If anything, Minnesota (4-3) Manager Billy Martin has proved that he comes on stronger than No-Doz. Last week he accused his Twins of playing "sleepy baseball," a prod that awakened them long enough to virtually nail down the title in the West. Helping immeasurably was Dave Boswell who, since being put to sleep by a Martin punch in August, has won six of his eight decisions. Last week he struck out 22 batters and won twice. Also helping were Jim Perry, who won his 20th game, and Harmon Killebrew, who has declined to rest this season despite being plagued by injuries to his ribs, arm, knee and elbow. Killebrew hit four homers, two against the Oakland A's (2-5), to give him 11 home runs in all and 34 RBIs against his team's chief rivals. The Twins beat Oakland 6-3 and 11-3 to compile a 13-5 record against the club. The A's still will finish second, their highest placing ever, but Owner Charlie Finley has already indulged in his favorite pastime by firing Manager Hank Bauer and replacing him with Coach John McNamara. Eight RBIs by Bill Voss and nine by Aurelio Rodriguez gave California (5-3) a lift. But not even a .500 spree by Lou Piniella could keep Kansas City (3-4) ahead of Chicago (6-2). The White Sox swept their second and third doubleheaders in four days and went on to take three of four contests from the Royals and tie them for fourth place. Joe Horlen won twice, and the offense was rejuvenated by Luis Aparicio, who hit .583, and Walt Williams, who hit .366. Seattle (2-5) lost four of six one-run games. "Forty thousand people were cheated tonight—the 40,000 who were not here," said Washington (2-4) Owner Bob Short after a 3-2 win against the Orioles that was watched by only 5,376 fans. The Senators won on a single in the ninth by Ed Brinkman. The victory was the team's 77th, the Senators' highest total in 18 years. Baltimore (4-2) booted six balls in three games but still had a chance to break its own major league mark for fewest errors in a season. Thus far the Orioles have made 92 errors, three fewer than the 1964 team. Boston (3-4) broke its season record for homers, hitting five and increasing its total to 188. And Denny McLain set a Detroit (3-4) mark for shutouts with his ninth of the year. Mike Kilkenny, making up for lost time, pitched his second and third shutouts in two weeks. The only record New York (3-3) was shooting for was a .500 season. Cleveland (4-2) won twice in the ninth, first on a homer by Duke Sims, then on a single by Vern Fuller.
Standings—East: Balt 106-47, Det 86-67, Bos 81-71, Wash 78-75, NY 75-77, Clev 61-92. West: Minn 91-61, Oak 81-71, Cal 68-84, KC 64-88, Chi 64-88, Sea 59-93.
September 28, 1969
No sooner had New York (5-3) established superiority over the East by pulling five games in front than the Mets began looking as inferior as ever. They lost three straight to Pittsburgh (5-5), one on a no-hitter by Bob Moose. The 21-year-old righthander, who brought his record to 12-3, had earlier struck out 14 Phillies. In all, the Pirate staff had five complete games and the batters banged out 81 hits, 15 by Matty Alou. One of those hits was a homer by Willie Stargell, the first given up by the Mets in 23 games and 221 innings. Steve Carlton of St. Louis (3-4) set an alltime one-game strikeout record by fanning 19 Mets, yet lost 4-3 on a pair of two-run homers by Ron Swoboda. Carlton later got his 17th win as Chicago (4-4) fumble-fingered away another contest. A pair of eighth-inning errors—bringing the Cubs' total to 10 in five games—helped make winners out of the Cardinals. The Cubs were also stymied by Mike Wegener of Montreal (4-4), who won for the first time in two months on a three-hitter. Rick Wise and Grant Jackson of Philadelphia (4-5) notched five-hit wins for the Phillies. San Francisco (6-1) and Atlanta (4-3) moved ahead in the West (page 24). Mike McCormick and Juan Marichal of the Giants each won twice, Marichal becoming a 20-game winner for the sixth time. Relief pitching saved the Braves, what with Cecil Upshaw getting two victories, Hoyt Wilhelm one. Reliever Jim Brewer of Los Angeles (3-5) took both ends of a doubleheader from the Reds as the Dodgers for the 37th and 38th times came from behind to win. After errors and puny hitting had cost Cincinnati (3-5) three one-run games, Manager Dave Bristol groaned, "These games bleed you to death." Not bleeding at all was Jim Bouton, who has found new life since joining Houston (3-4). Last week he complemented his 1.44 ERA for the Astros with the strikeout that broke the league mark of 1,122 strikeouts by a team in a season. Larry Dierker won his 20th game and Tom Griffin shut out the Reds on five hits. San Diego (3-4) deflated the Astros' skimpy pennant hopes with a pair of wins, and 19-game loser Clay Kirby stopped the Reds 7-1.
Standings—East: NY 93-61, Chi 89-66, StL 82-71, Pitt 87-72 Phil 61-92, Mont 51-104. West: SF 86-67, Atl 86-68, LA 82-70, Cin 81-70, Hou 78-73, SD 48-105.
Brooks and Brett, Northey and Christian, Spinks and Lampard—these are the names of youngsters being brought up from the minors for a late-season look. For the most part, it is The Charge of the Very Light Brigade, a group of fuzz-cheeks who fade away after taking a few futile swings or watching their pitches disappear into oblivion. Some, though, lose the near-anonymity of mere boxscore listings and make the wire services' stories with their full names. Nowhere was this mass influx of newcomers more evident than among the Yankees, who used five in one game—Frank Tepedino, Dave McDonald, Ron Blomberg, Thurman Munson and John Ellis. Munson, 22, and Ellis, 21, both set up wins last week with late-inning hits. The new recruits include a spate of outfielders such as Bob Brooks, 23, of the A's, Bob Christian, 23, of the White Sox and Scott Northey of the Royals, the 22-year-old son of former big-leaguer Ron Northey. Brooks beat the Royals 3-2 with a homer and 10th-inning single, and Christian had three homers. Northey, who has the speed his father lacked, had two triples and a stolen base in one game and last week hit .444. Impressive pitchers include Ken Brett, 21, of the Red Sox, who won twice in eight days, and Scipio Spinks, 22, of the Astros. Spinks fanned four in two innings and also established himself as a blithe spirit by stealing the feathery headdress from the Brave mascot. Chief Noc-A-Homa. No one, though, made more of an impact than Keith Lampard, 23, of the Astros, who had three hits in four pinch-hitting roles, one a two-run homer in the ninth to beat the Reds 3-2. Now, if he kept that pace up.... Of such wishful things are dreams of next year made.