"Early in the year, I didn't smile for weeks. Now you can't take it off my face." So said Cal Ripken of the Orioles (5-1). Cal got off to a slow start this season before going on a .326 tear over the last 36 games, raising his average from .117 to .254. Baltimore toppled New York 9-4 and 5-3 with the aid of home runs by Ripken, who batted .385 and had nine RBIs for the week. Furthermore, the rookie third baseman stretched his string of errorless games to 43. Reserve Outfielder Benny Ayala had something to grin about, too—his first stolen base in 228 games. Other key players, as the Birds moved above .500 for the first time since April 10 and climbed from sixth to third, were Rich Dauer, who hit .474, and Jim Palmer, who stopped the Brewers 7-2 with a five-hitter.
For Manager Ralph Houk of the Red Sox (4-1), the main source of happiness continued to be the bullpen. Reliever Mark Clear was a 4-3 victor over the Yankees when Jim Rice walked in the 10th and Carl Yastrzemski and Carney Lansford followed with singles. Bob Stanley allowed only two runs in 8? innings while saving a 3-2 triumph over New York and beating Cleveland 6-4. Best of all was Tom Burgmeier, who was nicked for just three hits in eight full innings of relief as he defeated the Indians 6-2. Altogether, the bullpen had a 15-2 record and 16 saves.
It was the starting pitchers who carried Detroit (3-2). Pat Underwood, backed by Chet Lemon's two homers, beat Cleveland 8-3. Jerry Turner's two-run shot in the seventh gave Jack Morris his eighth victory, 2-1 over the Indians. And Milt Wilcox, who had been out for two weeks with an injured rib cage, defeated Milwaukee 7-3.
"Harvey's Wallbangers" was the nickname Cecil Cooper of the Brewers (3-4) hung on the club when Harvey Kuenn took over as interim manager two weeks ago. And bang 'em they did in a 9-7 defeat of the Orioles and 8-6 and 13-5 triumphs against the Tigers.
The Indians (0-5), who had won 12 of 14 games, looked forward to 26 games in 27 days against the Red Sox, Tigers, Orioles and Yanks, so that they could prove their merit. Alas, their odyssey began with two losses in Detroit and another two in Boston. The only thing Cleveland rooters could get excited about was the .474 hitting by Toby Harrah, which raised his average to .394.
A home run on a blooper over short? That's what Willie Upshaw of Toronto (3-3) wound up with after his Texas leaguer glanced off the glove of Cleveland's Jerry Dybzinski and bounded past onrushing Left-fielder Miguel Dilone. That was the second homer of the game for Upshaw and his third in a row over two games, and it helped Luis Leal win 7-3. Jim Clancy's three-hitter took care of Oakland 2-1. But a 7-5 loss to Tom Underwood and the A's left the Blue Jays 9-20 against lefthanders. Against righthanders they are 17-12.
With the taunting yells of "Let's Go, Mets" ringing in their ears from the last game of the previous week's homestand, the Yanks (1-4) took to the road. There they continued to stumble, salvaging only a 5-3 victory in Boston in which Goose Gossage picked up his 12th save.
BOS 37-20 DET 35-20 BALT 30-27 MIL 30-28 CLEV 27-29 NY 26-29 TOR 27-32