round-trippers in successive at bats spanning two games, making him the 15th player to accomplish that feat. Herndon, who has never had more than eight taters in a season, already has seven so far this year. He was part of the Tigers' explosive Candlestick Connection—Enos Cabell and Mike Ivie are the other former Giants in that group—that batted .357 and drove across 21 runs.
Toby Harrah of the Indians (2-4) and Rollie Fingers of the Brewers (2-4) continued to be overachievers. Even though Harrah hit .579 and raised his average to .392, Cleveland clunked into last place. The Indians outlasted the White Sox on Sunday, winning 6-4 in the 14th inning when Andre Thornton singled, Ron Hassey had an RBI double and Rick Manning stroked a run-scoring single. Fingers picked up his ninth save for Milwaukee, No. 281 of his record-setting career.
Jim Clancy of Toronto (3-3) was another pitcher who was in the groove. A 2-0 victory over Cleveland was Clancy's fifth straight.
BOS 28-13 DET 25-14 MIL 20-19 NY 20-19 BALT 18-21 TOR 17-23 CLEV 16-23
While driving to the ball park, Larry Gura of the Royals (3-3) saw a kitten that had been struck by a car. As Gura put the kitten in his truck so he could get it medical attention, it bit him on his pitching hand. "I didn't know if I'd be able to grip the ball," said Gura, who grasped it well enough that night to shut out the Yankees 7-0, giving him a 9-2 record and 2.19 ERA against them since they traded him in 1976. Dennis Leonard also pitched well—until he threw up his hands to protect his face and was struck by a line drive hit by Buddy Bell of Texas. The middle and index fingers of Leonard's right hand were broken, shelving him for at least six weeks. Dan Quisenberry went the final 2? innings and wrapped up the 3-0 triumph with his 10th save. As for the ball that hit Leonard, it caromed right to Second Baseman Frank White, who caught it on the fly and stepped on second for a double play.