ST. LOUIS (5-1) responded to challenges by its most persistent rivals by winning five straight games and taking a three-and-a-half-game lead over second-place CHICAGO (3-4). The Cubs had moved into a first-place tie by beating the Cards in the first game of their three-game series in Busch Stadium, but the Cardinals rallied to beat the Cubs twice and take three straight from the Braves. About the only thing the Cardinals lost was their bus driver, who did not show up in time to drive the team back to its hotel in Atlanta. So Relief Pitcher Joe Hoerner took the wheel, opened the door to let Curt Flood get out so he could ride safely in a taxi and then bused the players to the hotel—hitting only a no-exit sign en route. Although the Cubs lost one game because of some base-running derring-do, they won another when Ted Savage scored from first base on a bunt. Manager Leo Durocher benched Outfielder Adolfo Phillips after Phillips, who had gone 0 for 12 and had been in a general slump the last three weeks, put a thermometer into his mouth, studied the calculations and decided he had a fever.
Strong pitching blunted ATLANTA'S (2-4) batting power, but the Braves' Pat Jarvis beat the Reds and Gary Nolan 1-0 with a two-hitter. Manager Billy Hitchcock recently gave Jarvis a book titled Psycho-Cybernetics that urges putting mind over matter. "I didn't know what it meant," said Jarvis later. "I'm not a nut like that pitcher who used to get hypnotized. But it helped me. Besides I'm as good as Veale and Nolan and Maloney." The 1-0 loss was a typical game for Nolan, CINCINNATI'S (3-4) 19-year-old right-hander. In five of his last six games he permitted an average of only one run, but meanwhile the Reds averaged only a run a game for him. "If Gary had the runs they've scored for me," said Red Pitcher Mel Queen, "he'd be about 16 and two right now." Instead, Nolan is eight and four. Pitchers Jim Maloney and Sammy Ellis continued to fail, and Outfielder Floyd Robinson replaced Tommy Harper on the disabled list. The Reds' injury hex reached a climax when Coach Whitey Wietelmann injured his leg in the dugout and had to have an operation for a blood clot, SAN FRANCISCO (3-3) was 51-49 after 100 games, the Giants' worst record at that point since 1960. The team had lost 10 of 14 before Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, who together have won 20 and lost 21, beat PHILADELPHIA (2-5). The Phillies made 11 errors and left 48 on base in six games. HOUSTON'S (7-1) new batting coach, deposed PITTSBURGH (2-5) Manager Harry Walker, smiled when the Astros beat the Pirates three straight, scoring 20 runs. The Pirates used to fight with Walker, now they are fighting among themselves—Manny Jiminez and Juan Pizarro were fined $150 each for dugout fisticuffs, NEW YORK (1-6) used three catchers on one play against the Dodgers, and when the surviving receiver, Jerry Grote, later was ejected from the game, the Mets had to use Outfielder Tommy Reynolds behind the plate. The Mets eventually lost the game on a passed ball. With LOS ANGELES (6-1) wallowing in eighth place, attendance at Dodger Stadium was down more than 300,000 for 44 dates.
Standings: StL 61-40, Chi 58-44, Cin 55-49, Atl 51-47, SF 53-50, Pitt 49-50, Phil 47-51, LA 46-54, Hou 45-59 NY 39-60
It was still a five-team pennant race (page 14), although WASHINGTON (5-3) was threatening to make it six. The Senators won three out of four games from the Angels for a string of 17 victories in 23 games. Frank Howard hit a 460-foot home run and had 10 hits and 10 RBIs in five games. "I know I'd like to hit .275, but that's not always possible," said Howard. Catcher Paul Casanova hit a grand slam against the Angels, while Pitcher Phil Ortega won his seventh straight, Joe Coleman his fourth before finally losing. Part of Coleman's recent success can be attributed to Joe Sr., a former major league pitcher, who told his son to start brushing back the hitters. CLEVELAND (3-3) traded Rocky Colavito to the White Sox even though Colavito was the leading vote-getter in a poll to determine the Most Popular Indian. The Indians' Tony Horton handed the Orioles" Moe Drabowsky his first loss in two years when he led off the 12th inning with a long home run. Frank Robinson returned to the BALTIMORE (2-3) lineup after missing 28 games. In five trips to the plate he struck out twice, grounded out, singled and walked. "I don't feel I can play every day," Frank said, "because the ball still looks like it's bobbing up and down." The Orioles, nevertheless, continued to lose. KANSAS CITY (3-4) and NEW YORK (4-2) waged germ warfare as they battled for last place. A swarm of gnats invaded Yankee Stadium before one Athletic-Yankee game, and the A's trainer, Billy Jones, ran around the field spraying the arms and faces of his players from a bottle of insect repellent. The A's won one game when Catcher Phil Roof, who was not even hitting .200 for the year, hit a home run. Mickey Mantle saved the Yankees from another imminent defeat with a two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth that tied the Twins 1-1 just before a cloudburst called off the game.
Standings: Chi 57-42, Bos 55-44, Det 53-45, Minn 53-46, Cal 55-49, Wash 51-53, Clev 46-55, Balt 45-54, NY 44-55, KC 43-59
Around the National League, Gene Mauch, the volatile manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, has a reputation for baiting opposing players with a steady flow of unprintable verbiage that is designed to needle, anger and, in short, distract the players from the job at hand—beating the Phillies. Mauch was at his blue best last week in the Astrodome as he directed his fire at Mike Cuellar of Houston, who was pitching a one-hit shutout against the Phils and leading 1-0 as the ninth inning began, "He was calling me a very bad name," said Cuellar. "I no take that from any man." Cuellar started toward the Philadelphia dugout, which was exactly what Mauch wanted. Out of the dugout he charged, hoping for a fight that would get them both tossed out of the game. After all, what more can a manager do for his team than to personally get rid of an opposing pitcher who is throwing a one-hit shutout? But Eddie Mathews, Houston's battle-wise third baseman, was alert to the situation. As Mauch approached, Mathews scooped him up on the short hop (right), and the fight was prevented. Still, the incident seemed to have rattled Cuellar, who gave up a run. Then Mauch opened up again, and again Cuellar started for the Phillie dugout. But Mathews was still on guard and there was no fight. Much to Mauch's disgust, Houston won the game 2-1 in the 11th. "There are limits as far as name-calling is concerned," said Mathews later, reflecting a view held by many a major leaguer. "I respect Mauch's right to agitate, but you can't call people any name you want and expect them to take it. I think he stepped over the boundaries this time." Replied Mauch: "All I was trying to do was win the game." No doubt. But the question is: Does the end justify the means?