Every time PITTSBURGH'S Willie Stargell hits a homer, a customer buying fried chicken at the magic moment in Stargell's carryout restaurant gets his order for free. At the rate the Pirate slugger is bludgeoning opposing pitchers, he is going to be handing out a lot of gratis drumsticks. Stargell hit three home runs in one game against Atlanta and another the next night to up his April total to a record-tying 10. "I was just trying my best and balls went into the seats," he said. The Astros sold beer for only a nickel a cup Friday night (9,300 gallons were consumed), but ex-Astro Rusty Staub of MONTREAL had the Houston fans crying in it when he busted a home run to beat the home town 3-2. Staub was batting .370 and the surprising Expos were in first place, at least temporarily. "I'm just tickled pink about the way we are going about our business," said Manager Gene Mauch. ST. LOUIS was happy, too, after Steve Carlton won his fourth straight game, a six-hitter over the Phils. "I feel like I can win again," he said, "and I feel like we've got a club that can win." Newly svelte Joe Torre (198 pounds) extended his season-long batting streak to 19 games, the best by a Cardinal since Vada Pinson hit in 22 successive games in 1969. Ernie Banks came back on the active list and Catcher Randy Hundley was due soon, but CHICAGO was playing sleepy baseball. Manager Leo Durocher talked to his men behind closed doors for more than an hour. "We aren't winning many games, but we're leading the league in meetings," said Second Baseman Glenn Beckert. Then the Cubs beat the Mets 7-5 Saturday despite Tommie Agee's grand slam. Tom Seaver (3-0) continued to be NEW YORK'S mainstay, setting down Cincy 5-2 (with some help from Tug McGraw) and extending his scoreless inning streak to 26 before giving up a run. PHILADELPHIA was getting good bullpen support from Dick Selma and Joe Hoerner, and Manager Frank Lucchesi was not yet ready to throw in the bat boy's towel. "We'll be all right," he said, "and I'm not just trying to con my superiors."
MONT 8-4 ST. L 12-7 PITT 10-8 NY 7-7 CHI 7-11 PHIL 5-10
May 2, 1971
Although his left knee still hurt, Willie McCovey returned to first base for SAN FRANCISCO, allowing Willie Mays to go back to center field, but most of the names in the Giants' lineup were new. Rookie Steve Stone beat the Pirates with a five-hitter, and Ron Bryant shut them out with a three-hitter. Rookie Shortstop Chris Speier was fielding well and hitting over .300. Manager Charlie Fox, pleased with his youth movement and 3½-game lead in the division, said, "I may be more inclined to give the veterans an occasional rest." ATLANTA took three from the Phils, and rookie Third Baseman Earl Williams became the first man to hit a homer into the upper deck of Veterans Stadium. The man he replaced, Clete Boyer, said, "He's got talent and some kind of good bat." Henry Aaron has some kind of good bat, too, and he finished the week just one short of 600 career home runs. LOS ANGELES went out on the road and won six games in seven days, getting good pitching from Bill Singer (who won his first game since breaking a finger last August), Al Downing and Claude Osteen, and good hitting from Willie Davis, off to his best start ever (.387 and nine RBIs). "I feel great," said Davis. CINCINNATI Manager Sparky Anderson called a clubhouse meeting to tell his men to start attacking instead of playing defensively. The Reds, notably Tony Perez and Bernie Carbo, were anemic at the plate. "Naturally, it's hard for me to take," said Anderson. "It's harder for the players. Heck, I went through my whole career hitting like they're hitting now." Larry Dierker, only 16-12 last season but a 20-game winner the year before, brightened HOUSTON'S week a little with a five-hit win over the Cubs. The Astros had nobody batting over .300. SAN DIEGO was going even worse.
SF 14-5 LA 11-9 ATL 9-8 HOUS 9-10 CIN 5-11 SD 5-12
Denny McLain seldom stays dormant for long, and when the volatile WASHINGTON pitcher erupts—usually sooner than later—it is almost always followed by trouble. His latest misadventure came against the Brewers after he allowed no hits for five innings. They got to him for four runs in the sixth, but Umpire Art Frantz's calls got to him even more, especially a ball four on a full count when a third strike would have let him escape the inning without allowing a run. Frantz ejected him from the game for using abusive language. As McLain angrily strode to the dugout, he lobbed the ball into the stands. "This will probably work its way back to the commissioner," he said ruefully. Jim Northrup, The Gray Fox of DETROIT, chewed up the Orioles in two games. In the first he had three hits (including a three-run homer), knocked in the winning run with a single, stole a base, made a nice catch and actually knocked himself out trying to haul in another hit. In the second he drove in three more runs with a homer and two doubles. Said the prematurely graying outfielder, "I don't think I'll ever be a superstar like Mays or Aaron or Mantle." BALTIMORE looked vincible, fielding poorly and leaving lots of men on base. After the unhappy stay in Detroit, the Birds went out to Anaheim where Coach Billy Hunter visited the Angels' clubhouse, started a little horseplay and got slapped by Pitcher Andy Messersmith. However, California was slapped down in two out of three games. BOSTON'S Carl Yastrzemski enjoyed the warm weather, went four for four against the Indians and pushed his batting average up to .362. "Now that I am playing with him and watch him every day," said Luis Aparicio, "I believe Yaz is worth every penny he gets." Sonny Siebert improved his record to 3-0, and the Red Sox victory over Chicago Sunday was their fifth in a row. CLEVELAND needs a stopper, and Sudden Sam McDowell has not been it. Against Kansas City he suffered his third loss without a win. When he left the game he had given up only one hit, but he had walked nine men, three with the bases loaded. "He hasn't been sharp," said Manager Alvin Dark. "We haven't pitched well and we haven't hit well." NEW YORK'S pinch hitters were one-for-28 through Sunday, but the bat-work of Bobby Murcer was some solace. He was hitting .361, and against the Twins at Yankee Stadium he had a single, a triple and a homer and knocked in three runs.
BALT 10-5 BOST 10-6 WASH 10-7 DET 7-9 NY 6-10 CLEV 5-10
Tony Oliva was off on the wrong foot, according to the headline in the Minneapolis Star, but MINNESOTA did not mind. The left-handed hitter was raising his left heel slightly, putting most of his weight on his front (right) foot. He started shifting weight in spring training because his heel was sore, but he hit .405 and kept shifting once the season started. Through Sunday he was hitting .366. KANSAS CITY lost three straight one-run games, then got a nice two-day rest and came back to beat the Indians three times. The second victory was a three-hitter by Mike Hedlund, his third win against no losses. Not much was going right for CHICAGO. Cleanup hitter Bill Melton had not driven in a run in 16 games, and the Red Sox gave Tommy John his fourth straight loss after an opening-day win. John has had trouble in the first inning in each of his starts. "I know we're going to come out of it," said Manager Chuck Tanner, "and nobody's panicking." Good. MILWAUKEE'S offense was so weak that management brought in two new left-handed hitters, Floyd Wicker and Johnny Briggs. "We were wasting pitching good enough to win," explained Dave Bristol.
OAK 14-6 CAL 9-9 KC 9-9 MINN 8-9 MIL 7-9 CHI 6-12