Minnesota's (4-3) amazing superiority over New York, Washington and Boston is the prime reason why the Twins arc winning the American League pennant. After taking three of four from the Yankees last week to win the season's series 13-5, the Twins held a 37-8 edge (plus 29) over those three second-division teams. Chicago, meanwhile, was only 31-17 (plus 14), Detroit was 26-16 (plus 10), Cleveland 26-17 (plus 9) and Baltimore was 28-22 (plus 6) against the same clubs. Incidentally, the last time New York lost as many as 13 games to one team was 1959, the last year they lost the pennant. The Twins continue to win despite the loss of Outfielder Tony Oliva, who suffered a bruised knuckle and joined Harmon Killebrew and Pitcher Camilo Pascual on the lengthy Minnesota injury list. Before he was hurt Oliva hit a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth to tie a game that Jerry Kindall (batting .199 at the time) won with a broken-bat single the next inning. Jim Grant, replacing Pascual as Minnesota's top pitcher, shut out the Indians on two hits and also drove in four runs while winning his 17th game—tops in the league. Nevertheless, Manager Sam Mele, always more reserved than his loquacious contemporaries, refused to make any predictions. But then no other manager did either. CHICAGO (5-4), which had won 10 straight, lost three of four to BALTIMORE (3-4), which, in turn, lost three straight and the season's series to the Senators. Typically, the White Sox, with Pete Ward going 1 for 26 for the week, were held to only one run four times. The Orioles found one bright spot: Pitcher Milt Pappas won for the first time in five weeks. Manager Charlie Dressen reviewed DETROIT'S (2-5) situation precisely, admitting, "We are lousy." Willie Horton lost one game when he dropped a fly ball. Ray Oyler fell down between third and home in another and was out trying to score a tying run. Base runners were picked off, and pitchers failed to back up home plate. CLEVELAND (4-3) rookie Pitcher Steve Hargan, brought up four weeks ago, beat the Angels and the Twins. Catfish Hunter, John O'Donoghue and Rollie Sheldon all pitched shutout victories for KANSAS CITY (5-2), with Sheldon three-hitting his former NEW YORK (2-5) teammates. Albie Pearson, fighting now for a job next season, went 12 for 25 to boost LOS ANGELES (4-3). "I know the Angels have a lot of good kid outfielders," said Pearson, "but I'd rather have them watch me for another year." BOSTON'S (4-5) Rico Petrocelli, a rookie shortstop hitting .355 against left-handers but only .191 against right-handers, had four homers in three games, five for the week, and a 12-game hitting streak. Red Sox Pitcher Dennis Bennett reneged, at least temporarily, on his promise of champagne for the press after he won his first complete game. "Maybe I should serve them vinegar," said Bennett. Jim King, the last of the expansion originals playing for WASHINGTON (4-3), beat the Orioles on his 33rd birthday with a single in the 10th, then beat them the next day with a pinch-hit, two-run single in the ninth.
Standings: Minn 83 49, Chi 76-55, Clev 72-57. Det 72-58. Bait 70 57, NY 65 66, LA 60-71, Wash 58-73, Bos 49-83, KC 46-82
Pittsburgh (6-1) was the only team to play like a pennant contender last week. While the other first-division clubs floundered, the Pirates hit .314 as a team, took four straight from the Giants, then two of three from the Astros, and suddenly they were in fifth place—only 4½ games behind the Dodgers. Gene Alley, Bill Mazeroski and Roberto Clemente each had four hits in one game. Trailing 9-3 in the ninth inning one night, the Pirates scored six runs to tie the game and won it in the 11th on Andre Rodgers' single. Although SAN ERANCISCO (2-5) slumped after losing Juan Marichal for eight days, Willie Mays had a momentous week. He hit his 17th homer in August, a National League record for homers in one month, and became the first National Leaguer to hit 40 home runs in one season six times. Willie also passed Lou Gehrig with his 494th career home run and trailed only Mel Ott (511), Ted Williams (521), Jimmy Foxx (534) and Babe Ruth (714). "I think I'll pass Foxx, but I'll never catch up with the Babe," said Mays. Playing before 299,145 for seven dates, NEW YORK (4-3) surprised by taking three of four from the Dodgers. Tug McGraw, a first-year player, beat Sandy Kou-fax, and said: "I wasn't scared facing him because my father always told me I'd be another Koufax." Asked about a pitch he threw to one Dodger, McGraw answered, "I'm no expert. I can't explain all that stuff." HOUSTON (4-2) won two games over PHILADELPHIA (1-5) in the ninth inning, another in the eighth. "The players are ashamed of themselves," said Gene Mauch, the Phillies manager, "and I haven't been bringing in the right man from the bullpen." The Phillies ended their five-game losing streak by blasting LOS ANGELES (3-4) with 15 hits. The night before, against nemesis Chris Short, who had five wins over them this year, the Dodgers pulled two double steals and scored seven runs in the first inning. MILWAUKEE (1-6) Manager Bobby Bragan said, "The season should be reduced from 162 games to 140 or less," after the Braves lost six straight, all to home runs. Homers by Tommy Harper, pinch-hitter Tony Perez (both with two out in the ninth) and Deron Johnson beat the Braves for CINCINNATI (4-3). Then Billy Williams of CHICAGO (4-3) twice beat them with homers, one a grand slam. Manager Red Schoendienst of sr. LOUIS (5-2) was ejected for the first time in his 21-year major league career. Third Baseman Ken Boyer, last year's MVP, said he hoped club officials would not make too many drastic off-season changes because "we're a good team."
Standings: LA 75-57, SF 71-56, Cin 72 57, Mil 71 58, Pitt 71-62, Phil 67 62, StL 65-67, Chi 63 71, Hou 55-75, NY 43 88
TEAM LEADERS: OFFENSE*
*through August 28