Erratic pitching cost the Chicago White Sox the lead. The relievers faltered three times, and veteran Billy Pierce emerged as the team's stopper. Manager Al Lopez seemed unconcerned over Early Wynn's repeated failures. "Early's tremendous pride alone is worth five or six victories," said Lopez. "He can't stand to lose, and he won't." True to Al's word, Wynn five-hit the Indians on Sunday for his first victory. Belying all predictions, the Baltimore Orioles continued to get strong hitting (most runs in the league) and weak pitching (worst ERA in the league). But hitters and pitchers got together for three wins over the Red Sox, and the team jumped into a first-place tie. Valmy Thomas, purchased from the Phils to catch fluttery Hoyt Wilhelm, was a quick casualty: he entered the bullpen with Wilhelm, emerged 10 minutes later with an injured finger. The New York Yankees lacked punch. Mickey Mantle, batting second in the order, had two hits, one RBI. Commented Manager Stengel: "Mickey ain't hitting a dime's worth, so it doesn't matter where he bats." One bright spot was Bob Turley. Settling on a half wind-up, Turley showed a live fast ball, improved control in two relief appearances. The Cleveland Indians got more good pitching from Rookie Dick Stigman and husky Gary Bell. Shaky under pressure last year, Bell—according to Manager Gordon—is now "loose and relaxed in a jam. He's learned how to wrap up a victory." Surprise slugger Jim Piersall hit three homers, drove in seven runs. Pete Runnels' hot bat helped keep the Boston Bed Sox close to the top. Shrugging off a cold, Runnels took over the batting lead, beat the White Sox with a ninth-inning single. Moving in spurts, the Detroit Tigers halted their losing streak at 10 straight and won four one-run games in a row (three by home runs). Don Mossi and Frank Lary turned in low-hit shutouts, and Hank Aguirre and Dave Sisler each beat the A's in relief. The Washington Senators played fitfully, and Manager Lavagetto got impatient. He benched Rookies Don Mincher and Dan Dobbek, hoped for an early return of injured hero Harmon Killebrew. Camilo Pascual won twice, yielding seven hits and striking out 22. The Kansas City Athletics staggered again, and, back home, the natives became restless: of the nine road games televised to K.C. the A's have failed to win one.
Standings: Chi 14-10, Balt 14-10, NY 12-9, Clev 13-10, Bos 10-10, Det 9-12, Wash 9-14, KC 9-15.
The San Francisco Giants played one heart-stopper after another, lost only one. The pitchers delivered four shutouts, strung together 35 scoreless innings, lowered the team ERA to a striking 2.50. But the bats were ominously muffled: 10 earned runs, 36 hits in six games. Threatened with quick eclipse, the Pittsburgh Pirates staged a succession of late-inning rallies to stay hard on the Giants' heels. Three-time loser Roy Face won twice, and .230 hitter Bill Mazeroski totaled three homers, seven RBIs. The Milwaukee Braves hit 13 home runs in five games but won only two of them as the pitching gave way at crucial moments. Wes Covington, back in left field for a while, hit two of the homers and drove in six runs. The Cincinnati Reds made it nine in a row (including five complete games) before losing to the Phils. Jim O'Toole won his second straight shutout, shaved his ERA to 2.02. The Los Angeles Dodgers' pitching improved but the hitting didn't, and Manager Alston began fiddling with the roster as well as the lineup. Up from Spokane came legendary Frank Howard, and onto the disabled list went aging Carl Furillo. Alston returned Gil Hodges to first base but benched John Roseboro, the club's leading RBI man. Slogging back from six straight postponements, the Chicago Cubs came up with two well-pitched games and a newsy trade. When Tony Taylor refused to play third, Manager Boudreau sent him to the Phils with Cal Neeman, for Ed Bouchee and Don Cardwell. Cardwell responded with a no-hitter. Understandably desperate, St. Louis Cardinals' Manager Solly Hemus shuttled Alex Grammas and Daryl Spencer between second and short, cleared the bench of substitutes, even used untouchable reliever Lindy McDaniel as a starter. When McDaniel got pounded and the losing streak reached six, Hemus ripped two phones off the dugout wall but stewed in silence as the club lost two more and sank to seventh. The Philadelphia Phillies wasted topflight pitching (seven runs in four losses) and hit bottom.
Standings: SF 19-8, Pitts 18-10, Mil 12-10, Cin 14-13, LA 12-16, Chi 9-14, StL 10-16, Phil 11-18
Boxed statistics through Saturday, May 14
FLASHY KIDS Tony Curry, Ron Hansen ranked among top batters. Phils' Curry reached .380 and Orioles' Hansen .363.