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Baseball's gimpiest division boasted enough calamities to fill a soap opera. Cleveland (3-3), which has lost Bert Blyleven for the season and has Alan Bannister on the disabled list, had three ailing pitchers: Rick Waits (sore knee), John Denny (bum shoulder) and Ed Whitson (wrist problems). Carl Yastrzemski of Boston (3-3) had to play center for the first time since 1980. That was because Reid Nichols went on the DL with a pulled groin muscle and Dwight Evans, who had played 201 consecutive games, pulled a hamstring and was reduced to being a DH. Manager Sparky Anderson of Detroit (4-3) had surgery on his sun-blistered lower lip. A shoulder ailment put Milt Wilcox on the DL, but Larry Herndon missed only one game after slicing a finger while opening clams. Then came a call to the clubhouse from one disabled Tiger (Dave Rozema) to another (Kirk Gibson). Rozema was adrift on Lake St. Clair in a boat he co-owns with Gibson when he made a ship-to-shore SOS call to find out how to get the balky engine started. Fine pitching kept the Tigers from sinking further while on dry land: Dan Petry beat Chicago 1-0 and Larry Pashnick stopped Texas 3-1.
Milwaukee, Baltimore and New York rose above minor travails. When hot-hitting Cecil Cooper of the first-place Brewers (2-4) needed a night off to rest a bruised knee, Don Money put on a glove for the first time in five weeks, made two fielding gems at first base, slugged two homers and had four RBIs to help defeat the Twins 10-4. The Orioles (4-2) got along fine without Manager Earl Weaver, who was suspended for a week and fined $2,000 for "physical contact" he made the previous week while arguing with Umpire Terry Cooney. With Coach Cal Ripken Sr. taking over for Weaver, the Birds won four of five games. Benny Ayala's two-run pinch double in the eighth took care of California 8-7. Jim Palmer had eight strikeouts, the most for him in one game in four years, as he defeated Oakland 2-1. And the Orioles over-took the A's 5-4, Al Bumbry tying the game in the ninth with a single and Floyd Rayford ending it in the 13th when he homered. Cal Ripken Jr. batted .459.
Jerry Mumphrey of the Yankees (4-3) won two games with home runs, one a blast in the ninth that finished off the Angels 6-5. In all, Mumphrey had six ribbies and hit .400, and Dave Winfield drove in 10 runs. That helped overshadow the latest controversy on the team, one concerning a special practice for seven players who were being disciplined for their shoddy play during a 6-5 loss to Seattle. "It's degrading, but you can't let it mess up your head," said Willie Randolph of the workout, which was called by owner George Steinbrenner.
The Blue Jays (4-3) were 2½ games out of sixth place. They stole 10 bases and got a pair of victories from both Luis Leal and Dave Stieb. Each squared his record, Leal at 7-7 by beating Kansas City 4-2 and Chicago 7-1, and Stieb at 10-10 as he subdued the Royals 9-2 and the White Sox 8-1.
MIL 55-39 BOS 55-40 BALT 51-41 DET 49-45 NY 47-45 CLEV 46-46 TOR 45-50
Willie Wilson's 12th career homer in 639 games was his ninth inside-the-park job, and it helped Kansas City (3-3) defeat Toronto 9-7. After the Brewers broke open a scoreless game with three runs in the top of the ninth, the Royals scored four times in the bottom half, with the winner coming on a suicide squeeze by Frank White. By going 3-3 California (page 16) retained its two-game lead over Kansas City.
Reliever Bill Caudill of Seattle (3-3) got his ninth and 10th wins, both in New York, as he gave up just two runs in 6⅓ innings during a pair of 6-5 games. Caudill, who was Yankee property this spring for what he estimates as "22 minutes," requested that when he retires "George Steinbrenner send me a uniform with one pinstripe on it." Rookie Mike Moore blanked Cleveland 9-0, and Richie Zisk hit .500 and had eight RBIs.
Three nifty pitching performances gave Chicago (4-3) a lift. Dennis Lamp beat Detroit 6-0, Britt Burns stopped Toronto 3-2, and Reliever Salome Barojas yielded only one hit in 5⅔ innings and won 9-3 when the White Sox scored six runs in the 12th inning to wipe out the Tigers.