The METS' Ed Kranepool did not much care for the way rookie Third Baseman Tim Foli's practice throws were bouncing off his shins at first base, so he decided to protect himself by excluding Foli from the infield warmup before the first inning of a game with the Phillies. Nettled by the slight, Foli informed Kranepool of his thoughts in the dugout. He also shoved him. Kranepool responded by punching Foli in the eye. This nettled Manager Gil Hodges, who called them together after the game (a 3-2 loss). "It's finished and forgotten," said Hodges later. "Well, maybe it's not forgotten, but it had better be finished." The loss to the Phillies also finished the Mets as the division leaders. They were succeeded by the soaring CARDINALS, winners of five in a row and nine of 10. Their Lou Brock took over as the league's leading batter as he hit in 25 straight games and in 41 of his team's 47. The CUBS were sinking about as fast as the Cardinals were rising, and rumors about Leo Durocher's future were flying. Team Vice-President John Holland called a press conference to say Manager Leo was staying; then, after a 10-0 loss to the Cardinals, he called another conference—alone with Durocher. PHILADELPHIA Manager Frank Lucchesi tried a five-man infield against the Mets in a bunting situation. The bunt sign was then called off. "Sometimes," said Lucchesi, "you got to manage the other guy's team for him." The PIRATES' Steve Blass read the horror novel The Mephisto Waltz before shutting out the Reds. "I was so scared after reading that book I had to go out and pitch hard," he said. It took MONTREAL 51 games to get 18 wins a year ago. The Expos made it in 36 this time.
ST. L 30-17 NY 27-16 PITT 27-19 MONT 18-21 CHI 21-25 PHIL 16-28
Clete Boyer, recently of the ATLANTA Braves, let it all hang out. Manager Luman Harris cannot manage, said he, and the coaches—except Eddie Mathews, who should be managing—cannot coach. Finally, said Boyer, there should be no place in baseball for people like General Manager Paul Richards. In short, Boyer did not want to be a Brave anymore—and by the end of the week he wasn't. Richards agreed to put him on waivers and, if no one claimed him, to grant him an unconditional release. Boyer was outspoken right up until the meeting with his boss. "This is the first time I've gone first class all year," he said of the flight that brought him to Atlanta. But afterward, he was more reflective. "I guess," he said, "sometimes I talk too much." SAN FRANCISCO'S Juan Marichal was outspoken, too, but not about his employers. "The Los Angeles people don't show any class," he said, after listening to a round of catcalls from Dodger fans. "I guess it's because I beat them all the time." He did again, one of two Giant wins in a three-game series distinguished by history-making events. Willie Mays celebrated his 20th anniversary in the big leagues and was given 20 cakes by the DODGERS to mark the occasion. He then went out and scored two runs against them to tie Stan Musial as the National League's alltime run scorer, with 1,949. Stealing some of the spotlight, the Dodgers' Maury Wills celebrated his 2,000th major league base hit. SAN DIEGO Manager Preston Gomez was playing it cute against HOUSTON by warming up righthander Al Santorini in public and lefthander Dave Roberts in the secrecy of the clubhouse. So Houston Manager Harry Walker, expecting Santorini, played his left-handed lineup. Santorini pitched to one batter, then Gomez brought in Roberts. Walker hastily inserted some right-handed batters and, after all this, San Diego lost 2-1.
SF 34-14, HOUS 24-22, LA 24-24, ATL 22-26, CIN 19-28, SD 13-34
That game Friday night in Boston between the RED SOX and the A's had it all—the leaders of the East against the leaders of the West; baseball's two hottest pitchers, Vida Blue (10-1) and Sonny Siebert (8-0); and the return in enemy uniform of Dick Williams, the last manager to win a pennant for the Red Sox. "I have no animosity toward anybody," said Williams as he turned Blue loose on the team that fired him less than two years after his 1967 pennant win. Boston's largest crowd—35,714—in three years showed up for the showdown. Williams and Blue were the losers 4-3 as Rico Petrocelli hit two homers and Siebert made it nine in a row. The Red Sox stayed three games in front of BALTIMORE, which got shoddy service from two-thirds of its pitching staff's Big Three. Dave McNally and Jim Palmer were driven to cover in successive losses to CLEVELAND and Minnesota. Only Mike Cuellar, now 6-1, continued winning. He beat the Indians 3-2. "It's nice to beat Alvin Dark," Cuellar commented afterward in obvious reference to the Cleveland manager's early-season observation that Mike's fastball "couldn't blacken an eye." Dark, said Cuellar, "talks too much." Dark's hillbilly pinch hitter, Gomer Hodge, concluded that maybe he, too, talks too much. The baseball writers, leaping on his North Carolina accent and folksy ways, have made him into an Ozark Ike character, Hodge says. "When I say ain't, they jump on that and make it look like I ain't got no grammar." Denny McLain of WASHINGTON was mercifully silent after suffering his third consecutive loss. The YANKEES were losing—nine times in 11 games—and DETROIT winning—nine times in 10 games.
BOST 29-16, BALT 25-18, DET 25-21, CLEV 20-24, NY 19-25, WASH 17-29
Alex Johnson, an Angel in name only, asked for a conference with CALIFORNIA Manager Lefty Phillips, who had benched him for not hitting, not fielding, not hustling and not being nice. Two hours later, Johnson was back in the lineup against OAKLAND, banging out three hits, including one that won the game. Phillips said the somber outfielder had promised to try harder. "I'm giving him the chance to be the player I thought he was," said Phillips. The A's Reggie Jackson, who was in a Johnsonian sulk for much of last season, was hitting home runs (numbers eight and nine) and trying—not always successfully—to be nice again. "My attitude is better," he said. "Last year I was thinking in my own little circle." MINNESOTA'S Harmon Killebrew, who is always nice, hit his 493rd home run, tying him with the late Lou Gehrig for 10th place on the alltime list. But despite winning three out of four, his team still trailed the A's by seven games. MILWAUKEE'S Roberto Pena beat the Twins one day with a bases-loaded triple that looked like a single until it "whooshed" by a flabbergasted Tony Oliva in right field. Pena is good at bases-loaded whooshes. Last year he got a grandslam home run out of a pop fly when Detroit Outfielders Al Kaline and Jim Northrup collided under it. "I have no secret," said Pena modestly. The WHITE SOX' secret (for staying in last place) is inexperience in the infield, says Manager Chuck Tanner. "You got to expect they aren't going to catch them all." They don't. KANSAS CITY Pitcher Ken Wright saved himself a trip to the minors by shutting out the Senators Friday night. It was his first major league win as a starter, his first complete game and his first shutout.
OAK 32-17, MINN 24-23, KC 21-22, CAL 23-25, MIL 18-24, CHI 16-25