The San FranciscoGiants finally got the big hitting lift Manager Rigney had been hoping for("It just takes one guy to light a fire. It might be anybody. If we couldjust get one guy hitting"). Willie McCovey, a big first baseman, was calledup from the minors and pounded out eight hits in his first 13 at bats. Theteam's hitting attack perked up and the Giants won four straight. The MilwaukeeBraves were back in high gear (10 out of 12) and looked once again like theteam that won the last two National League pennants. Burdette and Spahn eachwon three in a row, and Bob Buhl threw a sparkling three-hit shutout. HenryAaron banged out five home runs in four games. And best of all, Bobby Avilaseems to have solved the old second base riddle. "He's picked up the wholeclub," said Warren Spahn. "Bobby's the steady influence, the holler guywe've needed." Del Crandall echoed, "That Avila gives us the experienceat second we had in Red Schoendienst." The Los Angeles Dodgers stayed rightin there with six wins in seven games and for one day were even in first place.Don Drysdale gets better and better as the season moves along. He won his fifthstraight complete game. The Chicago Cubs' pitching, which had carried the teamup into fourth place, mysteriously collapsed: in five games the staff gave up53 hits and 33 runs. Since Ernie Banks was the team's only consistent hitter(10 for 22), the Cubs lost all five. The Pittsburgh Pirates' horrendous losingstreak reached nine games before it finally ended. The weak hitting of BobSkinner, Bill Virdon and Bill Mazeroski hurt the team badly. The CincinnatiReds got fairly good pitching (three complete games), plenty of hitting (42runs) and Shortstop Roy McMillan back (he had been out a month and a half witha broken hand). The team won six out of seven. The St. Louis Cardinals scoredonly 13 runs in seven games while giving up 45. Strangely enough, they won oneof them. And that only because Rookie Bob Gibson, just recalled from theminors, powered his way to an eight-hit, 1-0 shutout. It was his first majorleague win. Stan Musial, puffing along with a .261 batting average, is going toplay more often now. Said Stan, "I've been out of the lineup so much, I'veforgotten the strike zone." The Philadelphia Phillies utilized timely homeruns by Gene Freese to win two low-run games from the Giants. Quipped Freese,"I'm trying to make the Ed Sullivan Show."
Standings: SF59-45, LA 60-47, Mil 57-45, Chi 50-53, Pitt 50-55, Cin 49-55, StL 49-56, Phil42-60.
The Chicago WhiteSox' extraordinary blend of strong pitching and tight defense (see page 47)continued to pay off and the Sox won six in a row and 11 out of 12. Six of the11 wins were complete games, seven were won by one run. The Cleveland Indiansslowed the pace down—they lost five out of nine games—as injuries hobbled theteam. Shortstop Woody Held was out with a bad knee, and Herb Score had to bedropped from the starting rotation when he developed arm trouble. The KansasCity Athletics' incredible winning streak reached 11 games (longest in theleague in five years) before the Yanks spoiled the fun. When the streakstarted, the A's were in the cellar. When it ended, they were in third place.One of the big factors in the Athletics' renaissance was the hitting andfielding of Russ Snyder, a 25-year-old castoff from the Yankee chain. Insertedin left field when Bob Cerv was injured, the speedy Snyder made himself aregular by batting .414. The Baltimore Orioles hung on a long time with goodpitching and little else. When the pitching finally let down the last twoweeks, the Orioles slipped slowly toward the second division. The DetroitTigers settled into a frustrating win-one, lose-one routine. The team justcan't seem to win the close ones; last week the Tigers lost their 20th game byone run. Injuries, too, have hurt Detroit. The double-play combination ofBridges and Boiling was out of action all last week and then Harvey Kuenn, theleague's leading batter, was sidelined. The New York Yankees lost three out offive, fell 12 games behind, and just about ruined any chance they might havehad to come back. The pitching was good, which was news, but the big hit nevercame. The Boston Red Sox threw in the towel and started to build for next year.Young Jim Mahoney was called up from the minors to replace Shortstop DonBuddin. Pumpsie Green took over at second and Pete Runnels was shifted tofirst. Said Owner Tom Yawkey, who called the shots, "We'll bring them upand we'll throw them out. If the players we have aren't doing the job, we'llget rid of them. We'll give everybody an opportunity. It's up to them to makegood." The Washington Senators, their days of glory over, lost 16 games ina row and fell with a thud into last place. Manager Lavagetto juggled hislineup daily and used every pitcher on the staff. Nothing worked. Owner CalGriffith rushed west to join the team and reported: "I am not the least bitpanicked by our slump. I'm satisfied that the team has been hustling and doingthe best it can. This club has too much talent. We'll bounce back."
Standings: Chi62-40, Clev 60-44, Balt 53-53, KC 51-51, NY 50-52, Det 51-55, Bost 45-58, Wash43-62.
Boxed statisticsthrough Saturday, August 1
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
DAZZLING DEBUT of Willie McCovey (4 for 4) fired up the Giants. Return of Tito Francona (.418 BA) reinforced Indians.