The pennant was selling at its lowest price in years, but no one seemed eager to buy. The San Francisco Giants held steady, a discreet distance ahead of the field, losing and winning, winning and losing. Johnny Antonelli, the moody ace of the pitching staff, won his 19th game, while Sam Jones and Stu Miller each added a victory in relief. Willie McCovey continued his extravagant hitting; he extended his batting streak to 18 games and in one stretch of five hits had four home runs and a triple. Catcher Hobie Landrith announced that as far as the Giants were concerned, all was calm, all was bright. "Sure we smell the money," he said, "but the fellows laugh it up. We're not panicking. That's for other teams." The Los Angeles Dodgers trotted along obediently in second place, shadowing but not gaining. Sandy Koufax struck out 18 Giants, tying a Bobby Feller record, but Don Drysdale lost control of his fast ball and his emotions. He clipped the Cardinals' Joe Cunningham with a pitch and eventually lost his fourth in a row. The Milwaukee Braves showed not the slightest interest in defending their league title, although Warren Spahn did throw a three-hitter for his 18th win. The most heartwarming event of the week for all baseball fans was the appearance of Red Schoendienst for the first time this season, as a pinch hitter. After a frenzied rush on the league leaders the Pittsburgh Pirates were jolted back to reality by a double-header loss to Cincinnati. Nevertheless, Manager Danny Murtaugh refused to settle for fourth place. "We'll bounce right back," he said. "Look at the three teams above us. They're still struggling, and they've got to play us." The Cincinnati Reds, with nothing to lose but fifth place, got splendid pitching from Jim O'Toole and Don Newcombe in the two victories over Pittsburgh. Both pitchers went the distance. With the 1960 season already in mind, Manager Fred Hutchinson switched Slugger Frank Robinson back to left field after a season at first base. The Chicago Cubs played drowsy baseball. Only Glen Hobbie's steady pitching prevented them from compiling a really impressive losing streak. Manager Solly Hemus of the St. Louis Cardinals invaded Los Angeles and said, "Frankly, I don't see how the Dodgers have been able to hang in there in the pennant race." Then he sat back and watched his charges take two out of three from the Dodgers, including Larry Jackson's two-hit shutout. Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies, who could be pardoned for looking forward eagerly to the football season, got a pleasant surprise when their team got three straight complete games, and victories, from three different pitchers.
Standings: SF 76-59, LA 73-61, Mil 71-63, Pitt 71-65, Cin 66-69, Chi 63-69, StL 63-74, Phil 57-80
With relentless insistence the Chicago White Sox bore down on their objective—their first pennant in 40 years (see page 24). The Sox' professional pitchers, Early Wynn and Dick Donovan, contributed victories, while the batters delivered a generous supply of runs, including 11 in one inning. And the rich got richer. Billy Pierce, usually Chicago's best pitcher but sidelined with an injured hip for three weeks, reported that he was fit once again. The Cleveland Indians, with little chance to win the pennant and no chance to finish worse than second, accepted their fate philosophically, but continued their vain chase of the White Sox. "We had a good crack at it, anyway," said Manager Gordon. Herb Score, who started against Kansas City and couldn't get a man out, was rumored to be high on Frank Lane's trading list. The New York Yankees (see page 26) were battling for third place—1959's most improbable story. When Milt Pappas of Baltimore shut them out 3-0, it was the 13th time this season the Yankees had been blanked, tops in the league. The Detroit Tigers, hounding the Yankees, got complete games from Mossi and Bunning, the latter's a three-hit shutout over the White Sox. Harvey Kuenn maintained his .350-plus average to just about clinch the American League batting title. The Baltimore Orioles, one defeat away from sixth place, won three straight (two of them shutouts) to re-enter the battle for third. Bob Nieman, who has been Baltimore's best hitter since late August, won one game with two home runs. The Boston Red Sox put together a nifty losing streak just when it looked as if they might have a chance for the first division. It wasn't that the pitching was so poor (it wasn't great, either) or that the hitting was too weak. The Sox just played well enough to lose. In fact, it was due only to the valiant efforts of the Kansas City Athletics that the Sox didn't fall into seventh. The Athletics were winless for more than a week, due mostly to a collapse in pitching (Bud Daley, a welcome surprise earlier in the season, did a complete turnabout and lost four starts in a row). A hand injury to Outfielder Bill Tuttle didn't help either. For the Washington Senators, secure in last place, there were only two well-pitched games by Camilo Pascual, two home runs in one inning by Jim Lemon and the memory of May, when they were in the first division.
Standings: Chi 83-51, Cleve 77-56, Det 68-67, NY 68-67, Bait 64-68, Bos 62-74, KC 59-73, Wash 55-80
FIREBALLERS Sandy Koufax of L.A., Jim Bunning of Detroit beat leaders. Sandy fanned 18 Giants, Jim blanked White Sox.