Wes Westrum of the Mets didn't gamble soon enough during the week, and Billy Hitchcock of the Braves gambled too often. But First Baseman Wes Parker's risky move kept LOS ANGELES (5-1) in the pennant brawl. Parker, who had been benched after Dick Stuart joined the club, made his gamble a bold one, going to General Manager Buzzie Bavasi and telling him flat out. "If the Dodgers want to win the pennant again, I've got to play." Bavasi and Manager Walter Alston discussed the matter and, after he returned to the lineup, Parker saved one game with his fielding and set up two other wins with a triple and a homer. Phil Regan won twice in relief, giving him 11 straight wins and a 12-1 record overall. Hitchcock gambled by twice walking Willie McCovey of the Giants to get at Jim Hart, who beat ATLANTA (3-3) with an RBI single and three-run homer. Westrum stood pat too long with NEW YORK (1-6) Pitcher Bill Hepler, letting him "throw one more pitch" before bringing in Ralph Terry. Hepler's one pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth was a wild one, and it gave CHICAGO (3-5) a 3-2 win. A day earlier the Cubs also had the bases full in the ninth and won that game on Randy Hundley's suicide squeeze. Finding that some people regarded their Black Maxer routines as distasteful, PITTSBURGH (4-4) players went underground, barring the press from future demonstrations. The Pirates twice had 17 hits in one game, and in another they had 13. In their first 130 games they had come through with 10 or more hits 70 times. After defeating the Pirates, Jim Bunning of PHILADELPHIA (2-6) said, "I enjoy beating them because I enjoy beating Harry Walker [page 14]. He thinks he wrote the book on hitting." None of the Phillies had much to say, however, after losing a day-night doubleheader to CINCINNATI (5-2). The Reds, who won 14-7 and 8-7, had 32 hits that day, six each by Pete Rose. Vada Pinson and Deron Johnson, who among them had a dozen RBIs. A .354 hitting splurge by Bob Aspromonte, who won three games in a row with a pair of singles, then a triple and finally a grand-slam homer, helped HOUSTON (5-2) take five straight. Dal Maxvill of ST. LOUIS (4-3) admitted that he had spent the day avoiding Coach Dick Sisler because he was embarrassed that he hadn't been able to follow Sisler's orders not to pull the ball. That night, however, Maxvill stopped pulling, went 3 for 3 and drove in two runs in a 3-0 win. Manager Herman Franks of SAN FRANCISCO (3-3) wanted to know if Juan Marichal, out for five days with a bad ankle, could pitch. Marichal, anxious to disprove talk that he is a hothouse plant who wilts under the least pain, said sure. He went out, beat the Reds 7-3 and showed his durability by refusing even to remove his shoe after being hit by a line drive on what used to be his good ankle. Four days later he shook off the effects of a baseline collision and stymied the Dodgers 4-2 for his 19th win.
Standings: SF 76-54, Pitt 76-54, LA 74-54, Phil 69-63, StL 67-63, Cin 65-65, Atl 62-66, Hou 60-70, NY 56-75, Chi 44-85
Baltimore (2-4) Pitcher Steve Barber went on the disabled list. Brooks Robinson still wasn't hitting (.247 since the All-Star Game). Boog Powell, horsing around at a poolside team party, fell and cut his forehead. But Paul Blair and Russ Snyder, two of the lesser Orioles, came through with game-winning hits; Vic Roznovsky, the least of the Orioles, and the ailing Powell tied a league record with consecutive pinch homers, and collapse seemed far away. CHICAGO (3-4) could trace its worst week since early July to its .151 hitting. Joe Foy of BOSTON (4-3) hit a two-run homer with two out in the ninth to edge the A's 8-6, then came up with a two-run double and a single to knock off the Orioles twice. Ed Kirkpatrick of CALIFORNIA (5-1) gave credit to his wife for his home run against the Yankees. Seems she told him over the phone that from what she could see on TV he wasn't crouching the way he used to up at the plate. The next night, getting down in his very best crouch, Kirkpatrick broke up a scoreless game with a two-run homer in the ninth. After Bert Campaneris of KANSAS CITY (3-4) was hurt for the third time this season by an umpire stepping on his hand with his spike shoes, owner Charlie Finley spoke up. His proposal, which is almost too logical to be acceptable to league officials: have umps wear rubber cleats. CLEVELAND (2-4) dropped four in a row by a total of five runs. Conversely WASHINGTON (5-1) took five straight by a total of six runs. Jim Kaat (below) kept MINNESOTA (3-4) in third place by shutting out the Senators and White Sox. Venerable Mickey Mantle of NEW YORK (3-3), at bat for the first time since being hurt 12 days earlier, overcame the Tigers 6-5 with a ninth-inning homer. Steve Whitaker, the newest Yankee, had two doubles, a triple and three homers, one a grand slam. Denny McLain of DETROIT (2-4), whose control had been so bad the week before that he tossed his glove into the stands when he was aiming it at the dugout, last week threw it again. This time, he aimed his glove high in the air in exultation over an 8-0 shutout. And this time he didn't miss his target.
Standings: Balt 82-47, Det 69-59, Minn 69-63, Clev 68-63, Chi 68-64, Cal 66-64, Wash 61-73, NY 59-72, KC 57-75, Bos 58-77
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
When Left-hander Jim Kaat of the Twins held the White Sox to just three singles and beat them 1-0 last week, he became the first 20-game winner in the American League this season. Until then, few people had paid much attention to Kaat. Nobody has ever paid much attention to him, something that was evident after the second game of last year's World Series when most of the talk centered around losing Pitcher Sandy Koufax rather than around winning Pitcher Kaat, who had given only seven singles in a 5-1 victory. In fact, in the fifth inning of Kaat's 20th win, Owner Calvin Griffith of the Twins left to catch a plane. Anonymity comes easily to Kaat. Hardly anyone recalls that he won 18 games in 1962, 17 in 1964 and 18 again last season. Or that now, at the age of 27, he has amassed 93 big league wins. One of the few times anyone has noticed Kaat's pitching was years ago when his father caught him ducking out on lawn-mowing chores to play ball. "You can't make a living playing ball," said the elder Kaat. "You have to learn to work." Jim played ball, but he compromised by becoming a hard-working ballplayer. He worked to overcome a bad habit he had of pitching across his body; he worked hard on his control; he worked to develop a pitch he calls his "slurve," which is part slider, part curve. Now, with a 20-victory season, 24‚Öî consecutive scoreless innings and a 2.78 ERA, maybe people will finally begin to notice Jim Kaat.