In a four-game split between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers there were 87 hits, including 16 home runs, off 18 pitchers. Seven players were hurt, among them the Dodgers' Duke Snider (broken elbow), Charlie Neal (injured knee) and Norm Sherry (kidney injury). Daryl Spencer and Ken Boyer, who played despite neuritis in his right shoulder, each hit three home runs for the Cardinals, and Wally Moon (see page 9) blasted three for the Dodgers. Leo Durocher spent the last day of his three-day suspension working on his stamp collection, then was given an 80-pound rhubarb pie (see page 28) upon his return. The Pittsburgh Pirates kept pecking out singles (82 of their first 103 hits), got a three-hitter from Bob Friend and won two of three from the Cubs. Manager Alvin Dark of the San Francisco Giants rearranged his lineup after two losses to the Reds. His "defensive team" then nipped the Reds 2-1 as Mike McCormick gave just four hits. Good relief pitching (two runs, six hits in 22 innings) sustained the Cincinnati Reds, but the hitting failed. When Second Baseman Elio Chacon was hurt, Jim Baumer replaced him, struck out six straight times. Eddie Kasko then moved to second, with Leo Cardenas taking his place at shortstop. Vedie Himsl ended his two-week tenure as head coach of the Chicago Cubs, turning the job over to Harry Craft. Under Himsl the Cubs won five, lost six. Charley Dressen fretted about Milwaukee's left field and the weather. Three left fielders had only one hit in 19 at bats. Because of cold, rain and an open date, the Braves played just once in seven days. They trailed 6-2 with two out and the bases loaded in the ninth when Dressen inserted Mel Roach, a right-handed hitter and a fourth left-field candidate, to pinch-hit. With Dick Farrell, a right-hander, pitching for the Phillies, the logical move would have been to use Lee Maye, a left-handed hitter. Dressen's reason: "Roach gets a better piece of the ball." Roach hit a grand slam home run and the Braves won in the 11th. Superb pitching stopped a four-game slide by the Philadelphia Phillies. Frank Sullivan and Art Mahaffey shut out the Cubs in a double-header. Mahaffey had a four-hitter and struck out 17.
The Detroit Tigers rattled out 43 hits, scored 31 runs, won five in a row (boosting their streak to seven) and took over first place. Doing the hitting were Dick Brown (.455), Al Kaline (.417), Jake Wood (.333) and Norm Cash (.300). Baltimore fans considered changing the team slogan from "It can be done in '61" to "Can it be done in '61?" They were encouraged, though, when the Orioles won two of three from the Yankees. There were only two home runs among the Cleveland Indians' first 89 hits this season. The Indians went five games without a homer, lost three of them and slipped to fourth place. Woodie Held revealed that the operation on his back last year—which seems to have been successful—was for a malignant growth. Mickey Mantle did some lusty hitting (five home runs, 11 RBIs, .455 batting average) as the New York Yankees won four of six. His fielding was better than ever. Sportscaster Phil Rizzuto described one spectacular catch by Mantle this way: "Holy cow, his arm must have stretched 20 feet." George Brophy, Minnesota's assistant farm director, smiled about a mistake he made last year. As general manager of the Red Sox' Minneapolis farm team, he released a pitcher named Billy Pleis. Picked up by the Twins (see page 50), Pleis has now won two games, saved another. Shortstop Zorro Versalles' fielding was being compared to that of Luis Aparicio. His hitting (.375) and speed (four stolen bases) have been equally impressive. Bill Veeck, president of the Chicago White Sox, groaned as his team allowed four unearned runs and lost to the Senators. Said Veeck, "It makes you wish you were in some legitimate business—like pushing dope." The Boston Red Sox were involved in five one-run decisions, winning three. The Washington Senators' pitching (2.90 ERA) has been surprisingly effective. After beating the Twins for his second win, Joe McClain had a 2.65 ERA and no walks in 17 innings. Bud Daley beat the Indians 5-2 as the Kansas City Athletics went on what was, for them, a batting rampage. They got eight hits and boosted the team batting average from .173 to .191. It was their lone win in four games. Ted Kluszewski was hitting .333 and Ken Hunt .300, but the rest of the Los Angeles Angels were batting .172. That's why they lost seven straight.
Boxed statistics through Saturday, April 22
GOOD CONTROL gave Washington's Joe McClain his second win, enabled Chicago's relief specialist Don Elston to win one, save another.