An infection was spreading in Pittsburgh. It all began with Vernon Law, who did not allow a walk and won twice. Similar success spread to Harvey Haddix, who pitched his first complete game since last August. Also affected were Roberto Clemente (.407 BA for the week), Dick Groat (.414) and Smoky Burgess (.526). Coupled with good relief pitching, these performances gave the Pirates seven straight wins. Relievers Jack Lamabe, ElRoy Face and Diomedes Olivo were superb. Their combined ERA for 46 appearances this year was 1.48, and Manager Danny Murtaugh was so happy that even his chewing tobacco tasted better. Birdie Tebbetts, the Milwaukee manager, was ready to chew nails and spit carpet tacks. Then his Braves won five of eight and things looked brighter. Bob Shaw, who can do 10 one-hand push-ups, showed he could pitch as well. He beat the Cardinals twice. Houston played as if determined to lose all its remaining games. Thirteen errors led to 14 unearned runs. Bright spots: Carl Warwick hit .417 and Dave Giusti gave up just three hits in a nine-inning relief job. "I feel as though I'm sitting on top of the world," Giusti said after his first major league win. New York fans seemed to thrive on adversity, showing up in vast numbers to see the Mets lose eight times last week and 14 in a row. Gil Hodges hit three homers, then had to rest because of a freak spring training injury. "I hurt my left knee falling asleep on a bus," Hodges explained. It seemed as though the Philadelphia Phillies had fallen asleep right on the field. They had lost 17 of 20 before Art Mahaffey beat the Giants 2-1 and 22-year-old Dennis Bennett shut out the Dodgers. Manager Gene Mauch was not ashamed to take a few losses lying down—in a hospital. Chicago players might as wel1 have been hospitalized, except for Ernie Banks, who wore two-pound weights on his wrists during batting practice and hit three home runs in one game. St. Louis batters seemed to have the weights attached to their bats. They hit only .237, had no homers and just four doubles and one triple. Pitching, supposedly the team's forte, was spotty. Larry Jackson had completed only two of 10 starts since opening day; Ray Sadecki's 6.53 ERA was the worst in the NL; and Ernie Broglio had not finished any of his seven starts. About the only one to come through in the clutch was Red Schoendienst, who won a pregame cow-milking contest. For Los Angeles everything came up milk and honey and wins, 13 of them in succession, to tie the longest Dodger streak ever. Only once in some 1,570 major league at bats had Maury Wills hit a homer, but last week he got two in one game. He hit one left-handed, the other right-handed. For good measure, the second place Dodgers beat Spokane 10-4 in an exhibition game. Cincinnati's Frank Robinson (nine RBIs, .467 BA) and Marty Keough (.500), who filled in for the injured Vada Pinson, hit as though they were facing Triple-A pitchers, too. Robinson had a .365 BA for the month of May. This hitting, plus continued fine pitching by Joey Jay, Bob Purkey and even Johnny Klippstein, gave the Reds six wins in seven tries. Despite the Reds' 17 wins in their past 21 games, San Francisco stayed in first place, mainly because of winning three doubleheaders.
"We still need more punch in the outfield," said Baltimore President Lee MacPhail. Instead of more punch in the outfield (Russ Snyder hit .375, the other outfielders batted .195), Jerry Adair suffered a shoulder dislocation and Boog Powell sustained a deep thigh bruise. Brooks Robinson broke two teeth and loosened a third when his bat struck the metal frame of the batting cage, then glanced off and hit him in the face. Chicago had its woes, too, but still climbed to fifth. Juan Pizarro, unable to complete eight starts in a row, was due for an extended rest, said Manager Al Lopez. But after two days off, Pizarro pitched—and went the distance. Early Wynn was awakened by the clanging of pneumatic drills in the street beneath him and by renovation work in the hotel room above him. "You'll understand if I'm a little ornery," Wynn said as he arrived at the park. He sat in the clubhouse and ate pizza pie after shutting out the league-leading Indians on three hits. Cleveland Manager Mel McGaha cut down on his food consumption so he could trim off 10 pounds. His hitters cut down also—on home runs. Thus, the Indians had to rely on good pitching by Jim Perry (two wins) and Pedro Ramos (three-hit shutout). Jerry Kindall began taking guitar lessons. New York Manager Ralph Houk complained of too many banjo hitters. (The Yankees hit .249 last week.) "I nearly put the names in a hat and drew them out to make a batting order," Houk said. Said Los Angeles Manager Bill Rigney, "With our pitching staff it's pretty much a juggling contest." While Rigney juggled, Lee Thomas, Leon Wagner and Billy Moran each drove in seven runs, Ken McBride pitched a four-hitter and the Angels took five of eight. Detroit was intent merely upon playing baseball. The Tigers hit 15 homers and won six of nine. Jim Bunning was not accused by the Orioles of cutting any more baseballs with his belt buckle, but he was even more razor sharp than before and beat them with a three-hitter. Washington's Danny O'Connell credited sharper vision (he finally submitted to wearing glasses) for his .386 hitting surge. The Senators somehow gave up four runs in one inning, although only one ball was hit out of the infield. Boston hitters often did not get the ball beyond the infield, but they did not play the Senators, so they lost five times. Earl Wilson, who came within one phone call of being traded not long ago, won two games. John Wyatt (3-3), Jerry Walker (6-2) and Dave Wickersham (6-1) proved a formidable group of starters for Kansas City. All three won, and the Athletics were 5-3 despite the absence of even one home run. Minnesota players hit a few, but the pitchers had to struggle to split eight games.
SURPRISE HITTERS were Dave Nicholson of Orioles, who hit three 400-foot homers, and Don Zimmer, a .352 hitter since trade to Reds.