New York (7-0) waltzed to a 7�-game lead, getting strike-up-the-band hitting from Graig Nettles (four homers, 10 RBIs), Reggie Jackson (four homers, eight RBIs) and Jim Spencer (two homers, 11 RBIs). Ron Guidry was humming, too, as he beat the Angels 5-0.
Jorge Orta provided basso profundo-type hitting for the Indians (4-3), tying a league record of six hits for a nine-inning game and stretching his streak to nine straight safeties before being stopped. Altogether, Orta batted .452. Mike Hargrove hit five doubles, and Miguel Dilone batted .471 and stole five bases, giving him 19 since joining the team on May 9. Dan Spillner and Len Barker joined John Denny as seven-game winners, the first time Cleveland has had such a trio this early since the Big Three days of Herb Score, Bob Lemon and Early Wynn in 1955. Further encouragement came when Wayne Garland pitched his first complete game in a year to beat Chicago 5-3.
Steve Stone's pitching and pinch hits by Lenn Sakata and John Lowenstein helped the Orioles (6-1) jump from sixth place to fourth. Stone fanned 18 batters as he fired two five-hitters to beat California 5-3 and Seattle 9-0. Sakata's single in the ninth defeated Oakland 3-2, and Lowenstein's hit tied the A's at 3-3 the next day. Lowenstein's theatrics did not end there, however. On the same play, he set up the winning run by zipping safely into second when First Baseman Jeff Newman cut off an outfield relay and hit Lowenstein in the back of the neck with a throw. As Lowenstein was carried off the field on a stretcher he got a rousing cheer from Baltimore fans by sitting up and clenching his fists in a Rocky Balboa-type salute.
Ben Oglivie of the Brewers (4-4), the league leader in homers, with 18, and in RBIs, with 49, hit a fence-clearing shot and drove in three runs as the Rangers succumbed 10-4. Moose Haas and Lary Sorensen earned their seventh victories by stopping Kansas City, the former winning 10-5 as Dick Davis had four RBIs, and the latter prevailing 5-1 as Don Money homered twice.
Jack Morris and Milt Wilcox of the Tigers (4-2) also won their seventh games: Morris stopped Milwaukee 3-0, and Wilcox beat the Brewers 6-5 and Chicago 4-1. Al Cowens was suspended for seven games and fined an undisclosed sum by League President Lee MacPhail for charging and grabbing Chicago's Ed Farmer apparently because the reliever had broken his jaw with a pitch in May 1979. Last week's fracas occurred when Cowens hit a ground ball to shortstop and, instead of running to first, raced to the mound and bloodied Farmer's nose.
Even with Fred Lynn hitting .417, Jim Rice slugging three homers and Rick Burleson batting .419, the Red Sox (4-3) struggled. During three losses, Boston pitchers were bombed for 35 runs and 51 hits. The week's most severe loss came in a 4-2 defeat to California on Saturday when Rice was hit by a pitch on his left wrist. He'll be out five to six weeks.
Toronto (3-4) replaced Detroit in last place. The Blue Jays, who were early-season terrors, have lost 19 of 30 games.
NY 43-21 MIL 35-28 BOS 34-30 BALT 34-31 CLEV 32-30 DET 30-30 TOR 30-32