A strong bench is a prerequisite for a pennant winner, which is one reason why Milwaukee is not doing as well as expected. The Braves' bench is hitting just .165, and Charley Dressen is unhappy. Johnny Keane of St. Louis and Fred Hutchinson of Cincinnati, though, are pleased with theirs. Since Keane took over the Cardinals six weeks ago, his pinch batters have hit .373. Hutchinson can smile because he has Jerry Lynch. This season Lynch has pinch hit .459 (17 for 37), has 23 RBIs and five homers—one short of the major league record. His AL counterpart is 41-year-old Dave Philley of Baltimore, whose 21st pinch hit last week put him within two of a new major league high. Lynch and Philley, however, are not the only successful practitioners of this art. Last week Gene Green, the regular Washington catcher for much of the year, was benched because of four passed balls in two games. This made him available in a pinch, and he hit a grand slam horns run to beat New York 5-1. That was the 39th pinch homer in the AL, far surpassing the 1953 record of 29. There have been 27 hit in the NL, 15 short of the 1958 high.
The young and the old, the big and the small, they all combined to put Los Angeles (18-3 the past four weeks) in front. Frank Howard, age 25, weight 245, batted .438 as the Dodgers took four in a row. Oldtimer Duke Snider, 34, and Wally Moon, 31, hit .455 and .412, respectively, and 155-pound Maury Wills batted .500. Cincinnati's Frank Robinson virtually stopped hitting (.207 BA) and the Reds lost five of seven. San Francisco's Matty Alou hit .412, had two game-winning homers and took the right-field job away from brother Felipe. Reliever Stu Miller came in against Milwaukee with two out in the ninth and the potential tying and winning runs on base. Junkball-thrower Miller ran the count to 3-2 on Frank Boiling, then so stunned him by throwing his "Hummer," i.e., fast ball, that he struck him out. The highlight of the week came when Milwaukee's Warren Spahn beat Chicago 2-1 for the 300th win of his career, but the Braves still lost three, won two. St. Louis's Bob Gibson, Larry Jackson, Lindy McDaniel and Curt Simmons each won once and Ray Sadecki got two wins to put the Cardinals over .500 for the first time since April. Good pitching by Bob Friend and Vinegar Bend Mizell, who each had a shutout and two wins, got Pittsburgh up to .500. Chicago, meanwhile, rested securely in seventh place after five losses. Worse yet were the Philadelphia Phillies, who set a team record of 15 consecutive defeats. They hit .199 and had a ladylike .357 slugging average, but they did get into the best brawl of the year, with the Pirates. Although unscathed, Philadelphia's Clay Dalrymple was as deeply hurt as anyone. "I had just slid into second with a magnificent hook slide, the best of my career, the peak of the season," Dalrymple said. "I'm lying there expecting cheers, but nobody even noticed."
Twenty-one of 38 games were decided by one run, and New York won three of those. Whitey Ford became the first 20-game winner and, in all, the Yankees were 7-1 and doubled their lead over Detroit to three games. The Tigers continued to rely on Jim Bunning, Don Mossi—who both won twice—and Frank Lary, who got his 16th win. They realized, though, that their chance for the pennant will come in September, when they meet the Yankees seven times. Baltimore met the Athletics five times, got shutouts from Steve Barber (his sixth) and Milt Pappas but lost two of three one-run games. Jackie Brandt hit .429 and came up with a fast-thinking defensive maneuver. A single by Kansas City's Leo Posada got past Center Fielder Brandt, but he went through the motions of fielding the ball and throwing to second base. By the time Posada figured out Brandt's pantomime, Right Fielder Whitey Herzog had retrieved the ball, and it was too late to go to second. Cleveland's Jimmy Piersall also did the unexpected, stealing third in the eighth inning against the Angels. He then scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly. Even more novel was the Indians' scoreboard. Following each Indian home run, flames erupted from the scoreboard, spotlights etched weird patterns in the sky, fireworks exploded, banners waved and trumpets sounded. Chicago's well-equipped scoreboard celebrated just five White Sox homers, but four helped win games. Boston scrambled to within two games of fifth-place Chicago, then fell back by losing twice in Baltimore. That gave the Red Sox an 18-38 road record. After three weeks on the road the Washington Senators came home and Dick Donovan beat the Yankees to snap a seven-game losing streak and move Washington back to seventh place. Ryne Duren's first complete game of his five-year career was a shutout, which ended a five-game losing string and moved Los Angeles up to eighth. And Camilo Pascual's win halted yet a third winless streak—eight games by Minnesota. The Twins played nine straight one-run games and lost seven. Kansas City split six one-run games but dropped three others as the Athletics scored an average of just 1.17 runs in their six defeats.
Boxed statistics through Saturday, August 12
YOUNG AND OLD winners were left-handers Ray Sadecki (20) of Cards, Billy Pierce (34) of White Sox. Both had two complete-game wins.