Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
This was just a routine night for the Red Sox.
Boston's doddering institution, Luis Tiant, almost pitched a no-hitter, then settled for a two-hit shutout.
His mates tied an all-time home run record, again.
George Scott smashed his seventh home run in seven games, then started a bench-clearing fight five innings later.
Jim Rice, who is so hot you could grill steak and eggs on his red batting helmet, only had a home run and a double - an off night in his present state.
Naturally, the Bosox won again, 7-0, blanking the Baltimore Orioles on two hits for the second straight night. This made five straight wins, 11 of 12 and 14 of for a team that is playing so well it ought to be illegal. Thanks to a New York loss, Boston's lead climbed to 4 1/2 games.
The Red Sox hate to admit it, but they are now halfway to what might be called a Midseason Miracle. Faced with 10 straight games against their main American League East rivals, the Yankees and Orioles, the Hose have won the first five by a margin of 41-9.
Tiant's gem tonight came on the heels of a Rick Wise two-hitter and a Ferguson Jenkins three-hitter. Boston has not allowed an earned run in 30 innings and seems bent on never losing again.
Many will argue that Tiant came within a flip of shortstop Rick Burleson's glove of having his second career no-hitter.
Burleson, who made two brilliant plays tonight - strating a double play with a diving stop behind second and making another theft deep in the hole - bobbled a Lee May ground smash behind second base in the fourth inning.
Since the Orioles' only other hit, a double off the right-field wall by Pat Kelly, came with two out in the ninth, Tiant theoretically attained his nohitter (Kelly never getting to the plate) if Burleson had made the play.
"I never thought I'd got to it, but the grass slowed it up," said a despondent Burleson. "I pulled up to throw too quickly and it ticked off my glove. I will make that play 90 per cent of the time, especially on a slow runner like May." However, the only possible scoring was a hit.
All other Red Sox news was good. Rice, who is a preposterous 29 for 53 during Boston's 13-game tear, says he is "in a groove" he will do anything to stay in. "It actually starts when I wake up in the morning," he said. "Hitting is with me almost all day. It's almost like a trance, a total awareness."
In the fourth, Rice was extremely aware of a Dennis Martinez fast ball and drilled it 430 feet on a low line over the center-field fence.
A bit rattled, rookie Martinez walked Carlton Fisk, then got a slider up and over the plate to Scott. The Boomer lofted a fly to right that a crosswind wafted toward the line and into the second row of seats.
Ironically, neither of the homers, which tied the major league record for home runs in seven consecutive games, 24, would have been out of Fenway Park. Scott's would have been an easy out and Rice's would have gone through The Wall.