The National League pennant race worked itself into its annual, inconsistent knot. At the beginning of the week, PITTSBURGH (3-5) had everything—the league lead, four games against the second-division Braves while the Dodgers and Giants were cutting each other up in Los Angeles, a proved ability to rally for wins in the late innings, a seemingly endless supply of stoppers in the bullpen. But the Pirates lost three of four to the resurgent Braves (one on a three-run homer by Joe Torre in the eighth after Henry Aaron had been walked deliberately) and two of three to the Cardinals (one when the Cards scored four runs in the ninth). The bullpen was worked over for 33 hits and 14 runs in 29 1/3 innings, and the Pirates fell to second, SAN FRANCISCO (4-4) started off the week by winning three out of four. They beat the Dodgers once on Ray Sadecki's startling three-hit shutout and again when Willie Mays scored all the way from first on a single in the 12th inning. Morale high, the Giants returned home with 20-game winners Gaylord Perry and Juan Marichal ready to face the 10th-place Cubs. So the Cubs thumped Perry, racked up Marichal, beat the Giants three out of four and dropped them into third place. With all four regular starters hurt in successive games and with those two losses to the Giants still stinging, LOS ANGELES (6-2, see page 28) seemed about to drop out of the race. But Claude Osteen found that his injury forced him to shorten his step, which was all to the good, since Claude had been overstriding without realizing it. He pitched better than he had in two months and shut out the Astros 7-0. Don Drysdale, trick knee and all, followed with 8 1/3 scoreless innings against the Astros and, utilizing a bit of relief pitching from Phil Regan, the Dodgers won 1-0 in 10 innings. Sandy Koufax, shaking the ice from his elbow, turned in a third straight shutout. Joe Moeller, Bob Miller and Regan combined to make it four in a row, and the Dodgers took first place away from the Pirates. With the top three clubs backing and filling, the time seemed ripe for PHILADELPHIA (4-3) to move, but the Phillies squandered the chance, dropping two to the Cubs and losing 2-1 to the Reds on an unearned run. ATLANTA (7-1), with Joe Torre and Rico Carty supplying the power, played the best ball. Since Billy Hitchcock took over as manager, the Braves were 22-11. CHICAGO (5-3) had the most fun, upending the Phils and the Giants and hitting like the Cubs of the 1930s. Adolfo Phillips hit .375 for the week and Glenn Beckert hit .361, extending his hitting streak to 20 games and raising his season's batting average to .295. ST. LOUIS (4-4), echoing the up-and-down play of the contenders, was so-so against the eighth-place Astros, ferocious against the first-place Pirates. Ed Spiezio, starting for only the second time this season, had a double and a single Friday and drove in the winning run against the Pirates Saturday. Leo Cardenas of CINCINNATI (3-4) hit three homers, but the Reds' pitching was spotty. HOUSTON (2-7) Manager Grady Hatton complained, "We've been hitting defensively. I've begged those guys to swing that bat, but the more I beg the worse they get." Shaggy John Bateman, who went into a hitting slump last month after Hatton prevailed upon him to get his hair cut, got 10 hits and five RBI's in a three-day rampage against the Cardinals, but when the Astros met the Dodgers they reverted to form and went 37 innings without scoring. NEW YORK (1-6) had only one bright spot in a dismal week—Pitcher Dennis Ribant beat the Reds 3-2 for his 11th victory. A tip from Mets' President George Weiss turned Ribant into a winner. George said to give the youngster an extra day's rest between starts, and since then Ribant has been one of the most effective starters in the league.
