The San Francisco Giants' Willie Mays put on a superb show of speed and savvy in a 4-2 victory over the Phillies. He was on first when Orlando Cepeda got a hit-and-run single to left. Mays flashed past second and toward third as Shortstop Ruben Amaro took the throw from the outfield and made the normal relay to second. Mays, counting on this time-honored sequence of throws, sped past third and scored easily. The Philadelphia Phillies were unable to win in six tries. Robin Roberts, at bat when lumbering Cal Neeman tried to steal second against the Reds, swung at the pitch and missed. There was no play on Neeman at second and, thinking Roberts must have foul-tipped the ball, Neeman got up and started back to first. The crowd's roar alerted him as a throw was finally made to second, and he saved his stolen base by sliding in a second time. The Los Angeles Dodgers led the majors in errors (31 in 23 games), but not all were in the box scores. For example: the Milwaukee Braves trailed 6-5 in the 10th and had Lee Maye on first when the ball was hit back to the mound. A moment's indecision by Shortstop Maury Wills and Second Baseman Charlie Neal about covering second spoiled a forceout. Maye later scored and the Braves won. Although Ernie Banks boosted his average from .224 to .320, the Chicago Cubs gave away too many runs (seven unearned runs in three games) and fell to seventh. Doctors found that Pitcher Vernon Law of the Pittsburgh Pirates had a torn muscle in his right shoulder. A similar injury 10 years ago hampered Law for three seasons. The St. Louis Cardinals finally got some good pitching—from Bob Gibson and Ray Sadecki—and won two of three. Four young pitchers—Ken Hunt (22), Jim Maloney (20), Jim O'Toole (24) and Joey Jay (25)—won as the Cincinnati Reds took eight in a row. Third Baseman Gene Freese, known for bad throws and poor base running, looked like a new player. He fielded flawlessly, started two double plays and scored from second when Philadelphia's Ruben Amaro made a diving stop of an infield hit. Newcomers Don Blasingame and Bob Schmidt did not hit well (.167 collectively), but Gordy Coleman (.438) and Vada Pinson (.421) did. Frank Robinson came up with a rare maneuver when he stole third as Bob Friend of the Pirates intentionally walked Freese.
If the Los Angeles Angels keep up their home run pace, they will finish with 235, a major league record. If they continue their losing ways, they will finish 67½ games out of first place, also a record. The Angels hit 11 homers but won just two of five games. They trailed the Orioles 6-4, with two out in the bottom of the ninth, when Ted Kluszewski hit one out of the park, Ken Hunt singled and Earl Averill hit a game-winning home run. Hoyt Wilhelm, winning pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles' two wins in three games against the Angels, described Wrigley Field's inadequacies this way: "When the ball is hit, the fence seems to come in to meet it." While most teams relied on the home run, the league-leading Detroit Tigers hit just four, but won six of seven games. In one three-game span they did not hit a homer. Instead, they got two triples, four doubles, 36 singles—and won all three. Even Chico Fernandez (.241 lifetime BA) hit well (.421). After three straight losses, the Boston Red Sox sank to seventh. Cookie Lavagetto (see page 38) fretted as his Minnesota Twins lost three of five. His main worries were the loss of Shortstop Zorro Versalles (he wrenched his back while striking out) and the inability of his pinch hitters (0 for 28). Every Chicago White Sox pitcher saw duty, but to no avail. Chicago lost seven in a row, with the usually dependable reliefers (Turk Lown and Russ Kemmerer once each, and Gerry Staley twice) tagged for losses. Frank Baumann, last year's ERA leader, was the major concern. His ERA went to 6.43. Good relief work by Dave Sisler and a complete game by Ed Hobaugh gave the Washington Senators a split in four games, but they still were unable to win two straight. The Kansas City Athletics did win two consecutive games, beating the Red Sox 7-4 and 9-8. Ten members of the Cleveland Indians were flu victims, but even with a revamped outfield they won two from the White Sox. Then, with most of the regulars back, the Indians lost to the Senators. The New York Yankees went to Los Angeles dreaming of home runs. They got just four in three games, lost twice and slid to second place.
Boxed statistics through Saturday, May 6
NEW UNIFORMS helped Angels' Leon Wagner and Reds' Joey Jay. Wagner hit .370, had four HRs, and Jay pitched one-hitter.