Montreal enjoyed perhaps the best week in its brief major league history. The Expos returned home to fan-filled Jarry Park after a successful West Coast trip, beat the Giants three times and extended their winning streak to seven. When Second Baseman Ron Hunt was hit by a pitch for the 34th time this season (his 161st career welt), he slugged Padre Catcher Bob Barton—after prudently ripping off Barton's mask—and touched off a brawl. Although Ferguson Jenkins was deservedly getting most of the attention (page 12), Milt Pappas was helping CHICAGO, too, winning his 15th game of the season. The well-traveled Pappas gave Leo Durocher partial credit: "In Leo, I found somebody who had faith in me after all." Not so faith-inspiring is Joe Pepitone's new purple motorcycle, which he parks outside Durocher's office door. "A monster," Leo calls it. Roberto Clemente missed four games because of a sore shoulder, opposing lefties were causing problems and PITTSBURGH'S division lead shrank to 4½ games. "Willie Stargell's been carrying us all year, and now that his shoulders have gotten tired, it's up to somebody to take over," said First Baseman Bob Robertson. As the Pirates began a road trip with three losses in four games, that somebody was a player to be named later. It was an embarrassing week for the PHILADELPHIA mound staff until Woodie Fryman beat the Dodgers with a five-hitter and stopped the Phils' losing streak at five. Earlier, Chris Short pulled a leg muscle against L.A. and left to the accompaniment of boos. In a 7-0 loss to the Giants, control-minded Rick Wise walked three batters in the third inning and wound up suffering his 10th defeat. Worst of all, rookie Ken Reynolds in one inning walked a man, hit another and threw two wild pitches in a 5-1 loss. "The only thing I missed was a balk," he grumped. ST. LOUIS lost five in a row and was cheered up only by Joe Torre's 200th career homer. "My first home run was in a losing game, and my 100th home run was in a losing game," he said. "At least I won't have to worry about No. 300...for a couple more years." NEW YORK, drawing well despite being out of contention, was trying to buy slugger Nate Colbert from the Padres.
PITT 74-54 CHI 68-57 ST. L 68-59 NY 62-62 PHIL 55-70 MONT 53-71
August 29, 1971
Jim Merritt stayed out of the record books Saturday when he pitched CINCINNATI to a 6-3 win over the Pirates—and he is happy about that. A loss would have made him 0-12, tying a league mark. Last year he was the first Red lefthander in 46 years to win 20 games. Fourth-place HOUSTON was pleased with Jack Billingham's first win since July 16, which was also his first complete game since June 9 and his first shutout this season, period (he beat the Cubs 3-0). "I was trying to pitch too fine," he said, crediting Pitching Coach Jim Owens with convincing him to just throw strikes instead of trying to hit the corners. Why does SAN DIEGO have such a miserable record? Pitching is certainly not to blame. In games in which the Padres got two runs or more, their record was 44-46. In games in which they got less than two runs, their record was 3-35. The club is fifth in the league in pitching, last in almost everything else. Henry Aaron moved past Ty Cobb into fourth place on the alltime RBI list (he now has 1,935), but ATLANTA'S week was spoiled somewhat by a bitter argument in the dugout between Manager Luman Harris and Pitcher Ron Reed, who objected to being replaced by a pinch hitter. They apparently ironed out their differences in a meeting later. "We don't need any internal problems like this down the stretch," said Reed. Claude Osteen won his 12th game for LOS ANGELES, but he was almost as proud of his hitting. "I got new contact lenses about six weeks ago, and I'm seeing the ball better than ever," he bragged. Osteen, Al Downing and Don Sutton have shots at winning 20. "If we have three 20-game winners," said Claude, "I'll guarantee you we won't finish second." Although SAN FRANCISCO stumbled in Montreal, Catcher Dick Dietz remained confident. "We'll win it," he said. "We've been counted out so many times, but our pitchers are hotter than most people think."
