With a month the season gone by, MINNESOTA still had not lost a series. Everything seems to fall together for the Twins. When Calvin Griffith fired Catcher John Roseboro because he didn't like Roseboro's high salary and low opinion of Griffith, eyebrows were elevated. When replacement George Mitterwald went into an all-round, nonstop slump, leaving rookie Paul Ratliff to catch, grumbling was heard. Then Tony Oliva (.346, 24 RBIs) gave Mitterwald a simple batting tip and the youngster helped beat Cleveland with a home run. Next day Ratliff, who played only 10 games for the Twins in 1963 before being exiled to the minors for seven years, hit another key home run for another victory. Harmon Killebrew hit his fifth homer in as many games and Ron Perranoski (8 saves) figured in five of the last six wins. A year ago Jim Spencer of CALIFORNIA was in Hawaii but not enjoying Waikiki. Struggling in the minors was no joy for the grandson of a former professional ballplayer, Lloyd Spencer, who once hit a home run off a pitcher named Babe Ruth. Last week Spencer was leading the American League in hitting with .377. When he beat New York with two singles and a home run, the homer was the second he had hit in Yankee Stadium—one as a big-leaguer and one as a sandlotter in the Hearst Sandlot Classic. OAKLAND had an odd week. Last year's home-run hero, Reggie Jackson, could have wished it was the week that wasn't. Benched Friday for weak batting (.180) while Joe Rudi (.189 last year) got two hits in a 7-1 win, Jackson suffered a 47-home-run-slugger's ultimate indignity on Saturday. With the game tied 3-3, he was sent in...as a pinch runner. A line drive that left Chuck Dobson's pitching shoulder bulging and discolored may have been the making of Dobson's season. The injury seemed to force him into his old three-quarter-arm pitching groove and for the first time he pitched well. CHICAGO looked like no White Sox anyone had ever seen. They had committed 42 errors while leading the league in hitting (five regulars are over .300). Third Baseman Bill Melton, batting .325, was fielding .896. Released abruptly in his 13th major league season, 33-year-old Jerry Adair criticized KANSAS CITY Manager Charlie Metro in a radio interview. "Any time you have 25 men who disrespect someone as a man and manager, you'll have morale problems," he said. Tony Conigliaro surveyed a MILWAUKEE Ladies' Night and announced he preferred Seattle. "Seattle," he said, "had better-looking women and shorter fences." But the Brewers had a five-game winning streak, including a sweep of a doubleheader on ninth-inning pinch-hit singles in both games. Could Seattle top that?
MINN 18-9 CAL 18-10 OAK 14-16 CHI 11-17 KC 10-18 MIL 10-20
May 17, 1970
A home-run ball traveled 700 feet without ever going out of BALTIMORE'S Memorial Stadium. With the Orioles behind 2-1, Dave Johnson hit the right-field foul pole for a two-run homer. The ball bounced back onto the field and was returned to Kansas City Pitcher Dick Drago. Two pitches later Elrod Hendricks whacked the same ball into the right-field seats. Otherwise it was just another routine come-from-behind victory, like 13 of the 21 Oriole wins. Take Thursday, for example. With two out in the ninth, Frank Robinson belted a three-run homer to give Baltimore a 7-6 victory, its 17th straight over K.C. "It means we have a ball club that wants to win," said Earl Weaver. "I'll give you an idea what kind of club. I call a workout for extra men and the whole team shows up." Royals and Twins alike bombed weakening DETROIT pitchers. Tiger moundsmen allowed 32 runs and 51 hits in five games, and Kansas City scored six runs in the first inning off Mike Kilkenny and Tom Timmerman. Even Bill Freehan's home runs in three straight games couldn't compensate. Angered by the absence of Al Kaline (.327) from the computerized All-Star ballot because of the bizarre system requiring nominations in March, Jimmie Price said, "I tore the ballots up—that's a quote. I threw them in the wastebasket. How could I or anyone pick All-Stars in spring training? I think other player representatives did the same thing. I do know the Tigers never voted." BOSTON'S Reggie Smith had a particularly bad road trip. In Milwaukee, he and Carl Yastrzemski were pelted with beer bottles, wurst and worse. In Oakland, Reggie crashed into the center-field wall and Dave Duncan's hit went for an in-side-the-park home run. NEW YORK already had a pitching problem before long reliever John Cumberland suffered the least heroic-injury of the season. Cumberland sprained an ankle when he slipped on soda pop spilled around the clubhouse soft-drink machine. Ted Williams' WASHINGTON Senators batted .176 for the week and had scored 10 runs on their entire road trip. CLEVELAND'S Sam McDowell said, "This year's team is the best I've ever played with." Then the last-place Indians lost their fourth straight.
