Mighty BALTIMORE was suffering from bad hitting, beanballs and even defeat. In their first tour of the West this year the O's went 4-5 and hit barely over .220, and Paul Blair required surgery for "multiple facial fractures" from a Ken Tatum fastball. Blair, who had been complaining about getting nothing but breaking stuff this season, said, "I was guessing slider and he threw it hard and the ball rode in on me." NEW YORK, meanwhile, was creeping up on the Birds with a five-game win streak. Ralph Houk was so pleased that, as Fritz Peterson told it after a victory over Kansas City, "When we tied the score I leaped up and put my finger in Ralph's eye. He just laughed." The Yanks couldn't even complain about their streak-ending loss to the White Sox Sunday—it drew 65,880 fans, the largest baseball crowd in five years. DETROIT'S Al Kaline, whose jaw had to be pried open by Willie Horton so he wouldn't swallow his tongue after colliding with Jim Northrup recently in the outfield, stroked his 2,500th hit, and Horton drove in his 500th run. When Kaline hit his milestone single he asked the nearest umpire, "How about getting me the ball?" "Why?" asked the ump. Mike Andrews of BOSTON had a 10-for-14 hot streak as the Red Sox won everything that wasn't rained out. The three most consistent WASHINGTON hitters of last year—Frank Howard, Eddie Brinkman and Del Unser—were, respectively, 36, 31 and 51 points below their '69 averages. CLEVELAND enjoyed a five-game winning streak, but Owner Vernon Stouffer admitted he was in financial trouble. He said the Indians must draw at least 900,000 this season (last year they drew 619,970), and added, "This is a fast-changing world. It's not just a baseball crisis. It's affecting all corporations." And so it was—Dean Chance was shifted to the bullpen.
BALT 36-18 NY 31-24 BOS 25-25 DET 24-26 WASH 24-28 CLEV 21-29
Luis Tiant had an injured back, Dave Boswell was on the trading block and Jim Perry and Jim Kaat had been beaten 5-1 in successive games. So MINNESOTA came up with 19-year-old Bert Blyleven, who last year at this time was a starter for Garden Grove (Calif.) High School. The first batter to face him in his debut against the Senators homered to right, but Blyleven went on to win 2-1 with help from Ron Perranoski's 13th save. CALIFORNIA bullpen ace Ken Tatum sent a letter to the Orioles apologizing for beaning Paul Blair and plunking Boog Powell: "I admit I did smile, just at the sight of such a big man scrambling to get out of the way. Smiling at Powell had nothing to do with hitting Paul." OAKLAND lost Saturday but also attracted the team's largest paid attendance ever, 48,758, by giving away green bats which—as the local radio announcers kept assuring listeners—were "legal" for Little League use. KANSAS CITY lost six straight, including Jim Rooker's bid for a no-hitter against the Yankees. Horace Clarke broke up the no-hitter in the ninth, but Rooker held on until the 12th, when Clarke's sacrifice fly beat him 2-1. CHICAGO still got few timely hits. "We don't have the killer instinct," said Manager Don Gutteridge. MILWAUKEE was encouraged by Bob Bolin's complete game, the team's first since mid-May. "Wes Stock has been working with Bobby, and Bolin's been very receptive to him," said Manager Dave Bristol. "That boy sure pitched good. Damn, he pitched good." He lost, though.
MINN 34-15 CAL 33-20 OAK 29-25 CHI 20-33 KC 19-33 MIL 16-36
Chicago was still getting its share of wins on hitting, especially Jim Hickman's in the clutch, but things were looking up a bit for the Cubs' pitching, too—Ken Holtzman pitched well in the early innings on Wednesday for the first time in weeks. Holtzman had been having such first-, second-and third-inning troubles that the Cubs were considering warming him up twice before the game—or "maybe," said Pitching Coach Joe Becker, "we should start him in the fourth inning." NEW YORK lost four in a row. Against the Braves, Tom Seaver got the first 10 men out, gave up a single, slammed down his resin bag in anger over that imperfection and went on to lose 3-1, his fourth straight setback and fifth in his last six decisions. PITTSBURGH moved into second place with shutout pitching by Bob Moose, a high compliment from Chris Canizzaro ("the Pirates are as tough if not tougher than Cincinnati") and, on the other hand, execrable base running. In a 14-8 loss to San Diego, for instance, Matty Alou and Richie Hebner managed to convert their successive singles into a double play—Alou stumbled rounding second and was tagged out, and then Hebner was trapped off first. The Padres' Pat Dobson beat ST. LOUIS 3-2 Friday and said, "That was the worst stuff I had all year." Massa, the 40-year-old gorilla at the PHILADELPHIA zoo, sent the Phillies a telegram offering his services as catcher after the total of injured Phillie receivers mounted to four. But the Phillies went to their bullpen and activated 32-year-old Coach Doc Edwards, who required a second effort to settle into his crouch in the late innings but picked up three hits as the Phillies won. The Phillies also installed three Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs, from Paradise, Pa., atop their home dugout. Coco Laboy of MONTREAL preferred reading his new miniature Spanish-version Bible on the plane to Atlanta, where he broke the Expos' 11-game losing streak with a ninth-inning homer off Hoyt Wilhelm. But he said, "A Bible is not lucky. You don't ask God to help you play games."
CHI 28-21 PITT 27-28 ST. L 24-26 NY 25-28 PHIL 23-29 MONT 19-33
Nothing much new in CINCINNATI, unless you call Tony Perez' 18th, 19th and 20th homers, Johnny Bench's 16th, 17th, and 18th homers, Jim Merritt's 11th win and Wayne Simpson's eighth win new. At their present paces Merritt will win 33 games and Perez will hit 60 home runs. ATLANTA beat Tom Seaver for the first time since May of '68, behind Pat Jarvis, who said he won on "body English"—referring not to all the times he fell to his knees after releasing the ball but to the gyrations he used coaxing Cleon Jones' long drive foul in the eighth. "I hope to stay close to Cincinnati," said LOS ANGELES' Walt Alston, "and then make a run at them when Bill Singer gets back." Claude Osteen's eighth win kept the Dodgers barely within running distance. The ERA of HOUSTON'S Jim Bouton has been off since his book Ball Four began to cause shudders of outrage because of its violation of locker-room privacy, but his ESP looks pretty good. After Tom Griffin finished his pregame warmups Thursday, Bouton told Coach Buddy Hancken, "Tom's going to pitch a six-hit shutout tonight." And he did. No one pitched any kind of shutout for SAN FRANCISCO, whose defense yielded an average of eight runs for the week. The Giants looked like they were trying to challenge SAN DIEGO for next year's No. 1 draft choice. The Padres won three straight, getting two homers from hot-hitting Clarence Gaston, and exercised the prerogative of last year's tailender by drafting Catcher Mike Ivie of Decatur, Ga. "He will be playing in the big leagues before he is old enough to vote," said a Padres' spokesman. They probably didn't realize in San Diego that you can vote in Georgia when you're 18—but then Ivie, who is 17 now, says he thinks he'll be up to the bigs in a year and a half.
CINN 40-15 ATL 29-22 LA 30-24 SF 25-30 HOUS 25-31 SD 25-33