Those clanking sounds heard around the league came from DETROIT (3-5-1) as piece after piece of its armor went clattering. The week began well enough, John Hiller pitching a one-hitter and Jim Price hitting a 10th-inning pinch homer to account for two wins. Then Second Baseman Dick McAuliffe had a scrap with White Sox Pitcher Tommy John. McAuliffe wound up with a five-day suspension, John with torn ligaments in his pitching shoulder. Next came four straight losses to NEW YORK (6-2-1), which was playing as of old. Two-run homers by Tom Tresh and Roy White gave the Yankees a pair of 2-1 wins, the latter handing Denny McLain his second loss of the week and first on the road after 16 straight wins away from home. What's more, the Yankees came back from a 5-1 deficit to win the third game 6-5, the win going to erstwhile Outfielder Rocky Colavito, who had a 10-year rest since his only other pitching job. Colavito then homered in the finale, a 5-4 win for the Yankees. In between, the teams played a 19-inning 3-3 tie in which Lindy McDaniel of the Yankees pitched seven perfect innings of relief. Jim Hardin of BALTIMORE (4-2) earned two victories, and singles by Boog Powell (in the 15th inning) and by Brooks Robinson (in the 18th) won two more as the Orioles gained two games on the Tigers. Clyde Wright's 6‚Öì innings of hitless relief and George Brunet's six-hitter were responsible for the only wins for CALIFORNIA (2-5). Three of the Angels' losses were to OAKLAND (4-3), which has taken 11 of 15 from them. Ninth-inning homers by Dick Green and Danny Cater, who had a bruised shoulder and ankle and a broken blood vessel in his hand, gave the A's two wins. Dean Chance of MINNESOTA (4-4) shut out the Yankees 1-0, Jim Merritt beat them 3-1 on a three-hitter and Dave Boswell stopped the White Sox on four hits. Reliever Bob Humphreys of WASHINGTON (3-3) doubled his win total for the season as the Senators scored four times in the ninth to beat the A's 4-1 and topped the Indians 10-9. CHICAGO (3-5) beat the Tigers 10-2 but for the remainder of the week averaged just two runs a game. Jose Cardenal's base stealing, Sam McDowell's four-hitter and Vicente Romo's relief work helped CLEVELAND (5-2) take five in a row and bump BOSTON (2-5) out of third place. Ken Harrelson (page 22), who leads the majors with 101 RBIs, claims he has received numerous offers to capitalize on his fine year. "One is a comic strip called The Hawk," says Harrelson. "The hero would be a guy like Superman, but he'd wear a Nehru jacket and a medallion with H on it, and he'd have a big nose like mine."
Standings: Del 81-49, Balt 75-53, Clev 71-62, Bos 69-62, Oak 66-63, NY 63-63, Minn 61-68, Cal 58-72, Chi 54-76, Wash 48-78
September 1, 1968
"Somewhere in the last year or so this club has lost its pride," said LOS ANGELES (1-6) General Manager Fresco Thompson. "There is no spirit, no noise, no desire, no determination." Statistics bore him out. Last week the fielders made 11 errors, the offense remained incognito and the pitching staff—a few short years ago the best in baseball—gave up an average of seven runs a game. Even when Don Sutton came up with the best Dodger pitching job in two weeks—a four-hitter against the Giants—the team lost. Sutton, who has lost six of his last seven decisions despite a 1.89 ERA, might have expected such luck. World Champion ST. LOUIS (4-3) was also lackluster. The Cards committed 11 errors (their opponents made four), hit just one homer (the opposition had six) and Bob Gibson, who had won 15 in a row, lost despite 15 strikeouts and a 4-0 lead going into the seventh inning. Gibson's streak might have remained intact if Willie Stargell of PITTSBURGH (3-4) had not started wearing glasses. The bespectacled slugger hit a three-run homer against Gibson and also set up a ninth-inning, game-winning rally with a double. After a 19-1 loss to the Pirates a broken mirror was found in the CINCINNATI (4-3) clubhouse. Instead of seven years' bad luck, though, the Reds began winning. Pete Rose (below) hit .393, and Clay Carroll picked up his 10th save since being acquired from the Braves 11 weeks ago. Manager Luman Harris of ATLANTA (1-6), returning from a disastrous 3-7 road trip, was solaced with a contract for 1969. Rusty Staub of HOUSTON (5-1) batted .450, had nine RBIs and the Astros came from behind to win four times in a row. Ernie Banks and Billy Williams kept CHICAGO (5-2) from stumbling more than it did, Banks hitting four homers during the week, Williams driving in seven runs in one game. Tom Seaver of NEW YORK (2-4) won twice, but the rest of the Mets were not as amazing. Among their losses were 1-0 and 13-3 defeats by SAN FRANCISCO (5-2). Ron Hunt, who hit .400, won the 1-0 game with a single in the 17th inning. Some of the liveliest slugging was done by Richie Allen of PHILADELPHIA (4-3), although he did not want to take credit for all of it. Allen denied charges that he unloaded a knockout punch on a bartender one late night.
Standings: StL 83-48, SF 69-60, Cin 67-59, Chi 69-63, Atl 64-66, Pitt 62-68, Phil 60-68, Hou 61-70, NY 59-73, LA 55-74
If Pete Rose of the Reds wins the National League batting title and/or finishes the season with 200 hits, chalk up another victory for not-so-modern medical science. When Rose broke his left thumb while trying to make a diving catch on July 5, his chances of achieving cither goal seemed almost nil. Three weeks later, however, Rose reported to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. There, under the watchful eye of Team Physician Dr. George Ballou, Rose took part in a scene of the sort that was supposed to have died with those pre-op paintings of Great Moments in Medicine. Rose began pounding the hospital wall with his baseball bat. "He told me to hit the wall with the bat to see if it would hurt my thumb," Rose explains. The walls, fortunately, did not come tumbling down. Neither, also fortunately, did Rose's thumb come tumbling off. In fact, the thumb did not even hurt on impact, and Dr. Ballou permitted Rose to return to the lineup five games earlier than had been anticipated. During those five games he had a total of eight hits, and they may well prove to be the difference for Rose in achieving his goal of 200 hits for the third time in the past four years. He now has hit safely 163 times. With 36 games left to be played, he needs only slightly more than one hit a game the rest of the way. Even more impressive has been his .383 batting average since returning to play a month ago, a spree that has moved him up from .329 to .345. When he was injured, Rose was trailing Matty Alou of the Pirates in the batting race by eight points. Now he leads Alou, as well as everyone else in the majors, by seven points. Charlie Hustle is making big-league batting look almost respectable again.