BALT 21-8 DET 15-12 BOST 14-13 NY 16-15 WASH 13-16 CLEV 10-16
Cincinnati, defeated twice by the Cubs just when the Braves were moving their streak into double figures, remained calm, beat Chicago and maintained a five-game lead, LOS ANGELES, too, was on a winning tear, with four straight and 10 of 11. The Dodgers swept the faltering Phillies (as they had the Expos earlier) and took two of three from the Mets in Shea Stadium, their first victories in New York since 1968. Willie Davis, slumping badly after his fine 1969 season, seemed to revive after receiving a rest—and batting advice from his wife. "Jeanna told me I was moving my head when I was swinging," Davis said. "She was right. I remembered that Ted Williams article on hitting. I got it out, got in front of a mirror and practiced my swing." Manny Mota came off the bench and made people wonder why he had been there. He delivered two singles and two triples, drove in two runs, and scored three—one on a theft of home. Thirty-nine-year-old Willie Mays of SAN FRANCISCO hit his 605th and 606th career home runs as Miguel Antonio Puente of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, won his first major league victory, 7-1, on his 22nd birthday. The Giants also lost, 14-5 to the Mets and 15-8 to the Expos, in rare evidences of resistance on the part of the hapless East. The West clubs won 26 and lost only 10 during the week; at its end, five of the six East teams were under .500 for the season. On Sunday only one East club was able to win, but that was St. Louis breaking Atlanta's win streak. HOUSTON was 3-2 despite having to use In-fielder Marty Martinez behind the plate in one game. Two wild pitches got past Martinez and then a two-run passed ball. SAN DIEGO won five out of seven as Nate Colbert hit four home runs.
CINN 23-8 ATL 17-12 LA 17-12 SF 15-16 HOUS 14-17 SD 14-18
The CHICAGO Cubs were as streaky as a drunken window washer. After six straight losses had followed an 11-game winning streak, the Cubs suddenly cleaned up on red-hot Cincinnati. They belted out 10 runs in one game against the hitherto overpowering Cincy staff, then followed up with an 8-1 stomping. Billy Williams, who had gone 0 for 15 after an earlier string of 0 for 16, got three hits and two home runs in the first game. Ernie Banks, who hadn't gotten a hit on the road, went three for four and hit his 499th home run. Glenn Beckert had been 0 for 17 but hit .400 against Merritt, Nolan, Gullett, et al. So did Don Kessinger. Jim Hickman's slump ended with two home runs and four hits in eight ABs. Even Pitcher Ken Holtzman went three-for-three and was batting .300. With all their fine pitching, the NEW YORK Mets were in a batting slump—the same one they had been in all season. A rousing .223 as a team, four points ahead of Montreal, the Metropolitans had only one more home run as a team than Henry Aaron had as Henry Aaron. But then they fattened up on San Francisco, 14-5, including an eight-run fifth inning. Art Shamsky, who had slammed a two-run homer earlier in the game, doubled and singled and collected two RBIs in that inning. Result: Jerry Koosman finally got his first win in seven tries. PHILADELPHIA lost two of three to San Diego and two extra-inning games to Los Angeles. Grant Jackson had a 7-0 lead over the Padres in a game the Phillies lost 11-8, and Chris Short dropped an 8-2 game. "Luccehesi has a quick hook," Jackson grumbled about his manager. "I'm used to a four-man rotation," Short complained. Said Lucchesi: "I don't want any alibis from pitchers." Danny Murtaugh of PITTSBURGH said: "Lousy hitting, lousy fielding, lousy pitching. Our hitting is so bad I don't know who to sit down." The Pirates used 33 pitchers in 11 games. In an 11-7 loss Willie Stargell dropped a fly ball, Roberto Clemente fell down on a liner and let in two runs and a Joe Gibbon wild pitch let in two more when the Reds' Bobby Tolan craftily pointed the wrong way to the ball to Catcher Manny Sanguillen. Pirate luck continued: in another 12-6 cryer a strikeout was nullified by a passed ball. ST. LOUIS lost a ninth straight night game, including one in which Bob Gibson had been given a 3-0 lead. MONTREAL'S week was notable for a May snowstorm that canceled a game in Jarry Park.
CHI 15-11 NY 14-15 PHIL 13-16 PITT 13-16 ST. L 11-14 MONT 8-19