New York lost consecutive 12-7 games in Boston and Detroit, then returned to its gingerbread stadium, secure there now, and beat the Red Sox twice. Felipe Alou helped by hitting two triples to left field past Carl Yastrzemski. "I've never seen the ball travel so fast here," Yaz decided, BOSTON'S Sonny Siebert beat the Indians 3-2 for his 12th win, becoming the first Sox pitcher since Mel Parnell in 1953 to win that many by the All-Star break. Four of five BALTIMORE wins came on complete games, by Dave McNally, Pat Dobson, Mike Cuellar and Jim Palmer. The four allowed only six runs and 21 hits and now have a combined 47-13 record. Frank Robinson's 13th home run was his 2,500th major league hit. "I can't get very worked up over that," he said. "Lots of guys have done it." Anyway, 45 guys have. DETROIT'S Norm Cash had six RBIs and two home runs in one game and briefly took over the league homer lead. Teammate Mickey Lolich won his 14th game, and his second in two tries against Denny McLain, now of WASHINGTON, who lost his 15th. The Senators' longest winning streak this year ended at six, but the last win was a beauty: 18 hits and a 15-6 pounding of the Indians. "Everything seems to have jelled," Ted Williams said of his club, which promptly jelled to a freeze, losing three of four at Baltimore and two straight to the Tigers. CLEVELAND played 10 games in eight days and lost eight of them. Sportswriters began lambasting Manager Alvin Dark's strategic impulses and, to add injury to insult, Indians Ray Fosse and Sam McDowell were both hurt, so the team did not have even one player on the All-Star squad.
BALT 55-32 BOST 49-37 DET 47-39 NY 41-47 CLEVE 38-51 WASH 34-52
July 18, 1971
Oakland leads by 11½, but Manager Dick Williams is nervous. His team scored only six runs in one 57-inning stretch. Still, the one run the A's scored in 20 innings against the Angels was enough to win the longest 1-0 game in league history. Vida Blue struck out 17 in 11 innings, and Darold Knowles earned the victory when an Angel killer named Angel—Mangual—singled at 1:08 a.m., one out before a curfew would have ended the whole thing with 40 goose eggs. Charlie Finley bought his Angel a $200 suit. CALIFORNIA won six other games, but Manager Lefty Phillips would probably trade them all for a little peace. (See page 16.) KANSAS CITY won four times but scored only 12 runs in an eight-game stretch. When the hitting started at last, however, the biggest belts came from the majors' smallest package. Fred Patek, 5'4", hit for the cycle as the Royals handed the Twins their sixth straight loss, 6-3. "What's your home-run pitch?" someone asked Patek. "I don't know." he replied. "I don't hit enough of them." MINNESOTA is the certified bust of the year. The same team that won the last two divisional championships dropped to within two games of the cellar. Meanwhile, a strange thing happened in CHICAGO where the White Sox had a winning week. Joe Horlen won twice and did not walk a batter in 19‚Öì innings, and Bill Melton took over the league home-run lead with 20. Ten have been with the bases empty, a Melton specialty that has some local wags referring to him as "Napoleon Solo." And MILWAUKEE? "The worst team in 25 years," a Chicago writer said, but the Brewers' ERA is a respectable 3.05. "Pitching is 80% of the game," says Vice President Frank Lane, "and that's where our hopes lie."
OAK 56-31 KC 43-41 MINN 41-46 CAL 42-50 CHI 38-47 MIL 37-48
Pittsburgh won six in a row and jumped from four games ahead to a comfortable nine. Roberto Clemente raised his average to .342, six other Pirates were batting over .300, and Willie Stargell maintained his major league home-run lead, his 30th beating the Braves. It was Stargell's 10th homer against Atlanta this year. NEW YORK was the mirror image of Pittsburgh. The Mets batted .245 for the week while dropping six in a row. But it was a streaky week everywhere. CHICAGO took four straight from the Dodgers, something the Cubs had never accomplished in Los Angeles before, and in the clubhouse after the sweep someone pointed out the team had won 24 of its last 35 games. Cheers went up until a realist mentioned that the Pirates had won 25 of 35. ST. LOUIS had lost 25 of its last 35, and Coach George Kissell suggested, "Better put some Band-aids on those sick bats." The Cards found first aid of a sort in Houston, beating the Astros four straight for their first series win since May. Deron Johnson of PHILADELPHIA hit seven home runs, three of them in one game, giving him 21 for the season. MONTREAL beat the Mets three of four, and in the last game winning pitcher Carl Morton helped himself with a home run.
PITT 57-31 NY 46-40 CHI 47-41 ST. L 46-42 PHIL 39-50 MONT 34-54
After losing four in a row, the SAN FRANCISCO lead had shrunk to 2½ games. Then John Cumberland pitched the team's first complete-game victory in a month and, with a series win over the Dodgers, the Giants popped right back to seven in front again. LOS ANGELES hired a venerable secret weapon, 47-year-old knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm and sent him to Spokane to get his flutters set for the stretch run. HOUSTON won six in a row, then lost five in a row. Apparently with the Astros, pride goeth before a fall. The last win in the streak was an 18-4 rout of the Giants, a club scoring record. A 20-year-old ATLANTA shortstop named Leo Foster played in his first major league game, and he booted a grounder hit by the leadoff batter. In the fifth inning, with two on and one out he bounced into a double play. Then, in the seventh, with the game tied, Foster hit into a line-drive triple play, the first in the league this season. Said Foster of his debut: "It wasn't exactly the way I thought it would be." CINCINNATI broke a seven-game losing streak, beating the Mets 6-4 as Reliever Wayne Granger hit his first major league home run and claimed he called the shot. And what can you say about a 3-year-old baseball team that has won 33 games and lost 57? That it still tries, SAN DIEGO won four in a row, its longest streak of the season.
SF 55-35 LA 49-41 HOUS 43-44 ATL 44-48 CIN 41-51 SD 33-57