Seven times Brett Butler fouled off Dave Righetti's 3-and-2 pitches with two outs in the eighth inning. Then Butler doubled home two runs to climax Cleveland's four-run rally that beat the Yankees, 9-7, yesterday in New York.

Ed Whitson made a cameo appearance for the Yankees, pitching a scoreless ninth inning while those fans who remained from the original crowd of 46,607 chanted: "Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!" He hadn't pitched at Yankee Stadium since April 9 because of death threats.

Pat Tabler started the winning rally after two were out by singling. After pinch-hitter Carmen Castillo singled, Joe Carter drove in his fourth run of the game with another single that sent Castillo to third.

Chris Bando's broken-bat infield hit scored Castillo and brought up Butler, who had homered in the sixth inning.

After Whitson mopped up in the ninth, yielding only a harmless single, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. He had been scheduled to start Saturday but became ill.

"Today, I had something to prove," he said afterward. "It's something I've been through. I can handle the park. In the game, it's me against the hitters. On the streets, it's something different.

"It was a big lift. I was pumped up and tried to throw it through the wall . . . That was like coming in in relief in the seventh inning of a World Series."

Owner George Steinbrenner of the Yankees saw things differently.

He said Whitson had given up talking to the media. He said the controversy about Whitson "is to the point where it is starting to disturb the team."

And he asked rhetorically: "What's more important, the pennant race or that Ed Whitson has diarrhea?"

Steinbrenner also said he would support Edward J. DeBartolo's efforts to buy the Indians and predicted that, if DeBartolo did agree to buy the team, the league would approve him. The AL rejected him in 1980 when he tried to buy the White Sox.

Angels 8, Twins 7: In Minneapolis, Ruppert Jones homered, singled twice and scored three runs and Reggie Jackson doubled, singled twice and drove in two runs for California.

The Angels, who also got a home run from Bob Boone, had 14 hits off four pitchers.

Rookie reliever T.R. Bryden (2-0) gave up two fifth-inning runs on RBI groundouts by Kent Hrbek and Tom Brunansky, but held on earn his second major league victory in two days. Donnie Moore got the final five outs for his fourth save.

Kirby Puckett of the Twins homered in the second inning and leads the majors with seven homers. He had totaled four in his first two major league seasons. He had three singles yesterday.

Tigers 4, White Sox 1: Lou Whitaker's two-run triple in the sixth inning ended a pitching duel between Jack Morris and Chicago's Joel Davis. The Tigers needed the victory to avert a sweep of their three-game series in Detroit.

Morris (3-2) allowed six hits, walking one and striking out six in his first complete game this season.

Davis (1-1) took a one-hitter into the sixth. He left after 6 2/3 innings, having allowed four hits, walking three and striking out a career-high seven.

*Rangers 6, Brewers 2: The game in Arlington, Tex., matched two of baseball's brightest rookie pitching prospects, Bobby Witt of Texas and Juan Nieves of Milwaukee.

Witt struck out 11, a record for Rangers rookies, and benefited from Don Slaught's two-run homer. Witt (2-0) walked six and gave up three hits in seven innings. Greg Harris finished.

Nieves (0-1) lasted 6 2/3 innings and gave up six hits.

*A's 1, Mariners 0: In Oakland, Rick Langford pitched better than he had in four years, allowing only a single and two walks in seven innings. Jay Howell completed the two-hit shutout.

Langford had a no-hitter until the sixth inning, when Spike Owens lined a one-out single to right field. Langford struck out seven, then Howell struck out five more in earning his fourth save. He allowed only a two-out single to Ivan Calderon in the ninth.

The Mariners have lost nine times while totaling 21 runs on 44 hits in their last 11 games.

Langford (1-2 this season) set a major league modern-day record for complete games with 28 in 1980 and he totaled 33 the next two seasons. That led to elbow surgery in 1983. He was winless the next 2 1/2 seasons. Last year, he won three games.

First baseman Alvin Davis of the Mariners hurt his left shoulder making a diving stop in the sixth inning and left the game.