SF 74-54 LA 67-60 ATL 67-63 HOUS 63-64 CIN 63-66 SD 47-81
Mickey Lolich was so certain he'd win his 20th game against the Brewers Saturday that he bought six bottles of champagne on the way to the ball park. Sure enough, DETROIT won and the corks popped. "This was more rewarding than winning three games in the World Series," he said. "Winning three in the Series was the result only of a hot week and a half. Winning 20 is something that takes a whole season, and that's more satisfying." Especially for a guy who lost 19 last year. Everybody in BOSTON had a different reason for the team's disappointing performance so far. Carl Yastrzemski blamed himself: "It's eating my insides that we could have won this pennant if I had done better." "The defense is killing us," said First Baseman George Scott. "We lacked a stopper," said Manager Eddie Kasko. At least the Red Sox can brag they've beaten Vida You-Know-Who twice this year. WASHINGTON broke out of its slump, knocked out 56 hits and scored 37 runs in winning four of five games. The four victories were all complete-game efforts, by Bill Gogolewski, Pete Broberg, Dick Bosman and Denny McLain. CLEVELAND fans were staying away in such numbers that the club probably will have its lowest attendance in eight years and second lowest since 1945. Not only that, Manager John Lipon had a big, ugly lump under his right eye. He was taking a drink at the water fountain between innings, a ball flew in, rattled around and hit him on the cheek. Jim Palmer won his 16th game for BALTIMORE and his fifth in a row. The Birds blew one when Catcher Ellie Hendricks let a pitch get by him because he lost it in the lights—in the center-field parking lot. "Some guy in his car with the lights on kept backing up and pulling forward," he explained. Even Manager Ralph Houk was surprised when he found out that NEW YORK has won more games than the crosstown Mets in the last four years. One cheerful note, anyway.
BALT 76-45 DET 67-58 BOST 67-60 NY 63-64 WASH 53-72 CLEV 50-76
Vida Blue wasn't too blue after his 1-0 loss to Boston's Gary Peters, making his record 22-5. "I'm over the pressure of winning 20," said the OAKLAND ace. "Losing a l-O game hurts, but you've got to give credit to the other pitcher." Big news of the week for the A's was their meeting with President Nixon, who told Vida he was "the most underpaid player in baseball" at about $13,000. CHICAGO wasn't pleased over another Nixon pronouncement: that rooting for the White Sox was like rooting for the Senators. "He should check the records before he makes statements like that," said Catcher Tom Egan, brandishing a flyswatter. "He's talking about next year's world champions." Indeed, the Chisox have risen from the basement to third place and last week extended their win streak to six before losing to the Indians. Umpires made life tough for MILWAUKEE. The Brewers played two games under protest because the officials would not allow Outfielder Jose Cardenal to use a Japanese bat, presumably a Yokohama Slugger. And Manager Dave Bristol drew a six-day suspension and a $150 fine for arguing too strenuously with Umpire Art Frantz. CALIFORNIA Board Chairman Gene Autry gave Manager Lefty Phillips and General Manager Dick Walsh votes of confidence, which might mean they'll soon be out golfing with Alvin Dark. Rudy May looked good shutting out the Yanks, and Phillips gave him a vote of confidence: "Rudy's got as good stuff as there is in the league." MINNESOTA'S Jim Perry won his 12th game on June 30. Then he made 11 futile tries for No. 13. He finally cleared the hurdle last week, 8-5 against Baltimore. He was spurred on by a pregame telegram from his dog, Stoke, and Stoke's trainer. "They said they knew I could do it," revealed Jim. "I've been leading kind of a dog's life anyway recently." Cookie Rojas of KANSAS CITY probably will miss the rest of the season because of a hairline fracture of the fibula of his right leg. He was batting .300, sixth best in the league.
OAK 81-45 KC 65-60 CHI 62-64 CAL 60-68 MINN 56-68 MIL 52-72