The Milwaukee Braves dashed rising hopes that there might be a pennant race after all when they knocked off the Giants two out of three times. A strong cross wind in Seals Stadium, which should have helped the right-handed hitters facing Warren Spahn, worked just the reverse. Explained Spahn, "That wind gives you stuff you seldom get. It's resistance. It lets the ball act better." Spahnie won easily. The next night Joey Jay, who has had little success with breaking stuff, reverted to his fast ball and went nine innings for the first time since July. He also won easily. The San Francisco Giants continued to get sound pitching but were hurt by weak batting, of all things. Motion pictures taken of Orlando Cepeda, one of the hitting disappointments, showed that he was turning his back toward the pitcher, trying to get more power into his swing. He corrected that and is now hitting sharply again (12 for 24 ABs). The Los Angeles Dodgers are scoring lots of runs (197, most in league), just as they used to in the old Ebbets Field days, but are giving up even more (212, most in league), which they didn't used to do. The Chicago Cubs came within one percentage point of second place, and then everyone stopped hitting and the team lost four straight. A cheerful note was the pitching of Moe Drabowsky, even though he was knocked out of the box twice. "I told him to just throw the damn ball," said Manager Scheffing. "He was aiming for the corners and missing. I want him to cut out the aiming and just cut loose." After the Pittsburgh Pirates had dropped their third game in a row (making 19 errors in their last nine games), Manager Murtaugh read the riot act and benched Shortstop Dick Groat (six errors). The team responded with five in a row (the last four by one-run margins). At the end of the week, the Pirates were over the .500 mark for the first time this year and resting in third place. The Cincinnati Reds' ragged pitching was just too much for the team's hitters (second best BA in league) to overcome. The Reds averaged five runs a game but the pitchers allowed six. The team plummeted from third to sixth place. Don't look now, but the St. Louis Cardinals are the hottest team in the league. While winning seven out of their last eight games, the Cards got fabulous pitching and hard hitting. "Those Cardinals are hitting as if they're headed for a World Series," remarked Pirate Manager Murtaugh after his team was smashed 11-1. The Philadelphia Phillies muddled along without much hitting or pitching and extended their disastrous losing streak to eight games. Then Ruben Gomez and Gene Conley pitched shutouts, and things looked better.
Standings: Mil 23-13, SF 21-17, Pitt 20-18, LA 21-20, Chi 20-21, Cin 18-21, StL 17-21, Phil 14-23.
When the Cleveland Indians lost the lead for the first time this year, Manager Joe Gordon immediately juggled his lineup. Rookie Ray Webster replaced .238-hitter Billy Martin (who sulked in protest), and Veteran Hal Naragon took the place of Russ Nixon (.186 BA). The Indians immediately regained first place, winning three in a row. A big factor in the surge of the Chicago White Sox (12 out of 16) has been the play of Luis Aparicio. Leadoff man Luis, who has finally learned to wait out pitchers, drew 10 walks, hit safely 23 times and scored 18 runs during that streak. If the Sox are to make a real run for the pennant, Dick Donovan has to be a consistent winner. Last week he pitched a four-hitter to win his first game in six weeks. "There's been nothing wrong with my stride or rhythm," said Donovan. "I just seem more prone to lapses in concentration this year." The amazing Baltimore Orioles got to within a game and a half of first on a lot of pitching and little hitting. (The last-place Yankees are the only team in the majors to score so few runs.) In the four games won last week, Oriole pitchers held the opposition to one run twice, shut them out twice. The Kansas City Athletics lost their leading hitter (Roger Maris, with appendicitis) but found a new starting pitcher. Ralph Terry, a big disappointment, was sent to the bullpen, and Knuckleball Reliever Bud Daley became a regular starter. He showed his appreciation with a brilliant four-hit shutout over the White Sox. There was a familiar old look to the Washington Senators as they dropped five in a row. The failure of last year's relief aces, Dick Hyde and Tex Clevenger, has-hurt the team. The Boston Red Sox were still getting bad pitching and inconsistent hitting. Worst of all, Ted Williams had yet to find the range (.167 BA, no homers). After 40 days and 40 nights in the cellar the Detroit Tigers at long last climbed into seventh place. Jim Bunning won his fifth complete game in a row, and the team whacked 11 home runs for the week. Joked Manager Dykes, "Gimme a few long balls and a good pitcher and I'm a mastermind." The New York Yankees created more discussion (see page 18) than the Geneva Conference when their enigmatic slump dumped them into last place.
Standings: Clev 23-13, Chi 23-15, Balt 22-17, KC 17-18, Wash 19-21, Bost 15-21, Det 15-22, NY 14-21.
REVIVED CARDS were animated by fine pitching of Vinegar Bend Mizell (left) and Larry Jackson. Both won twice in streak.