Minnesota set off an explosion of home runs last week, and pitchers all over the league felt the tremor. The Twins hit an even dozen, six in one game and six more in four others. Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall and Harmon Killebrew tied a major league record by hitting the back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers against the punchy Athletics. Oliva (.409), Rich Rollins (.391) and Allison (.368) scored a total of 17 runs and drove in 15. Although Twin pitchers gave up more than five runs a game, the team won four of five. Like the Twins, KANSAS CITY hit 12 home runs, but the Athletics' pitchers gave up more than five runs a day. So KC came out with four losses in six tries. The heavy Kansas City hitting began after Batting Coach Babe Dahlgren showed the team his home movies of the A's in batting practice. Film stars Rocky Colavito and Jim Gentile (.444) both homered in three games, Ed Charles batted .458 and Charlie Lau hit the first Athletic home run into Charles O. Finley's Pennant Porch. The WHITE sox, rained out four days in a row, won their only two games as they got strong pitching from rookie Frank Kreutzer and Gary Peters. BALTIMORE played more often but won only once. After the Orioles botched up one play on top of another and finally lost to the Yankees on a passed ball, Manager Hank Bauer lamented, "That was the baddest game I've seen in a long time." Wes Stock got the lone win, his 10th straight in three years. Dick Stuart of BOSTON snatched a win from the Orioles with a score-tying double in the ninth and a grand slam in the 11th. In their other three games, all defeats, the Red Sox scored a total of three runs, LOS ANGELES did not score much either (no homers for the second straight week), yet won three of five, thanks to standout performances by Jim Fregosi (.600) and Fred Newman (six-hit shutout against the Indians). For the first time since the middle of last September the Angels won two straight games, with Don Lee and Bob Lee getting the wins. Then the Angels ran out of Lees. DETROIT (2-3) simply ran out of traded players. Larry Sherry, late of the Dodgers, won in relief when Don Demeter, a former Phil, homered in the 10th. Dave Wickersham, an ex-Athletic, shut out the Red Sox for the other win. WASHINGTON used potent reserves to split six games. John Kennedy and Bill Skowron came off the bench to deliver hits that beat the Yankees. Don Zimmer hit two homers and Pitchers Bennie Daniels and Steve Ridzik were winners. Only by the grace of some effective bunts (in a 5-4 win over the Orioles) and a two-hit shutout by Whitey Ford (against the Senators) did NEW YORK (2-1) keep from losing. After two losses, CLEVELAND beat the Twins and then, with a 13th-inning rally, disposed of the Orioles to retain its tenuous grip on first place.
With a pitching staff held together by penicillin and a prayer, LOS ANGELES Manager Walt Alston called on three youngsters and got wins from each. First came a 1-0 shutout by Phil Ortega (24) against the Braves, then victories over the Colt .45s by Joe Moeller (21) and Nick Willhite (23). Don Drysdale won twice, shutting out the Colts and checking the Giants with five hits. In all, Dodger pitchers held opponents to a .202 BA, gave up just 15 walks and struck out 48. For punch they relied on Frank Howard, who hit three homers. Two of them were against Bob Hendley of the Giants, giving Howard six homers in his last eight at bats against Hendley over the past two years. The Dodgers hardly noticed their two losses, rejoicing over the imminent return of Sandy Koufax and Ron Perranoski from the injured list. League-leading PHILADELPHIA won four of five games and had just one bad habit, namely, an inability to win on Saturdays. But with Tony Taylor, Gus Triandos and Bobby Wine hitting homers on Sunday, with Richie Allen (.429) getting a home run and triple on Tuesday and with Pitchers Dennis Bennett and Jim Bunning winning on Thursday and Friday, they can afford their Saturdays off. NEW YORK lost three 4-3 games but won when Tracy Stallard beat the Pirates 3-2 and when Al Jackson shut out the Reds. A rash of base hits by Ken Boyer (.524), Bill White (.476) and Dick Groat (.368), a shutout by Ernie Broglio and Roger Craig's first win for ST. LOUIS (3-2) moved the Cardinals from sixth place to fourth. Hits were foreign to CHICAGO batters—until they went to Houston. Then they got 26 hits and 20 runs (10 in one inning) in two easy victories, one a shutout by Bob Buhl. PITTSBURGH also won twice, on ninth-inning singles by Roberto Clemente and Gene Freese. But in between the Pirates lost four times, once when Tony Cloninger of MILWAUKEE (3-2) held them to one single. Eddie Mathews (.381) and Hank Aaron (.500) ended their slumps. With Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson injured, CINCINNATI (1-3) had to scramble. Home runs by Gordy Coleman and Marty Keough one night gave the Reds a win, something that four stolen bases one day and good pitching on two other occasions had failed to accomplish. Good pitching, once a staple in HOUSTON (2-5), was scarce. Two former Phillies, Jim Owens and Turk Farrell, were fortunate to be pitching when the Colts scored a few runs and thus picked up a pair Of wins. SAN FRANCISCO (2-1) got shutout pitching from Juan Marichal and .400 hitting from Willie Mays—which was perfectly normal. What was not normal was Willie playing one game at first base to rest a pulled leg muscle.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The Giants were losing to the Dodgers 4-2 in Los Angeles last weekend when, with one runner on base and no one out in the ninth inning, Duke Snider, that old Dodger in a Giant uniform, came to bat. Snider had come to the Giants by way of the Mets, who had bought him from the Dodgers last year. Snider did little to help the Mets, and this spring he made it quite clear he wanted out. "I'd like to be with a contender," he said. Obligingly, the Mets sold him to San Francisco, and the Duke hustled onto a jet as he had not hustled all through spring training. Few Mets wept—"he dogged it while he was on our club," said Tracy Stallard—but out in Los Angeles, Dodger General Manager Buzzie Bavasi turned purple. The Mets, he felt, should have given the Dodgers a chance to buy Snider back. "I don't feel Snider's going to the Giants will change the complexion of the pennant race," Bavasi yelled, "but I'm burned up on principle."
Indeed, Snider did little during his first few weeks in San Francisco except get a crew cut. But last Saturday night, playing against the Dodgers, Snider regained his touch. Early in the game he came up with a single, his first in 13 tries as a Giant. And then in the ninth inning, with one man on and no outs, Snider hit the first pitch for a home run off Joe Moeller to tie the game. The Giants won three innings later 5-4. Watching it all from his box seat, Buzzie Bavasi turned purple all over again.