On July 5 both BALTIMORE (6-2) and Dave McNally seemed doomed to a second consecutive season of frustration. McNally stood only 8-8 when Pitching Coach George Bamberger took him aside at the All-Star break. "You need a new weapon," Bamberger said, and then promptly proceeded to teach McNally a wicked slider thrown deceivingly like a curveball. The result has been seven straight McNally victories, a streak that includes just 34 hits and eight runs allowed in 66 1/3 innings. With McNally, Jim Hardin and Gene Brabender all tossing shutouts, the Orioles continued to nip at DETROIT'S (7-1) lead. Home runs kept the Tigers rolling. Dave Campbell, a 26-year-old rookie battling a 102° fever, clouted one for his first major league hit. Bill Freehan hit two in one game, and Norm Cash won a game with a four-bagger—the 20th time the Tigers had won in their final at bat. With its usual attack, BOSTON (5-3) continued its surge in the standings, as Carl Yastrzemski drew his 92nd walk, and Ken Harrelson belted two more homers. At OAKLAND (5-2), superstition was the catalyst for John Odom. "I've had trouble winning my 10th game," Odom declared, "so I'll change uniforms just this once." He switched from No. 13 to No. 10, and the result, naturally, was a one-hitter. Twelve errors plagued WASHINGTON (3-5), which received a lift from Ken McMullen's three homers and Joe Coleman's four-hit shutout. Time was simply not on NEW YORK'S (1-6) side The Yankees played a total of nine hours and 40 minutes in three games, faced 15 pitchers and lost each time. MINNESOTA (4-3) still claimed three batters among the league's Top 10 but remained mired in the second five. Lack of hitting destroyed CALIFORNIA (3-4), CLEVELAND (3-5) and CHICAGO (1-7). The Angels were shut out three times. The Indians batted .206, scored eight runs in 62 innings and broke a losing streak only after Luis Tiant sprayed the bat rack with perfume. The White Sox' .187 average and 1.1 runs per game meant business as usual in ninth place.
Standings: Det 74-42, Balt 66-48, Clev 63-56, Bos 62-54, Oak 60-55, Minn 54-59, NY 51-60, Cal 53-63, Chi 48-65, Wash 42-71
Dispelling rumors that all fight was gone from the National League, NEW YORK (3-5) finally provided some fireworks—on an airplane flight. Don Cardwell, 32, objected rather vociferously to the multicolored love beads adorning the neck of Ron Swoboda, 24, and the generation gap suddenly loomed as important as the standings gap. Phil Linz, who made $10,000 from harmonica endorsements after a somewhat similar 1964 incident, suggested, "The Ron Swoboda Beads Corporation could make some money. I'll buy them from him." Alas, Mets' Manager Gil Hodges called a clubhouse meeting and announced: no beads on the road. ST. LOUIS (5-2) had its own airplane troubles, when silverware came up lacking on one flight and players had to eat their meals with one plastic spoon apiece. On the field, though, the Cards still had silver spoons in their mouths (page 18). Shortstop Roberto Pena was claiming afterward that he had committed an error on a fourth-inning grounder, but the official scorer ruled otherwise and PHILADELPHIA'S (3-4) Rick Wise had to settle for a one-hit victory. The presence of one underdog seemed to inspire another at HOUSTON (5-3). Senator Eugene McCarthy dropped by around the eighth inning of a game in which the Astros were trailing 1-0. Jim Wynn lined a game-winning double in the ninth, and the next day the Astros routed the Pirates with 16 runs and 19 hits. Bob Bolin salvaged the week for SAN FRANCISCO (5-3), firing a four-hitter for his second straight shutout. Dreary LOS ANGELES (4-3) drew only 15,000 fans—less than its season-ticket sale—to one game. While the rest of the pitchers slumped, Bill Hands perked up CHICAGO (4-3) with a three-hitter, his 13th victory. Pitcher Milt Pappas' 15th career homer, which helped beat the Cubs, was the only highlight for ATLANTA (3-4). PITTSBURGH (3-5) suffered a serious loss when Matty Alou, the league's top hitter, was struck in the face by his own foul ball and had to be carried off the field. Though Alex Johnson hit .357, four sore-armed pitchers were a source of woe for CINCINNATI (2-5).
Standings: StL 76-41, Chi 62-55, SF 60-56, Atl 60-57, Cin 57-55, Pitt 56-61, Phil 53-61, LA 53-64, NY 54-66, Hou 51-66