It has not quite reached that point yet, but if Cal McLish continues pitching as well as he has recently, Philadelphia Manager Gene Mauch may inquire: "Do you feel weak enough to pitch today?" After two losses this year, McLish recalled that he used to have a good sinker when he did not feel so strong. McLish experimented by warming up two days before he was to start a game and the results showed that one of his strongest assets was his weakness. "Now that I don't feel so strong I don't try to throw the ball past the hitter and my control is better," McLish says. It was never better than last week when he walked only one man as he shut out the Giants on five hits and beat the Reds 5-1 with a four-hitter. In his past four games he has allowed an average of 4.2 hits, 1.5 walks and 1.0 runs. As a result, the 37-year-old McLish, who has worn seven major league uniforms since signing with the Dodgers in 1944, finally evened his lifetime major league record at 82-82.
Successive shutout losses to the Mets and Phillies seemed to signal San Francisco's annual slump. No Giant was more glum than Felipe Alou. "When you hit as bad as I am you gotta do something. Jump over the fence, maybe." Instead, he slammed a home run over the fence—his third hit in 40 ABs—and beat the Phillies 6-5. Other homers, by Jose Pagan (until then 0 for 20) and Tom Haller (a grand slam), helped win two more games. Still, the Giants could not pull away from the surging Dodgers, winners of eight in a row going into last weekend's three-game series in San Francisco. But Sandy Koufax, who pitched a no-hitter against the Giants the last time he faced them, did not get by the first inning of the opening game. Orlando Cepeda (.381 for the week) hit a three-run double and Alou a two-run homer in that first inning. A seventh-inning home run by Ed Bailey, his fourth of the week, enabled the Giants to win the second game. Bailey, a .232 hitter last year and a .333 batter so far this season, attributed much of his current success to sleepless winter nights. "I'd lie in bed thinking about pitchers, trying to analyze why I hit some and didn't hit others."
Rich Rollins hit .550, Camilo Pascual had a two-hitter and Minnesota Manager Sam Mele had few complaints about the performance of any of his athletes. But not many of them had lived up to advance billing until Captain Harmon Killebrew came back. Out with a knee injury for most of the season, Killebrew returned May 11. It took him a few games to recover his timing, but as soon as it came, the Twins went. In last place when Killebrew finally connected for a homer, the Twins followed their leader to sweep nine out of 10 games and shoot up to sixth place. Killebrew had 12 RBIs and five home runs, one a grand-slam. "The first time I hit a slam," Killebrew recalled, "they sent me to Charlotte the next day." Do not look for Killebrew at Charlottetown Mall tomorrow, however. Mele was so ecstatic about his star's performance that even though Killebrew was up to only .225, Mele said he thought he would surely hit .300 for the first time this year.
The people of Baltimore, registered 4 to 1 Democrat, turned out their Democratic mayor three weeks ago. Registered maybe 400 to 1 as Oriole fans, they turned out hardly at all last week for the hottest team in baseball; the average attendance was only 8,400 for a first-place team in the midst of winning eight straight games and 13 of 14. Instead, the fans left the pennant-race excitement to the Orioles themselves, who responded in such a way that a couple of guys who are not exactly playful kids—Coach Hank Bauer and Pitcher Stu Miller—chased each other in glee around the locker room with a shaving cream bomb. The populace also missed out on good pitching (2.10 ERA), power hitting (12 HRs) and excellent fielding (only three errors, none by infielders or outfielders). Manager Billy Hitchcock—until recently no more popular than the ousted Democrat—turned strictly GOP: Genius Oriole Pilot. For instance, he actually dared to ask Jim Gentile to sacrifice for the first time in his 11-year career. "I didn't even know the sign," Gentile said. But the bunt worked. If leading the league won't stir the fans from their crab cakes, maybe the excitement of Jim Gentile bunting will.