In the clubhouse after he won his first big-league game with a five-hitter, BALTIMORE (6-0) rookie Pitcher Dave Leonhard was so excited he thought he had lost his pants until a writer pointed out that he was sitting on them. That sort of wackiness set the tone for the Orioles as they moved up to first. Even with Frank Robinson out with mumps, Curt Blefary frolicking in the locker room with Leroy—the monkey given to him by some fans—and Catcher Andy Etchebarren benched while leading the league's hitters, the Birds put together a seven-game win streak behind hot hitting by Blefary and Brooks Robinson, who batted .391 and .348. Only Jim McGlothlin could throw a complete game for CALIFORNIA (5-2), so masterminding Manager Bill Rigney juggled 21 pitchers in the other games and came up with four more wins. OAKLAND (4-2) enjoyed its best hitting of the year against the Red Sox, bashing out 37 safeties in a three-game sweep over the defending champs. CLEVELAND'S (4-2) excellent pitching staff was tougher than ever, with Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant and Steve Hargan pitching consecutive three-hitters before Sonny Siebert and Stan Williams combined to allow just two. A pair of those victories were shutouts, running the Indians' total to six in their first 10 wins. CHICAGO (3-3), still bogged deep in the cellar by its early losing streak, began to dig out on the tight pitching of Tommy John, Cisco Carlos and Gary Peters, who also had the Sox' big hit of the week with a game-winning grand-slam homer. For MINNESOTA (3-4), Rod Carew, batting a .409 average for the week, and John Roseboro who broke a 0-29 slump with a 5-for-5 game, could not do it all alone. The Twins were shut out twice and fell to third. DETROIT (3-4) fell, too, right down from the league lead, as the hitters slumped to a .217 team average, and the pitchers followed suit and allowed 19 runs in the losses. The once fearsome Yankees hit just one homer all week and only Bill Monbouquette, who raised his season's record to 4-1, pitched a complete game, as NEW YORK (2-5) dropped to eighth. Big Frank Howard hit .400 for the week, but his shoddy fielding at first base and flat-footed base running cost WASHINGTON (1-4) two victories. BOSTON'S (1-6) pitching staff has always been suspect, so it was not too surprising when 25 pitchers worked fruitlessly in the losses. What did surprise Sox fans was Carl Yastrzemski, who hit just .167 for the week. He has not had a homer in 15 games and has had just one RBI in the last two weeks.
Standings: Balt 15-6, Det 14-8, Minn 12-10 Oak 11-11, Wash 11-11, Cal 11-12, Clev 10-11, NY 10-13, Bos 9-12, Chi 5-14
May 12, 1968
Not much more could be expected of CINCINNATI'S (5-2) Pete Rose. He hit .438 for the week, took over the league lead in batting with a .404 season average and ran his consecutive-game hitting streak to 20. But the best may be yet to come. Says Rose, "Don't ask me why I'm hitting so well. The funny thing about it is that we haven't played the Phillies or Pirates yet and they're the two clubs I usually hit best." With four games against the Phillies this week, the Reds, who had moved up to second, were in a good spot to jump farther. PITTSBURGH (4-3) lost three one-run games, two of them when the opposition scored in the ninth. Worse, Roberto Clemente slumped badly—his season average is .126 lower than his .357 of last year. Former pro-basketball player Ron Reed won his first two starts for ATLANTA (4-3) with Tito Francona, who was also making his first Brave start, driving in two runs and scoring two more in Reed's initial win. NEW YORK'S (3-3) pitching was again masterful, allowing no earned runs in three games, but the batters averaged just .195, once more preventing a surge upward. Catcher Mike Ryan and Infielder Bill White were credited with game-winning, ninth-inning RBIs for PHILADELPHIA (3-3). The third victory, a squeaker, too, came when the Phillies scored five runs in the 11th inning. First-place ST. LOUIS (3-4) has a high-priced star at every position, but subs Dick Schofield and John Edwards were responsible for two Card wins. Schofield got four hits and three RBIs in one game, while Edwards touched off two rallies with hits in another, LOS ANGELES (3-4) relied on the excellent relief pitching of Jim Brewer, John Purdin and John Billingham, who combined to allow no runs in the 11 innings they pitched, in three wins. Larry Dierker and Denny Lemaster, two pitchers with losing records, shut out the league's best, the Cards and Reds, for HOUSTON (3-4), but the hitters failed to support less spectacular pitching and the Astros lost four games while scoring just five runs. CHICAGO'S (3-4) hitting (.262 for the year) is ranked as the league's second best. But the bullpen is shaky—it was charged with two losses and allowed four runs in another. Similarly, SAN FRANCISCO (3-4), led by Willie McCovey's .393 average and nine RBIs for the week, had plenty of hitting (35 runs scored), but three times miscues in the field opened the way for Giant defeats.
Standings: StL 15-8, SF 12-10, Cin 12-10, Phil 11-11, LA 11-12, Chi 11-12, Atl 11-12, Pitt 10-11, NY 9-12, Hou 9-13
When he first joined the Yanks in 1964 many New Yorkers thought that Roger Repoz would be the next in the splendid line of Yankee heroes—Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and Repoz. He was a strong, 6'2", 190-pound, lefthanded hitter from Bellingham, Wash., and he played the outfield like Mantle. If he had never hit in the minors for a high average, he had hit with power. But, once he put on the pinstripes, the power stopped, the comparisons with Mantle were heard no more and Repoz soon was packed off to the Yanks' graveyard in Kansas City. There he did not even develop into another Mike Hershberger, so the A's traded him to the Angels. That may turn out to be the best deal California ever made. Repoz now is the brightest new face among the American League's top hitters. "I did too much experimenting with my stance," Repoz says. "But it isn't the stance that is important but the swing. That I never changed. The difference is I believe in my swing now." In this season of low averages, Repoz' .263 is respectable. It is outstanding when you consider the kind of hits he has been getting. After 22 games he leads the majors with eight homers and 19 RBIs. Last week he got only six hits, but two were homers; another, a ninth-inning single, beat Boston. He drove in nine runs in leading the Angels from ninth to sixth place. So far Repoz is responsible for more than half of California's home runs and a third of the team's RBIs. So where does Roger Repoz go from here? Next week to the National Guard. At 27 he is still in the Reserves and may be in the service for as many as 15 games between now and the All-Star break in July. His absence could be ruinous for the Angels.