The Pittsburgh Pirates faced the challenge—the long-awaited decline of Vern Law and Bob Friend—and came through like champs. Plugging the gap were little-known Tom Cheney (five hits, one run in seven innings), well-known Harvey Haddix and Wilmer Mizell. Bob Skinner, master of the clutch hit, won two games with his bat, saved another with his arm. Ragged relief work cost the Milwaukee Braves three games. Among the losers was Don McMahon, the team's star reliever for several seasons. A year ago McMahon had an ERA of 1.70; last week it was 6.57 and his won-lost record was 2-6. Manager Dressen grounded Don for an indefinite spell, told his starters to get ready for bullpen duty. The St. Louis Cardinals made it nine out of 12 and edged into third place. Rising (.300) Stan Musial delivered tide-turning hits against the Giants and lagging (.260) Ken Boyer homered in the ninth to beat the Dodgers. But the solid suit was pitching: strong wins by Ray Sadecki, Ernie Broglio and Larry Jackson, plus two crackling relief victories by Lindy McDaniel. People stopped panning the Los Angeles Dodgers and started talking pennant. There were good reasons: Johnny Podres and Stan Williams gave the Giants no runs, seven hits in two games, and Don Drysdale won his second complete game after six straight defeats. The San Francisco Giants (see page 12) were pitiful. They fumbled in the field, crumbled at the plate and collapsed into the second division. Said an appalled Los Angeles observer: "The Giants look like the sons in a father-son softball game." Squandering their best pitching in ages, the Cincinnati Reds lost five in a row, became a real threat for seventh place. Lone consistent hitter is veteran Wally Post, who has rapped nine homers, batted .325 since rejoining the Reds in mid-June. The mistake-prone Chicago Cubs went seven games without an error, but Manager Boudreau was unimpressed. He ordered workouts during the All-Star break to continue drills he felt had been neglected in spring training. The Philadelphia Phillies played exciting baseball, with the pitchers providing most of the heroics. Gene Conley, who won three games, beat the Braves with a 10th-inning home run, and Dick Farrell topped the Pirates with a 10th-inning single.
Standings: Pitt 49-30, Mil 43-34, LA 41-38, StL 41-39, SF 40 38, Cin 36-42, Phil 34-47, Chi 30-46
The New York Yankees wove a curious pattern. They beat the contending Orioles, then blew five out of five to the far-out Senators and Red Sox. Phenom Jim Coates' 4.13 ERA finally caught up with him, and he lost his first game after winning nine straight. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox met home-and-home, and the White Sox won again: they took five of the six games to move within a shade of second place. Sox' success was due in large measure to the new faces of '60—Roy Sievers, Gene Freese, Minnie Minoso—plus solid hitting (.321) by oft-booed Al Smith. Indians' chief problem was facing the pressure of Chicago's early-inning assaults (in 12 games the White Sox have scored nine times in the first or second inning), which tense up the players, foul up the strategy. "We play the best when we're relaxed and laughing," said Cleveland's Johnny Temple. "But when we play the Sox we just don't have any fun." It was bye bye Birdie for the Baltimore Orioles. The starters couldn't finish, the infielders kicked the ball around and the team fell to fourth. Manager Richards surveyed the shambles, moaned: "This could get worse, much worse, before it gets better." The Detroit Tigers continued to stub their toes on Kansas City (nine losses in 13 games), and Manager Dykes grew peevish. "I just don't get it," rumbled Jimmy. "We've always done better than all right with those Yankee big shots, but KC has been murdering us with the so-called humpty dumpties the Yanks have been fobbing off on them." Superb pitching lifted the Washington Senators to a dizzying tie for fifth place. Don Lee, Chuck Stobbs and Rudy Hernandez (a recast Giant outfield prospect) won in relief, and Rookie Jack Kralick shut out the Red Sox. The slender Kralick has been swallowing $50 worth of nutritional supplements a month, has gained 12 pounds and four victories. The Kansas City Athletics packed Don (0-5) Larsen off to Dallas-Fort Worth. Larsen joined a long list of Yankee hurlers who came to KC and flopped. Only Johnny Kucks remains—with an ERA of 8.34. The arrival of the Yanks kept the Boston Red Sox from passing out of sight. The Sox swept the series, climbed back into the running for seventh place.
Standings: NY 45-30, Clev 43-33, Chi 44-35, Balt 45-38, Det 37-39, Wash 37-39, Bos 30-48, KC 29-48
Boxed statistics through Saturday, July 9
BIG BATS were swung by Reds' Wally Post, Red Sox' Gary Geiger. Post hit three home runs, Geiger went 11 for 29.