For three days Manager Don Zimmer of Texas (3-3) must have felt like the loneliest Ranger. On Monday he was fired—then promptly told to manage the team's next three games until a successor was found. "Very strange," said Zim. "Shabby," said Third Baseman Buddy Bell. Ultimately, Darrell Johnson, the Rangers' dugout coach, was named interim manager; in 1976 it was Zimmer who replaced the canned Johnson as manager of the Red Sox. Said Owner Eddie Chiles of Texas' managerial bungling: "I think we came across looking inept." Charlie Hough, who gave Zimmer his last Ranger victory by beating the Brewers 3-1, also gave Johnson his first win when he and Danny Darwin held off New York 3-2.
Meanwhile, Tony LaRussa of the White Sox (3-4) seemed on the verge of losing his job, but two saves by Salome Barojas, .435 hitting by Carlton Fisk and three straight defeats of Boston bought him some time.
With the Royals (6-1) leading the Orioles 3-2, George Brett led off the eighth with a double. Up stepped Hal McRae, who leads the majors with 91 RBIs. Everyone knew McRae would swing away. Except McRae. On his own, he dropped down a bunt that moved Brett to third, and a sacrifice fly scored Brett with the run that secured a 4-3 K.C. victory. Said McRae of his bunt, "The runner had to get to third. I didn't just get off the last vegetable truck into town." Nor did Vida Blue, who went seven innings to defeat Cleveland 8-1 and then blanked Baltimore 2-0. Blue, dissatisfied with his inconsistent pitching, stopped throwing in the bullpen between starts and pitched batting practice instead. "I get a better idea of what my pitches are doing when I pitch to live hitters," he explained.
The Mariners (3-4), who had lost 15 of 17 previous games in Anaheim and had scored only seven runs in their last 60 innings there, scored six runs in the fourth inning to jolt the Angels 9-3. Dave Edler's two homers—one a grand slam—beat Minnesota 9-7.
Gary Gaetti also homered with the bases full, leading the Twins (2-5) past the Mariners 10-4. But a pair of one-run losses in Oakland left Minnesota with 18 such setbacks this year. The A's (4-3), who were one out away from losing the first of those games to the Twins, tied the score on a homer by Jeff Burroughs and won in the 10th on a double by Rickey Henderson and a single by Dan Meyer. During an 11-8 defeat of California, Henderson stole two bases, had a single, double, homer, two RBIs and scored three times. Said Angel Reggie Jackson of Henderson: "I'm tied for the league lead in home runs [with Gorman Thomas of Milwaukee], but I'd fear him more than me." Altogether, Henderson hit .481 and stole seven bases, raising his total to 99. But he was gunned down three times by Angel Catcher Bob Boone, who has caught 42 of 72 would-be stealers.
Manager Gene Mauch of the division-leading Angels (5-2) regularly insists that his team has the best defense extant. And he said that before Brian Downing, a converted catcher, improved his glove work in the outfield. Downing's full-speed, wall-jarring catch in the leftfield corner took a home run away from Seattle's Dave Henderson. That catch, plus one by Third Baseman Doug DeCinces that turned a sure double into an out, enabled Ken Forsch to win 2-0. Steve Renko, who at age 37 is having his finest season, upped his record to 9-2 by stopping Seattle 3-1.
CAL 59-44 KC 57-44 CHI 52-49 SEA 52-51 OAK 44-61 TEX 40-59 MINN 35-69
"If we work hard, we I can get back to mediocrity," said disenchanted Toby Harrah of the Indians (4-4). There was, though, nothing mediocre about making three throwing errors on one play. It all began when Second Baseman Larry Milbourne grabbed a liner and made an errant throw to first trying to double up Milwaukee's Gorman Thomas. First Baseman Mike Hargrove ran down the ball and threw it past home plate when he tried to nail Robin Yount coming in from third. After Catcher Chris Bando retrieved the ball, he attempted to gun down Thomas, who was steaming toward third. Bando's throw sailed into leftfield. Thomas scored and the Brewers prevailed 4-2. Those weren't the only gaffes—or the worst ones. During a rain delay in Cleveland the grounds crew accidentally rolled the tarp over one of its workers, who required minor medical attention. The bright spots were three wins over Milwaukee, one by a 5-1 score when Andre Thornton walloped a grand slam in the 12th inning.