Suddenly, there was a tense three-team pennant race (see page 18). The San Francisco Giants, home in cozy Seals Stadium, still couldn't find their misplaced batting touch. Without punch, the team's bad fielding became agonizingly apparent—particularly at third base, where injured defensive star Jim Davenport was sorely missed. In four of six losses (in 12 games) errors were crucial. While the Giants sputtered fitfully along, the Milwaukee Braves dramatically caught fire. Pitching was tough (six complete games out of seven), defense solid and hitting opportune (three games were won with late-inning rallies). The Braves won seven in a row and looked like the class of the contenders. "We've been ready for the big streak for a long while," said Manager Haney. The Braves certainly picked the right time for a streak, since the Los Angeles Dodgers also snuggled up close to the Giants by winning five straight games. Three of these were shutouts by Drysdale, Craig and rookie Larry Sherry. Drysdale's masterful three-hit, 11-strikeout job was his first win after six inexplicable losses in a row. The Pittsburgh Pirates stopped hitting altogether (nine runs in six games) and lost six out of seven. Worse yet, Roy Face finally lost one. After 98 relief appearances and 22 wins over a two-season period, Roy gave up a losing run. Said Face: "I should have lost before this. I've been lucky and these guys have saved me time after time. After all, Walter Johnson never got through a season without losing at least one." The Cincinnati Reds, who still have a chance to finish fourth, tried out a young third baseman named Cliff Cook. In his second major league game Cook got four hits, knocked in as many runs, and the Reds won. "For the first time, I feel optimistic about our young prospects," said GM Gabe Paul. The Chicago Cubs weren't trying out new talent. "We still have a season to finish, and we'd like to finish fifth," said GM John Holland. The Cub veterans lost five out of seven. The St. Louis Cardinals' young pitchers—Bob Miller, Ernie Broglio, Bob Gibson—continued to look impressive, although they weren't winning too often. But neither was anyone else on the Cardinal staff. The Philadelphia Phillies reached a new low when they were shut out on successive days by the Dodgers but then rose to momentary glory when Roberts shut out the Giants 1-0.
Standings: SF 80-62, LA 78-64, Mil 78-64, Pitt 73-71, Cin 70-74, Chi 68-74, StL 68-79, Phil 60-84.
The Chicago White Sox suffered a mild scare when everyone stopped hitting all at once. In three straight losses the team batted .118 (a little low, even for the Sox) and went through 29 consecutive innings without scoring a run. But it didn't matter too much since the Cleveland Indians, who had rolled up six straight and 15 out of 20 (the five losses were all to Chicago), dropped two in a row at the same time. Then against the Yanks, Cleveland scored one run in 20 innings, lost two more. In case anyone cares any more, the New York Yankees were eliminated from the pennant race last week. With that out of the way, the also-ran Yankees got championship pitching from Ditmar, Terry, Maas, Turley and Rookie Jim Coates, plus old-style Yankee hitting. The Yankees, discovering that third place can be quite a desirable goal, ran off five out of six games. The Detroit Tigers, who have the personnel to finish third, played as if they didn't really care to. In two games against the Indians, the Tigers went into the ninth inning leading 14-11 and 5-3. They blew both of them, which takes some doing. Angered by reports that his players were more interested in the upcoming football season and next year's salaries, Manager Dykes snarled, after the Tigers won their next game, "Did we play like a team that wasn't trying?" The Baltimore Orioles, who do care very much about third place, got marvelous pitching from oldtimer Hoyt Wilhelm and a pair of 20-year-olds, Jack Fisher and Jerry Walker. Wilhelm started the string with a three-hit win over the Indians. The next night, in a double-header,-Fisher held the White Sox scoreless on three hits and Walker followed with a memorable 16-inning, 1-0 shutout. Twenty-two-year-old Brooks Robinson, the acrobatic third baseman, won that game for his roommate with a clutch hit. Since opening up his stance a bit Robby has, batted .340 over the past few weeks. The Boston Red Sox got some encouragement for next year when big rookie righthander Jerry Casale won his third in a row and his 11th victory of the season. The Kansas City Athletics finally won a game after 13 straight losses. With the kind of pitching the A's have been getting, there's little hope that they'll win many more this year. The Washington Senators had a little late-season fun with back-to-back wins over the White Sox and Indians. Pedro Ramos, who has given up 30 home runs (third highest total in the majors), hit one himself against the Indians. Said Pedro: "For a change, I no give up home run. I get one. Grant threw me same kind of pitch I throw when other teams get homers—a fast ball."
Standings: Chi 89-55, Clev 83-60, NY 73-70, Det 71-72, Balt 69-74, Bos 66-77, KC 62-80, Wash 59-84.
Boxed statistics through Saturday, September 12
SURGING Braves and Dodgers were propelled by hard hitting of Joe Adcock (11 hits, 7 RBIs) and Wally Moon (4 HRs).