Hitting (30 runs in three games) flattened the Giants for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and pitching (four runs in two games) stopped the Dodgers, as Pittsburgh opened up a four-game lead. The high-riding Pirates made no late trades. Explained General Manager Joe Brown: "We're sound enough to make it interesting all season long. Changing things now would be dangerous." But one Pirate regular said, "A long relief pitcher would help us." San Francisco Giants' Owner Horace Stoneham, choking on the bile of four straight losses, made the expected move: he fired Manager Bill Rigney. "We were being outhustled," said Stoneham. "I've been thinking about a change for some time." Surprise replacement was Chief Scout Tom Sheehan, 66, who will manage club for "two or three weeks, possibly the rest of the year, possibly next year." Lew Burdette's pitching helped lift the Milwaukee Braves to within a game of second place. Burdette won two complete games, including a 94-pitch shutout over the Cardinals. Manager Dressen clucked happily over the fine work of lefty George Brunet (five hits, 12 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings). Said Dressen: "Brunet throws as hard as any pitcher on our staff, maybe harder." The revived St. Louis Cardinals moved smartly into the first division. Bonus rookie Ray Sadecki, pounded in five previous starts, three-hit Cincinnati for the Cards' first shutout of the season. The Cincinnati Reds, bulging with sluggers, fell into the worst hitting slump in either league. The Reds got just 36 hits in six games, lost them all. So General Manager Gabe Paul packed disappointing rookie Tony Gonzalez (.212) and Lee Walls off to the Phils in exchange for ex-Red Wally Post and Harry Anderson. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who had won four out of five, were quickly curdled by the Pirates, 2-1 and 4-3. Danny McDevitt blew that second game after leading 3-0 with two out and none on in the ninth. Plagued by mental and mechanical errors on the field, the Chicago Cubs almost made a strategic slip as well. They tried to trade away reliever Don Elston, failed, then saw Elston win one game, save another. The Philadelphia Phillies marched relentlessly toward a 100-loss season. Manager Mauch replaced weak-hitting (.164) Shortstop Joe Koppe with hot-prospect Ruben Amaro, shuddered as Amaro managed but one hit in his first 14 at bats.
Standings: Pitt 37-21, SF 34-26, Mil 30-23, StL 29-30, Cin 29-31, LA 27-31, Chi 23-31, Phil 21-37
The New York Yankees went from weird to wonderful and wound up in first place. They glided past the Athletics on six-hitters by Bob Turley and Jim Coates, outsparkled the White Sox again with four straight victories in Chicago. Cletis Boyer, installed at third, fielded neatly and hit two home runs. The Baltimore Orioles rebounded from a losing home stand to beat the Indians and Tigers on the road. Jack Fisher, thriving under Manager Richards' sharp-eyed guidance, pitched his fifth strong game in a row, while Hoyt Wilhelm worked faultlessly as both a starter and reliever. "With pitching like that," observed Detroit Manager Dykes, "you gotta think the Orioles are for real." Infield injuries forced the Cleveland Indians into desperate maneuvers. Manager Gordon moved heavy-handed Outfielder Harvey Kuenn, a one-time plumber at shortstop, to third base, returned aching Second Baseman Johnny Temple to the bench. In another surprise ploy, Gordon began pinch-hitting for slumping slugger Woodie Held. The Detroit Tigers won three tight ball games, which set the ever-optimistic Detroit press and public to dreaming of a pennant. No dreamer, Manager Dykes snapped up Clem Labine to bolster his bullpen, benched fair-haired Al Kaline (.228) after one hit in 26 at bats, no home runs in 22 games. The sagging Chicago White Sox leaned heavily on the superb relief pitching of Gerry Staley. The 39-year-old Staley, who has worked in nearly half of Chicago's games, leads the team in victories, leads the league in ERA. Both Camilo Pascual and Pedro Ramos failed, but the Washington Senators found a new stalwart—muscular young Dan Dobbek. Bidding for a regular outfield job, Dobbek hit three home runs in consecutive at bats. The Kansas City Athletics staved off a fan uprising by not trading top pitcher Bud Daley to the Yanks. Next night, in either appreciation or anger, Daley stopped New York on four hits, as KC beat Whitey Ford for the first time in 14 tries. Unperturbed by the change in managers, Boston Red Sox titan Ted Williams hit his 500th home run, then his 501st. Fleet Willie Tasby, obtained from the Orioles for Gene Stephens, went 6 for 14, took over the leadoff spot.
Standings: NY 33-22, Balt 37-25, Clev 30-25, Det 29-27, Chi 30-29, Wash 25-30, KC 23-35, Bos 21-35
Boxed statistics through Saturday, June 18
SLASHING HITTERS Dick Groat, Roger Maris pressed the batting leaders. Groat had 13 for 28, Maris two HRs, 11 RBIs.