Even though Manager Eddie Stanky characteristically stayed calm, hardly anyone else in CHICAGO (2-2) bothered to keep his cool when the White Sox won their first game of the year after 10 losses. "Carry him off," yelled one Sox player, referring to Reliever Wilbur Wood, who saved the big victory. Back in Comiskey Park, 370 miles away, the club officials let go with the Sox's exploding scoreboard to let the city know they had won. And despite chiding signs like SOX IT TO US, CHICAGO seen in Minnesota, the Sox may yet turn out to be more than a joking matter. Their pitchers are proven winners, and last week Pete Ward, even with his sloppy fielding, was an asset with a .437 average. BALTIMORE (4-2) was the only preseason contender to have a winning week. The Orioles did it mostly on their pitching, which allowed just five runs in the wins. WASHINGTON (4-3) moved up to fourth place with strong relief performances by Darold Knowles and Dennis Higgins and heavy hitting by Frank Howard (.347 BA for the week). NEW YORK (4-3) held sixth place on the tight pitching of Bill Monbouquette, who allowed one run in 16 innings, and Mel Stottlemyre, who ran his record to 3-1 with a three-hit shutout over the Tigers. CALIFORNIA'S (3-3) Roger Repoz had just five hits all week, but four of them were homers, boosting his season's total to six and giving him the league lead. OAKLAND (3-3) finished its disappointing initial home stand with a 2-6 record, but found life on the road better, winning two of three on the timely hitting of Rick Monday, who had six RBIs. A .158 team BA was all the support BOSTON (2-2) hitters could give Sox pitchers, but still Lee Stange, who threw five innings of tight relief, and Jose Santiago, who scored his second straight shutout, won. DETROIT (2-3) saw its longest winning streak since 1949 stopped at nine, then went into a nosedive. After slugging Outfielder Willie Horton fell injured the Tigers failed to score for 20 innings. Nine of those shutout innings were pitched by CLEVELAND'S (2-3) Steve Hargan, who allowed just one hit in gaining his first victory of the season. MINNESOTA'S (2-4) sluggers hit only three homers all week. With the team averaging .197, the Twins missed an opportunity to move back into the lead.
Standings: Det 11-4, Minn 9-6, Balt 9-6, Wash 10-7, Bos 8-6, NY 8-8, Oak 7-9, Clev 6-9, Cal 6-10, Chi 2-11
May 5, 1968
St. Louis (5-0) ace Bob Gibson could not take it anymore. In his first three starts his usually high-scoring teammates gave him no more than a run a game and the big fast-baller was bogged down with an 0-1 record. So Gibson popped off at the Cards' batters and ordered more runs. They got him more—just barely. In his next start they scored two, but that was all he needed to take his first victory. The win equaled a quarter of Nelson Briles' total that has helped push the Cards' winning streak to six. Briles has now won 14 straight over two seasons. Even with the league's best hitting (.277 team average), CHICAGO (5-1) started off the season by nosing straight to the cellar. But last week, with the hitters still clicking, the pitchers, led by Bill Hands's four-hit, 10-strikeout victory, began helping out, and the Cubs looked ready to move into contention. Cookie Rojas' 10th-inning hit won one game for PHILADELPHIA (3-2) Right-hander Rick Wise, and then Wise won his next start himself when his double drove in the deciding run. NEW YORK (2-2) could have had a perfect record if shoddy fielding had not allowed six unearned runs in the two losses. The Mets saved their good days in the field for rookie ace Jerry Koosman, who won twice to bring his season's record to 4-0. SAN FRANCISCO (3-2) wasted its best pitching effort of the year, a three-hitter by Ray Sadecki, and broke the left-hander's nine-game win streak that started last August. The Giants' other pitching was less spectacular but more remunerative. Juan Marichal ran his record to 3-0 and Cy Young Award Winner Mike McCormick and Gaylord Perry both picked up five-hit victories over LOS ANGELES (2-3). The Dodgers' two wins came in the ninth inning, one on Zoilo Versalles' two-run triple and the other on rookie Luis Alcaraz' three-run homer, his first in the big leagues. CINCINNATI'S (2-3) pitchers still have not thrown a complete game, and the hitters, except for versatile Pete Rose, who hit .400 for the week and ran his consecutive game-hitting streak to 13, were slumping, too, so the Reds won twice on unearned runs. Since 1962 HOUSTON (1-4) has had a 159-335 road record. After eight losses in their first nine away games, the Astro record does not figure to improve this season. ATLANTA'S (1-4) Henry Aaron hit .526 for the week to bring his season's BA to .350, but the rest of the Braves' lineup averaged only .229 and the team fell to seventh place. PITTSBURGH (1-4) twice lost games in the ninth inning, and pitching star Bob Veale is getting a persecution complex—he lost his third of the year without a win although he has allowed just seven runs in four starts.
Standings: StL 12-4, SF 9-6, Chi 8-8, LA 8-8, Phil 8-8, Cin 7-8, Atl 7-9, Pitt 6-8, NY 6-9, Hou 6-9
It was Valentine's Day all over again for Oriole Right-hander Tom Phoebus when he defeated the Red Sox 6-0 at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium Saturday. Phoebus' April Valentine—Umpire Bill, that is—helped turn what began as a rotten day for the pitcher into a rosy one indeed. When Phoebus went out to the mound just about everything was wrong. A day-old sore throat still bothered him, and the raw, rainy weather did not seem likely to improve his health. To make things worse, Phoebus had not pitched in a week, and his catcher was converted Outfielder Curt Blefary, who was playing only his fourth game behind the plate. But the 26-year-old Baltimore native had told his manager, Hank Bauer, he was ready to pitch. He was, too. After two first-inning walks Phoebus settled down and allowed only one more player to reach base in recording his first—and the season's first—no-hitter. Striking out nine and using his hard fastball and slider to keep the batters off balance, Phoebus earned his big win but some fans felt he did it with the help of Umpire Valentine. In the third inning Boston's Mike Andrews chopped a ball back over the mound, forcing Oriole Shortstop Mark Belanger to make a charging grab and an off-balance throw. The play was very close at first, and even a few Baltimore fans gasped in surprise when Valentine thumbed Andrews out. Later Third Baseman Brooks Robinson saved Phoebus again, making a diving catch of a line drive. Aided by these plays, the sort that accompany most no-hitters, Phoebus suffered only one other letdown—when he remembered that his real Valentine, recent bride Susie, had missed seeing him pitch. She spent the afternoon in church at a christening.