By the Time We Left Phoenix, Got to Houston, and Kept Going

Both Texas teams had hit the road, and here I was with Sheila after two incredible days getting to know her in a doctorless way. It would have been less than two days but the train stopped for many hours for no special reason somewhere in New Mexico, and neither of us minded one bit. The window in our dinky train compartment got wicked steamy, and I was surprised how warm her skin was under her usually cold personality. The fact she kept her glasses on didn’t even make a difference, but when those got foggy too she finally ditched them.

Anyway, we got ahold of Ed Peachy Calhoun up in Jewett, made up a good story about our situation and he drove down to pick us up. He had no interest in lending us his pickup like I thought he wouldn’t, but when we said he could go with us to get Seamus Headley up in Cleveland he honked like a goose and just about went off the road. I got the feeling old Peachy hadn’t been out of Texas in maybe his whole life.

The cool thing is we had radio ball games all the way up the center of the country, when thunderheads weren’t making the stations crackle. We caught some of the Astros out in L.A., some of the Rangers in Minnesota, a taste of the Royals at Comiskey and even Steve Carlton taking on the Reds. Sheila held my hand for 80% of the drive, and admitted she had this secret liking for the Pirates she couldn’t really explain or understand, so she was kind of rooting for the Reds to lose now that they’ve climbed to a sniff away from first.

All I can say is that cozied up next to her in the truck with the windows open and a humid night breeze whipping through and Peachy whistling and Denny Matthews describing George Brett’s swing and lightning flashes blessing the sky from a hundred miles away, I felt like I was in heaven. Certainly one I’d never been allowed to visit.

Games of the Day

at EXPOS 8-11-0, PIRATES 6-11-0
PIRATES 5-10-1, at EXPOS 1-9-0
Ah yes. Remember twi-night doubleheaders? Rooker takes a 6-2 lead to the 8th in the first game but Montreal gets all kind of rolls, cut the lead to 6-4 to bring on Grant Jackson—and Andre Dawson celebrates his future Hall of Fame induction with a game-winning grand slam. In the nightcap, Larry Demery is pressed into service because Forster isn’t rested, and with nearly everything going Pittsburgh’s way of late, the Demster mows down the ‘Spos on 1 run and 7 hits before getting pulled for Tekulve in the 7th.  Three out of four for the resurgent Bucs, who now head to a sold-out Riverfront Stadium for three with the Reds, including a July 4th doubleheader.  Duck!

at PHILLIES 6-14-2, REDS 4-4-1
Cincy blows a great chance to close to within a half game of the lead, but Steve Carlton kind of has something to do with it. It’s a struggle anyway, as the Phils outhit the Reds 14-4 but can only win by two. Foster cracks homer #33 in the 9th, because he can.

at DODGERS 2-6-0, ASTROS 1-5-0
L.A. finishes off their second straight home sweep, every game a pitching duel. This time Lemongello of all folks is matching zeroes with John until the 8th. A Gonzalez sac fly puts Houston up 1-0, but with two gone in the Dodger 8th, Tommy hits for himself and singles, and a Lopes triple, his second big one in two games, ties it up. Two outs last of the 9th, Garvey does walkoff yard work.

at YANKEES 3-8-3, RED SOX 2-6-3 (12 innings)
Sloppiest thriller of the year, and the Yanks take their first series vs. Boston. Guidry gives up two Sox runs in the 4th, Cleveland does the same in the 7th. Two late errors for defensive subs Dent and Blair give Boston excellent scoring chances but Guidry gets out of every jam. Willie Randolph then sends Friendly Fred and the rest of the 50,000 home happy with a 1-6 HR roll off Bill Lee in the last of the 12th.

ROYALS 6-13-1, at WHITE SOX 0-2-0
Boy, Chicago was cooking with gas until the Royals came to town and exploded it in their face. Leonard is virtually unhittable this time, notching his fourth shutout and sixth straight win to put K.C. back on top.

at INDIANS 4-8-0, ORIOLES 2-9-0
Two straight sickening Bird losses by the Lake drop them back into Yankee territory. Palmer’s up 2-1 here and flat-out loses his stuff in the 8th, the winning runs coming in on a Rico Carty double over Singleton’s head.

RANGERS 2-5-0, at TWINS 0-4-0
Talk about sickening. Carew collects three hits off Alexander, but the rest of the Twins lineup musters only one and Minnesota’s home mark drops to 10-25.

American League through Wednesday, July 2

Kansas City 46 33 .582
Boston 44 33 .571 1
Baltimore 41 35 .539 3.5
New York 41 36 .532 4
Texas 40 38 .513 5.5
Chicago 35 41 .461 9.5
Minnesota 32 44 .421 12.5
Cleveland 29 48 .377 16

National League through Wednesday, July 2

Pittsburgh 47 33 .588
Cincinnati 45 34 .570 1.5
Los Angeles 43 33 .566 2
Philadelphia 44 35 .557 2.5
St. Louis 41 36 .532 4.5
Houston 35 43 .449 11
Montreal 31 46 .403 14.5
Chicago 25 51 .329 20

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