While DETROIT and CLEVELAND had their differences (page 18), all was quiet in BOSTON. Since June 1, the Red Sox have won only six of 16, dropped six games behind rejuvenated BALTIMORE and made a prophet of Oriole Manager Earl Weaver. When the Red Sox led by four games, Weaver refused to panic. "Wait 'til June 16," he said. "By then we'll be four games on top." On June 16 the Orioles were four games in front. Boston Shortstop John Kennedy, who was 10 for 32 while filling in for slumping Luis Aparicio, was about the only Red Sox having fun. Carl Yastrzemski had an anemic .224 batting average for June with only four RBIs. Pitcher Sonny Siebert, who was 9-0 heading into the month, lost four straight. "I just don't have that super feeling I had earlier," he said. Maybe the Orioles' Mike Cuellar has captured it himself. He beat the Yankees for his ninth win in a row, his 11th of the season and his eighth complete game. He is going so well that teammate Pat Dobson has taken to wearing his socks for luck—which is what he got in a 3-1 victory over NEW YORK. The winning margin came when Ellie Hendricks' fly ball bounced off Bobby Murcer's glove and over the fence for a homer. WASHINGTON'S Denny McLain was bombed out by Oakland, his seventh straight loss and 10th in his last 11 decisions. Said McLain, who now has given up 18 homers en route to a 4-12 record, "Nothing like this has ever happened to me before."
BALT 40-22 DET 37-29 BOST 35-29 CLEV 30-34 NY 30-36 WASH 23-39
June 27, 1971
The action on the field was less interesting than the growing hostilities in the CALIFORNIA clubhouse. Would Owner Gene Autry, the old singing cowboy, elect to negotiate or shoot it out? Did Chico Ruiz really show the bomb to Alex Johnson? Hawkish stuff, and just about balanced by the dovish Angels afield. Johnson did stir himself long enough to beat Kansas City with a homer, but the Angels were 2-3 for the week and withdrawing rapidly toward the cellar—a safer place, some said, than the clubhouse. On another front, MINNESOTA was assaulting first place. Led by Tony Oliva, the majors' hottest hitter, the Twins won six straight—including four one-runners. Typically, Oliva's homer in the ninth tied Chicago 1-1, a two-out single by George Mitterwald beat Chicago in the 10th. Says Oliva, who leads the league in batting (.383), homers (16) and hits (90), "Maybe this is just my year." Still, thanks mainly to Mike Epstein, the Twins did not gain on OAKLAND. Against his old Senators, Epstein hit four homers in a row—two in one game, two in the next. "I didn't get any special satisfaction," said Epstein, with a satisfied smile. KANSAS CITY, now known as "The Big Blue Bus"—that is what the team rode around in during spring training—rolled along on Dick Drago's second straight shutout. "We are getting better, aren't we?" asked CHICAGO Manager Chuck Tanner after a 6-5 loss to Detroit. Well, yes—or perhaps getting closer. The White Sox lost four one-run games for a season's total of 16. In MILWAUKEE the big news was Ten-Cent Beer Night; one could purchase a 10-ounce cup of beer for only a dime. One chap bought 130 cups. He and his chums were out of their cups by the sixth inning and the Brewers lost 6-2 to Oakland.
OAK 44-22 KC 35-27 MINN 34-33 CAL 31-38 CHI 23-38 MIL 23-38
Those familiar with the life and times of Joe Pepitone were eager to see what crazy stunt he would pull in June. It was in June 1969 that Pepitone packed up his hair dryer and left the New York Yankees. It was in June 1970 that he pulled the same act with the Houston Astros. Well, in June 1971 the hair dryer is staying at home in CHICAGO. Pepitone is hitting the baseball often and hard and, as a result, the Cubs are closing in on the division leaders. At week's end Pepitone was hitting .350. Moreover, he had 31 hits in his last 70 at bats for a .442 average and a 19-game hitting streak (covering 13 Cub victories). "In Yankee Stadium I went for the short foul lines," says Pepitone, "but in Wrigley Field I'm a spray hitter." Also a power hitter. ST. LOUIS continued to lose games—15 out of 20 in June, worst record in the league. The Cardinal pitchers had only two complete games all month and Coach Vern Benson said of Coach Barney Schultz: "He's the only pitching coach who has to have calluses removed from his feet because he makes so many trips to the mound." PITTSBURGH maintained its division lead but continued to fall behind in the All-Star Game voting, partly because the union ushers at Three Rivers Stadium refused to distribute the ballots. Even Willie Stargell, who has more homers (24) than the entire Houston team (21), is struggling to win an All-Star position, NEW YORK continued to hang in contention. Outfielder Mike Jorgensen, in his first start since being recalled from Tidewater, homered twice to help beat Los Angeles 7-2, while Gary Gentry stymied Philadelphia 2-0 with a two-hitter. MONTREAL lost 11-3 to its Winnipeg farm but won both times on Canadian TV. PHILADELPHIA Manager Frank Lucchesi called a 15-inning, 6-5 loss to the Mets "the worst exhibition I've seen," which is impressive considering the exhibitions Lucchesi has seen in Philly.
PITT 43-25 NY 37-26 ST. L 37-32 CHI 34-33 MONT 26-35 PHIL 26-39
As SAN FRANCISCO continued to fritter away big early leads, everybody at home seemed on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The Giant radio announcers ran a contest to name a good-luck charm—a walking toy that, hopefully, would help the team end its slump. And the Chronicle interviewed all sorts of psychologists and astrologists in an attempt to find the cure for the June Swoon. All the Giants needed was a healthy dose of last-place SAN DIEGO. On Friday, Juan Marichal beat the Padres with his first complete game in four starts. And in a doubleheader, after San Diego scored five runs for a 9-5 lead, the Giants came back with five of their own in the ninth for a 10-9 win. San Francisco could not rest easy; LOS ANGELES was on the move. Even with Pitchers Claude Osteen and Bill Singer ailing, the Dodgers won seven of nine to pull within seven games of the lead. One reason for the surge was Pitcher Al Downing, a Yankee castoff who shut out the Mets 2-0 and now is 7-3. Another was Don Sutton, who gave up only one hit—Jimmy Wynn's double—an a 4-0 win over HOUSTON. Slipping ATLANTA came up with a momentary stopper in Phil Niekro, who knuckled his way to a 9-3 victory over CINCINNATI, which is finally beginning to make rumbling noises. First Baseman Lee May, the "Big Bopper" to Red fans, had a fine week: 12 hits, 14 RBIs and five homers. Pitcher Jim McGlothlin beat the Braves in his first complete game since last June 14, and young Don Gullett shut out the Cards 1-0 on four hits. In the eighth he got Matty Alou on strikes, with the tying run on third. "He went after Alou like Patton went through Africa," said Catcher Pat Corrales.
SF 45-25 LA 37-30 HOUS 32-35 CIN 31-37 ATL 31-40 SD 23-45