Standings: LA 83-59, Pitt 83-61, SF 82-62, Phil 78-67, StL 74-70, Atl 74-70, Cin 71-72, Hou 63-84, NY 60-84, Chi 52-91
With the pennant race a dead issue, it is the time of the season when many of next year's rookies come up to the majors for a quick review. For NEW YORK (3-5) last week, this chance to get a glimpse of what lies ahead was especially important—and productive. Hope for the future came from Stanley Bahnsen, who saved a 2-1 win with four quick strikeouts in two innings, and from Steve Whitaker, who hit three home runs. And John Miller homered in his first big-league at bat. Such performances extricated the Yankees from last place (it was the first time they had been in the cellar this late in the season since 1913). CHICAGO (4-3) got two wins from Bruce Howard, 23, and another from rookie Fred Klages, 22, but the Sox were not too proud to let Hoyt Wilhelm, 43, win one, too. It was an exasperating week for Manager Gil Hodges of WASHINGTON (2-6). His team went 34 innings without scoring (the Senators lost two straight 1-0 games to the White Sox), and Hodges himself was thrown out of a game for the first time in his 24-year career. Frank Howard also came up with a first—his first stolen base in two years as an American Leaguer. Earl Wilson (below) and Denny McLain each won for the 18th time, but DETROIT (4-4) couldn't pick up ground on BALTIMORE (5-3), which followed up a six-game winning streak with three losses. Steve Barber, the ace of the Oriole staff when healthy, tested his sore arm on the sidelines and found it still ailing. MINNESOTA (6-1) won five in a row, including 6-1, 7-2, and 11-6 victories over the Orioles, which moved the Twins into second place. Tony Oliva ended his slump with a 16-for-31 spurt and regained the batting lead. Harmon Killebrew had four homers and 13 hits in 27 ABs. ("I know a Baltimore player will win the MVP," said Manager Sam Mele, "but Harmon gets my vote.") Jim Kaat beat the Yankees and Orioles, completing his cycle of having defeated each team at least once this season. Rich Rollins went to the bullpen to practice his swing, then came through with a pinch single that led to a 6-4 win against the White Sox. It also left Rollins with a .400 average as a pinch hitter. Bill Davis, 6 feet 7 and fresh up from Portland, gave CLEVELAND (3-5) an 8-7 win over the Angels with a two-out, two-run homer in the 10th, but CALIFORNIA (3-4) wrested fifth place from the Indians by winning the next two games 9-2 and 8-2. Pete Runnels filled in as BOSTON (3-6) manager after Billy Herman was fired. There was no change on the playing field, however. The Red Sox lost three in a row and, after one day in ninth place, dropped back into the basement. Rookie Jim Nash of KANSAS CITY (6-2) was given a few days off so he wouldn't have to disrupt marriage plans made early in the year, before the Athletics brought him up from the minors. Four days and 1,800 miles of driving later, Nash was back in uniform. The next day he beat the Angels with a five-hitter and later in the week, with help from Jack Aker, shut out the Tigers for his 11th win in 12 decisions.
Standings: Balt 89-54, Minn 80-65, Det 79-65, Chi 76-70, Cal 72-71, Clev 73-73, KC 66-80, NY 65-81, Wash 64-84, Bos 64-85
DETROIT'S EARL WILSON
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
When Earl Wilson was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Detroit Tigers in June, he reported to his new club within hours, having caught the fastest transportation available to Detroit. It was almost as if this quiet, 30-year-old bachelor couldn't wait. Wilson had pitched a 2-0 no-hitter for Boston in 1962 but—"Let's face it," Red Sox Pitching Coach Sal Maglie said, "Earl is just another .500 pitcher." In Detroit, Wilson replied, "I figure that's a compliment. While I was there the team never played .500 ball." With the Tigers, Wilson developed into the hottest right-handed pitcher in the league; he won 13 games against five defeats and had a nine-game winning streak, culminating in a three-hit shutout over Washington last week. His overall record for the season climbed to 18-10 and his earned run average is now down to 3.16. Wilson started in Class D baseball as a catcher for Bisbee-Douglas in the Texas-Arizona League. He mashed up his left hand in a home-plate collision but, rather than be out of action, he spent his convalescence pitching, and he has been a pitcher ever since. A big man (6 feet 4, 220 pounds), he helps himself considerably with his hitting. He hit a home run in his no-hit game, and he has hit seven homers this season, only two short of Wes Ferrell's 35-year-old major league record for a pitcher. During one stretch this season he hit four home runs in 15 at bats, and he had a pinch-hit home run that beat the Orioles.