Outstanding pitching lifted CLEVELAND (8-0) into the thick of the pennant scramble. Four times in five days the Indians had shutouts: a one-hitter by Luis Tiant, a two-hitter by Sam McDowell and three-hitters by Ralph Terry and Sonny Siebert. What little relief work was needed was also first-class: one run in 15 2/3 innings. Jose Azcue, Fred Whitfield and Rocky Colavito came through with game-winning hits. DETROIT (6-1) had to claw from behind—they won one game after trailing 8-0—to win four games. Denny McLain set a record for relief pitchers by striking out seven men in a row. Norm Cash, who had not hit a homer in eight weeks, hit two. BALTIMORE (5-1) scored little but let its opponents score even less. Relief aces Stu Miller, Dick Hall and Harvey Haddix did not give up a run in 12 innings. Jerry Adair, a .260 hitter with a .320 lifetime mark against the Yankees, undid NEW YORK (2-6) by accounting for six of the Orioles" nine runs in a three-game sweep. The Yankees came to life temporarily against the Twins, then bogged down again on costly goof-ups—a passed ball and a wild pitch. Fine relief jobs by Eddie Fisher (two wins, one save) and timely homers by Bill Skowron and Pete Ward compensated for a .241 team BA and kept CHICAGO (3-3) right behind league-leading MINNESOTA (4-3). No sooner had Twins Manager Sam Mele said that he could not only see the improvement in his pitchers but feel it as well than they gave up 15 runs in two games. WASHINGTON (1-5) was well on its way to breaking its own major league record for striking out, but a bright spot was Pete Richert's second shutout against Baltimore and fifth fine performance in a row. Dean Chance moaned that he missed Bo Belinsky but the other LOS ANGELES (2-5) pitchers wanted not Bo but more hitting support. "I haven't been able to maneuver my team," said KANSAS CITY (2-5) Manager Haywood Sullivan, which was the kindest thing to say about a team that had scored the fewest runs in the majors and had the worst earned-run average. BOSTON (1-5) snapped an eight-game losing streak but Dick Radatz was a Hop again. Dave Morehead sprained the middle finger on his pitching hand. Explained Manager Billy Herman, incredulously: "Once in a while he sticks his finger in the ground on his follow-through."
Jim Maloney of CINCINNATI (5-2) looked so bad in spring training that Manager Dick Sisler exiled him to the bullpen before Opening Day. But Maloney was given a starting assignment a week after the season began, pitched a one-hit, 2-0 shutout over the Braves and resumed his place as one of the "big" pitchers in the National League. Last week he turned in the finest—though most frustrating—game of his career when he struck out 18 men and pitched 10 no-hit, no-run innings against the Mets before losing 1-0 in the 11th when Johnny Lewis broke up the no-hitter with a home run. The irony implicit in losing a no-hitter has a special appeal. "The day after the game," Maloney said. "I was on the phone from 11 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon, just talking to different people. And the Reds screened the calls so that only about one of 10 actually reached me. It was the most sensational reaction I've ever experienced." Maloney received more than 200 letters and telegrams ("Most of them spoke about my being a good citizen, and being able to take this kind of thing with my head up") as well as a $1,000 raise from Reds' Owner Bill DeWitt. Five days later Maloney pitched again and won, 9-4. It was curious that futile NEW YORK (2-5) should be the team to beat a man who had pitched a no-hitter; it broke a 10-game losing streak for the Mets, and it was their only win in a 16-game stretch. HOUSTON (2-6) Manager Luman Harris tried to help temperamental Jim Gentile to loosen up by saying, "Go on, throw a fit. You're so serious I don't recognize you." Forsaking the traditional Japanese belief that one must not try to show up the umpire, Masanori Murakami of SAN FRANCISCO (5-2) threw the resin bag angrily when he disputed a call; he drew a warning from Honorable Umpire. Japanese officials withdrew an invitation to the PITTSBURGH PIRATES (4-4) to play in Japan this fall because the Pirates "lack color." Maybe so. But during the Pirates' month-long winning surge, Willie Stargell hit nine homers, batted in 27 runs and hit .375, and Vernon Law won six straight games. Felipe Alou of MILWAUKEE (3-3) said, "Batting leadoff for this team is like hitting cleanup anywhere else." With six RBIs in one game and 38 for the year, Alou could well become the first leadoff man ever to drive in 100 runs. PHILADELPHIA (4-3) received much needed help—immediately from a .195 minor league hitter, and retroactively from former major league Manager Bob Scheffing. Unable to hit .200 in the minors, Catcher Pat Corrales got five hits in his first six at bats with the Phils and twice threw out Maury Wills on attempted steals. As for Scheffing, years ago he had told Jim Bunning, after the pitcher blew a three-run lead by giving up a grand-slam home run to a dangerous hitter, "You could have walked him. It would have cost you just one run." So, with a 5-1 lead over the Braves, bases loaded and Henry Aaron up, Bunning "semi-intentionally" walked Henry and went on to win. Lou Klein took over as Head Coach of CHICAGO (4-4), picked up two quick shutout wins and then lost four of the next six games. LOS ANGELES (4-3) Manager Walt Alston threatened fines if there were any repetition of recent curfew violations and "additional incidents." But Claude Osteen and Sandy Koufax pitched one-hitters, Jim Gilliam drove in vital runs and the Dodgers kept their strong grip on first place. ST. LOUIS (3-4) pitchers continued to sag, and Julian Javier suffered a broken hand. "The world is made up of problems," said Manager Red Schoendienst.
TEAM LEADERS: PITCHING*
*though June 19