The San Francisco Giants got the kind of hitting they were supposed to get all along and rolled to their biggest lead of the year (four games). In winning four in a row, Manager Rigney's young bulls banged out 49 hits, had big innings all over the place. Willie McCovey started his second trip around the league and the pitchers still haven't figured him out. He's batting .395 and has averaged an RBI a game. The Los Angeles Dodgers were crippled by more bad pitching. Not one starter was able to finish in 16 straight games; ten of these games were losses. In two weeks the Dodgers had just about dropped out of contention (they fell from a half game out to 4½ games behind). The Milwaukee Braves lost Wes Covington for the rest of the season (ruptured ligament in right ankle) just when he was starting to hit again. They also lost three more games (Spahn lost one of them starting and one relieving) and fell further back (see page lit). "I've racked my brains trying to figure it out," said Manager Haney. "I've had several meetings with the players in the hope that that might shake them out of it. But nothing seems to work. I told them they should look in the mirror and think to themselves why we aren't winning this time. I've tried everything to get these guys to play like I know they can." The Pittsburgh Pirates still aren't getting much hitting. But the pitching has been sound and the team won 10 out of 13 games. Even Bob Friend started to win again. He has two in a row now. The Cincinnati Reds, who are held back only by a weak pitching staff, got encouraging work from two 22-year-old rookies, Jim O'Toole and Jay Hook. Both won well-pitched games last week. "Hook's starting to get confidence," said Manager Hutchinson. "That's what he needed." Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson (see page 45) continued to pound away. Pinson went 11 for 28 and Robby had 12 hits, 10 RBIs and four home runs. The Chicago Cubs stopped cold as Ernie Banks went into a slump. He had only four singles and no RBIs in 29 at bats, and the Cubbies dropped six out of seven. The St. Louis Cardinals lost six out of eight games and just about clinched seventh place. Some good pitching was wasted when the Cards could score only 12 runs in the six losing games. It was a long, hot week for the Philadelphia Phillies. They played three twi-night double-headers in as many days and were lucky to come out with two wins and a tie. As if to emphasize what kind of a season it's been for the Phils, Gene Conley broke a finger while winning a brilliant three-hit game. He won't pitch again this year.
Standings: SF 71-52, Mil 67-56, LA 68-58, Pitt 64-61, Cin 61-64, Chi 58-64, StL 57-70, Phil 52-73.
The Chicago White Sox pennant chase slowed down to a walk as they lost five out of nine games. "It's the defense I'm fretting over now," said Manager Lopez. "We've been going bad at third base. Balls have been going through our infield which should have been handled easily. That sort of play can make the pitching look bad." The Cleveland Indians ran off six in a row when the pitching suddenly became spectacular: Grant, Perry and Harshman all threw three-hitters. Lefthander Jack Harshman, in particular, has given the team a big lift. A flop with the Orioles and Red Sox earlier in the year, he has won three straight games since joining the Indians last month. The Indians are very much alive again. The New York Yankees, rehearsing now for next year, inserted 22-year-old Cletis Boyer at short. He teamed with 24-year-old Second Baseman Bobby Richardson to make a powerful double-play combination. Hector Lopez, feeling more at home in left field, went off on one of his periodic batting streaks. The Baltimore Orioles got tough against the White Sox and took two out of three. Then they rolled over for the Indians and Tigers and flopped into the second division. The Detroit Tigers won some, lost some and stayed comfortably in the middle of the league. After Paul Foytack was blasted from the mound within two innings by the Indians, he kicked the rosin bag around, flung his glove down repeatedly and threw his cap away. "If you'd get that mad at the batters," said Manager Dykes, "you'd be a better pitcher." The next day he started again against the Indians and beat them. Later in the week he used a new side-arm delivery and threw a four-hit shutout. The Kansas City Athletics got a lift from the revived Bob Cerv (he pushed his batting average up some 20 points in two weeks) but still lost more often than they won. The Boston Red Sox have moved along at a winning .520 pace since Billy Jurges took over nearly two months ago (they were playing losing .419 ball at that time). "He juggles us around like Stengel," said Sammy White, "and with just as much success. He makes the right moves at the right time and he's got the club winning." The Washington Senators went back to their losing habits, after a brief win streak. Flashy-fielding Rookie Shortstop Zoilo Versalles had to be benched after two weeks of play. "Big league pitchers were knocking the bat out of his hands," said Manager Lavagetto.
Standings: Chi 73-48, Clev 73-52, NY 62-62, Det 61-63, Balt 56-62, KC 58-66, Bost 57-67, Wash 50-74.
Boxed statistics through Saturday, August 22
HOT SPELL of hitting was staged by Bob Cerv of the A's and Hector Lopez of the Yanks. Cerv batted .400 and Lopez .444.