The smooth-sailing Pittsburgh Pirates unwrapped a shrewd new gimmick—the base-hit bunt. Tied 3-3 in the eighth, they beat out three successive bunts, rattled the Phils' Robin Roberts so much he walked Roberto Clemente on four straight pitches to force in the winning run. The Milwaukee Braves got their best pitching of the season. Bob Buhl gave up five hits, Juan Pizarro and Warren Spahn four each, and Lou Burdette—in the best performance of all—none. Next time out, though, Pizarro was bombed, leaving Manager Dressen with the same old problem: how to find a winner outside his Big Three starters. Hank Aaron picked up his batting a bit (to .289) but admitted his year-long sag was troublesome. "It's been an awful strain," said Hank. "After all, I get paid to hit." Poor hitting (one 2-0 and two 1-0 losses) and ailing pitchers (Don Drysdale and Stan Williams) blunted the Los Angeles Dodgers' pennant drive. It took a ninth-inning double by woefully weak (.184) Gil Hodges to avert another 1-0 defeat. Seven defeats in eight games burst the St. Louis Cardinals' bubble and plunked them into fourth place. The San Francisco Giants won four straight, and back home a restaurant hoisted a "Welcome World Series" sign. Next day Chicago clobbered the Giants, leaving them 15 games away from the Series, 4½ from the first division. Manager Sheehan finally decided on a few regulars, put Felipe Alou and Willie Kirk-land in the outfield, Orlando Cepeda at first, Willie McCovey on the bench. The brawling Cincinnati Reds lost a battle but won the war. Frank Robinson slid hard into Eddie Mathews, allegedly grabbed his arm. Mathews countered with a crushing right to the eye and both left the game. Robinson returned in the second game to smack a homer and double, rob his nemesis of an extra-base hit. The Chicago Cubs won three games, again crept ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies. Ernie Banks's homer took one game for the Cubs, George Altman's five RBIs another. The Phils failed to hit (five hits in two losses to Milwaukee), negating fine pitching by Roberts and Gene Conley.
Standings: Pitt 73-45, Mil 65-50, StL 65-53, LA 62-52, SF 57-57, Cin 54-65, Chi 45-70, Phil 45-74
The New York Yankees' shaky front-line pitching looked somewhat improved. Art Ditmar five-hit the Orioles, Ralph Terry survived an inning (in previous games 19 of 24 batters had reached base against him) and Whitey Ford, offering to pitch with two days' rest, threw his second three-hit shutout in a row. Most New York papers spoke glowingly of Ford's selfless devotion to The Cause, but the Herald Tribune's Harold Rosenthal was skeptical. Realistically speaking, said Rosenthal, "his record was 8-7, and what do we talk about at contract time?" The Chicago White Sox dropped three out of four and fell back to second. "We lost those games through mechanical and mental blunders," said an angry Al Lopez. "There just isn't any aggressive leadership, no take-charge guy this year. If we'd played good ball like we did last year, we'd be at least 10 games in front right now." The Baltimore Orioles went into a small slide. They lost two squeakers to the Yanks, gleaned only seven runs from five homers and four doubles against the Senators. Mountainous molehills surrounded the Cleveland Indians. Rocky Colavito's Cleveland fan club finally gave up its ghost ("But I'm joining another Rocky club," sniffed the teen-age president. "I'll always be for Rocky...always"). GM Frank Lane brushed off sullen suggestions that he quit the Indians, started totting up his nickel-a-head bonus, which began when home attendance passed 800,000. Sloppy shortstopping almost kept the Washington Senators out of the first division. One out away from victory over the Yanks, Jose Valdivielso flubbed a grounder, then threw wild on a relay to open the way to five unearned runs. The Senators lost that game but won two others, increased their season edge to 10-7 over the leaders. The Detroit Tigers kicked off their annual salary drive with six wins in a row. Showing the most improvement were slumping stars Al Kaline and Rocky Colavito, who are heading for a sizable cut next winter. But no one was fooled, least of all President Bill DeWitt. The Boston Red Sox management, casting about for long-term crowd attractions (Williams can't last much longer), tried filling the park with organ music, began polling patrons on contemplated changes for next season. As franchise discussions reached the serious stage, the Kansas City-Athletics cast an increasingly negative vote—10 losses in a row, 17 out of 20.
Standings: NY 67-47, Chi 68-51, Balt 67-52, Wash 59-59, Clev 56-58, Det 56-60, Bos 50-65, KC 42-73
Boxed statistics through Saturday, August 20
FRESH FACES, Bob Bruce and Art Mahaffey stirred hopes of Tigers and Phils. Each recorded his first two big league victories.