Sacre bleau, the bad gusy won again today.
Just when it seemed that American's villains, the store-bought New York Yankees, were about to be torn to shreds by New England's darlings, the Boston Red SOx, that old Yankees menace stuck its head up once more.
The Yankees got their second measure of revenge today as Mike Torrez, the gentleman who was mussed for 13 hits a week ago by the Bosox in Fenway, pitched a seven-hitter to beat the invaders, 5-1, and sharp their home run barrage.
From the first inning it was clear the home runs and the cheers would belong to the Yanks, not the Sox. Mickey Rivers hit Luis Tiant's fifth pitch off the facing of the right-field upper deck and the day's mood was set. "I'm a strong gun," glowed Rivers.
The Yanks, now only three games out of first, have a chance Sunday to answer Boston's three-game sweep last week with one of their own.
For one day the New Yonkers stopped fighting each other long enough to do a job on the other guys. Graig Nettles hit his 15th homer into the fourth inning and led a New York defense that stole a half-dozen almost sure hits.
Neattles opened the game at third with a scoop-and-peg on a swinging bunt and began the ninth by robbing Carlton Fisk of a doubel down the line with a backhand stop and throw.
In fact, if the Yankee come back from their on-the-field himiliations and their off-the-field comedy of a week ago, it is probably Neattles they shoudl thank first.
In a clubhous eof prima donnas, he has been the model team player, batling anywhere in the lineup without a murmer "because I don't want to add to Billy's problems."
On Wesnesday night the Yankees were struck in Detroit. Trailing the Tigers, 10-7, in the ninth, the Yanks were on the verge of a sixth straight lose while Boston was winning the sixth of its seven in a row.
Then Nettles, who calls himself "a dangerious 210 hitter," hit a three-run homer to tie and the Yankees eventually survived, 12-11.
"That comeback in Detroit looks big for us. It changed out directions," manager Martin said today.
Actually, Neattles assumed he would hit a home run today.
"I finally got to go to bed last night," he explained. "I had two hours sleep the two previous night because I was with my wife who was having a baby."
Today, some of the bags gone from under his eyes and 6-pound, 14-ounce Tim doing well, Neattles picked on the first Tiant pitch he saw in the fourth with two men on.
For Boston's players, they of the historically fragile psyches, and for all of New England, in fact, this game was the worst of omens, th emost nauseous of flashback. How many times, ye gods, have the Yankees toyed with the hearts of the Hub, only to leave them crying in September.
Was this the good old Boston apple in the throat, or just professional praise when Fisk lamented today, "That Nettles plays third like an octopus against us. He must have stolen 20 hits from me in my career.What do I have to do to get it past him."
Boston's binge of 33 homers in 10 games - during which the Red Sox set eight major league records and tied another - may have ended, that Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice each gave it a shot with long flies caught by Rivers in Yankee Stadium's mammoth center filed.
"It had to end," said Boston's Butch Hobson, "but it sure was nice while it lasted."
"Maybe wi'll win 10 or 12 in a row now," said Nett; suppressing a sly yawn.