- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The Twins gave interim Manager John Goryl his first winning week (3-2) since he replaced Gene Mauch on August 25. They battered five Milwaukee pitchers for 22 hits and 15 runs in a 15-2 win.
Rich Dotson of Chicago (3-4) had a no-hitter going into the eighth against Seattle (2-4) before giving up a bloop single, but Dotson's performance was little noted, because the game went 12 innings. Two Mariner players and Manager Maury Wills were ejected before the White Sox finally won 3-2. Wills had objected to a balk call made by first-year Umpire Mark Johnson. And objected and objected. "He kept hitting me on the nose with the beak of his cap," said Johnson. "He hit me two or three times." Wills should have known better. It takes a bit of big league experience before an umpire becomes hard-nosed.
KC 88-55 OAK 72-71 TEX 69-72 MINN 62-80 CHI 68-80 CAL 57-84 SEA 51-90
It was a week the Dodgers (3-2) aren't likely to forget. It started with a 6-0 three-hit defeat of Philadelphia to close out a 10-1 home stand, L.A.'s best since 1966. Having won 17 of their last 20, the Dodgers were in first by two games over Houston (4-1). But then it was on to the Astrodome, where the Dodgers committed six errors—one shy of the L.A. team record—in a 5-4 loss. And not one of those errors was committed by Shortstop Billy Russell, who had gone a record—for him—47 straight games without a miscue, partly because of the new Dodger infield dirt. The next night left Astros fans hoarse. Starters Burt Hooton and Nolan Ryan each gave up three runs in eight innings before Houston finally won in the 12th. Hooton said the Astros were "waving magic wands." But, no, it was just Jose Cruz waving a 36-inch, 34-ounce bat at Rick Sutcliffe's first pitch in the 12th and sending it over the rightfield fence for the 6-5 victory. With characteristic understatement, Houston Manager Bill Virdon said, "We always play the Dodgers close." Certainly the race was close; the Astro win left the teams in a tie for first place.
Then it was on to Cincinnati for the Dodgers. The Reds (3-3) were calling it the biggest series of the year. They had just won three straight from Atlanta, with Tom Seaver getting his first shutout of the year and Mario Soto striking out 15 batters, running his season's total to 154 in 157⅓ innings. And it looked like curtains for the Dodgers in the third inning of the first game when Pitcher Mike LaCoss threw a fastball that hit Russell's right hand, fracturing his index finger—oddly, the pitch was a strike, the umpire having determined that the ball hit Russell's bat before his hand—and sending him to the sidelines for the rest of the season. But in stepped utilityman Derrel Thomas, who singled and tripled and scored two runs as L.A. won 5-2. The next day he tripled in the top of the ninth, driving in pinch runner Gary Weiss to tie the score. One batter later, Thomas bluffed Soto into balking and trotted in with the winning run. "My head knows we won this game," said manager Tommy Lasorda in the clubhouse afterward, "but my stomach hasn't found out yet." Given the manager's dimensions, that could take the rest of the season.
The three losses to Cincinnati stopped the Braves' (3-3) winning streak at seven and gave them a 1-14 record against the Reds for the year, having been outscored 92-28 by Cincy. The Braves bounced back to break a seven-game Padre winning streak. Bob Horner hit a single, double and homer and drove in three runs in a 5-3 win the following evening. But the Padres (3-2) had a bright spot of their own. "It looks like we've got a lefthanded Rollie Fingers," said Catcher Gene Tenace of rookie Gary Lucas, who got two saves and had given up just one run in his last 16 relief appearances.
Giant (1-4) Manager Dave Bristol was desolate about his pitching: "We gave up 12 walks to San Diego on Tuesday, and I asked myself, 'Why are we pitching so fine? Are we facing the Bronx Bombers?' " And his hitting: "I get so darned mad. I'm pitching batting practice, and they can't even sting me."
HOUS 81-60 LA 81-60 CIN 77-65 ATL 73-68 SF 67-74 SD 62-80