Wilbur Wood pitched a two-hitter and a four-hitter to win his 12th and 13th games—both on the same night. Completing a suspended game, Wood went five innings and held Cleveland to two hits and one unearned run as the White Sox finally won in the bottom of the 21st inning on Dick Allen's three-run homer. After smoking a cigar, Wood shut out the Indians in the regular nine-inning game. Later he came up short, losing to Chris Short of the Brewers. Still, with a 13-4 record, Wood was knuckling along at a 51-victory pace. Rookie Brian Downing's major-league debut lasted one pitch; he was injured as he made a spectacular catch of a foul ball and had to go on the disabled list.
Minnesota won five of six and closed to within two games of the White Sox, but check this strategy: In the eighth inning against the Tigers, Manager Frank Quilici takes out Harmon Killebrew for a pinch runner. To replace Killebrew at first base, he calls on Joe Lis. So there is Lis, with a .152 average, batting in the 10th. And there is Lis hitting a home run to win the game.
Rookie Gene Garber pitched two quick complete-game victories over Boston and Baltimore that pleased Kansas City. "He pitches so fast," said Manager Jack McKeon, "that our infielders don't have time to go to sleep." California Infielder Jerry DaVanon has spent most of his time checking the water cooler, picking up loose gloves, pitching batting practice, warming up the pitcher, etc. He finally got to start, and one night his three hits helped beat the Yankees. Oakland's Ken Holtzman, who had pitched two National League no-hitters, held New York hitless until Matty Alou singled with two out in the seventh, but Jim Ray Hart knocked Holtzman out of the game in the eighth when his line drive smashed off Ken's leg. X rays revealed no damage.
At one point Texas was tied with Wilbur Wood, each with 13 wins. Then the Rangers won three straight. Sixth place, however, remained in their sole possession.
CHI 27-17 MINN 26-20 KC 29-23 CAL 25-21 OAK 25-25 TEX 16-28
While John Hiller twice saved games for Joe Coleman, Outfielders Willie Horton and Al Kaline returned to the Detroit lineup after extended periods on the injury list. Kaline was hitless but Horton went 5 for 9 and raised his average to .366. In keeping with his irascible image, Manager Billy Martin, no music lover, complained that the organist at White Sox Park had interrupted Mickey Lolich's concentration by playing just as Lolich began his windup. It was Martin's fourth protest of the season against league organists.
Fritz Peterson won twice for the Yankees, but Manager Ralph Honk was not happy. After watching California's Bill Singer beat his team easily, Houk complained that Singer, like Cleveland's Gaylord Perry, had come into the American League with moist and illegal substances on his fingers. "It just burns you up to see another one of them in the league," groused Houk, who undoubtedly wishes he had one himself.
Baltimore's Jim Palmer, who throws dry, not wet, heat, escaped from probable disaster in Kansas City. With one out in the eighth inning, speedy Amos Otis on third, mighty John Mayberry at bat and the Orioles leading 3-2, Palmer uncorked a wild pitch that flew against the backstop. Amazingly, the ball boomeranged off the concrete wall and came right back to Catcher Andy Etchebarren, who flipped it to Palmer for an easy tag on Otis at the plate. "It was a good time to reach into my bag of tricks," said Palmer.
So many Boston players are injured that Manager Eddie Kasko had to make up five different lineup cards one night. The struggling Brewers beat the White Sox twice, drawing crowds of 22,321 and 31,836. "Patience, patience," said Ken Aspromonte, the Cleveland manager. How long do you have to wait? After five losses in six games Aspromonte changed his lineup, sending Leo Cardenas to shortstop, John Ellis to first base and Mickey Lolich's cousin Ron to the outfield. Still, Cleveland had a losing streak of four.
DET 26-22 NY 26-24 BOS 21-24 BALT 20-22 MIL 21-26 CLEV 20-29
Never mind that willie Stargell's 15 home runs for Pittsburgh were but one fewer than for all 25 men on the St. Louis roster. The Cardinals were flying—and getting the odd home run, too. The most spectacular was a pinch-hit grand slam by Tim McCarver that sent the Astros to a 6-2 defeat. The team that was once 5-19 has won 13 of its last 15 games, and Cardinal relief pitchers have not been charged with a run in their last 22 appearances, a total of 30 innings. Their 13 saves match the club's total for 1972.
Right now the Phillies might consider a Carlton-for-Wise retrade. Rick Wise won two more games for St. Louis and has a strong 7-2 record. Steve Carlton lost for the fifth time in his last six starts as his record dropped to 5-7. In a 9-4 loss to the Dodgers, Carlton gave up 13 hits and six runs in just five innings. Besides losing five straight games, the Phillies also lost their best hitter for two weeks when Outfielder Bill Robinson fractured his right thumb.
The Pirates finally began to move with help from an unexpected source: Shortstop Jackie Hernandez. For 36 games Hernandez never picked up a bat, and the Pirates had a 16-19 record. With Hernandez playing regularly, they won six of seven and the normally light-hitting infielder drove in the winning run in a game against the Braves. Onetime Pirate bonus baby Bob Bailey crashed three home runs as the Expos split six games.
The Chicago weather turned hot, and so did Billy Williams. The Quiet Man went 9 for 16 in five games and raised his average to .320, right where it normally is at the end of the season. Besides heckling ex-Manager Leo Durocher, the Bleacher Bums also shattered the decibel count on the North Side with a standing ovation for Henry Aaron and then booed Pitcher Rick Reuschel when he threw three straight balls to Aaron. So then Reuschel threw three strikes past Aaron.
The Mets were shut out twice by the Padres and lost Cleon Jones to the disabled list once again but perhaps regained Willie Mays, who claimed he was ready to play like the young Willie.
CHI 30-20 PITT 23-20 NY 21-23 MONT 20-23 STL 21-25 PHIL 19-29
According to San Francisco legend, the June Swoon annually deflates the Giants' pennant pretensions. Maybe so, but the first-place Giants went two-up on the Swoon and one-and-a-half up on the second-place Dodgers by beating Philadelphia twice. Ron Bryant threw a four-hitter one day and the Bonds Squad smashed out 16 hits the next. Bobby-Bonds led oft" another game with a home run—the fourth time this season—but was also struck out four times by New York's Tom Seaver, who whiffed 16 Giants.
In Los Angeles Andy Messersmith tied John Hiller's major-league record by striking out the first six batters he faced, and Second Baseman Dave Lopes tied another by making three errors in one inning, while Outfielder Willie Crawford began to wonder if the Swoon had moved south. Wielding a top-heavy S-2 bat, Crawford hit .404 in May, with six doubles, five home runs and 21 RBIs but he was 1 for 7 so far in June.
Cesar Cedeno was back in Houston nursing a pulled muscle and the Astros were hurting on the road, losing five of seven, including a 16-8 errorfest at Leo Durocher's old haunting grounds in Chicago. In that debacle Third Baseman Doug Rader's two-out, bases-empty error in the first inning led to a procession of 10 unearned Cub runs.
The entire Cincinnati pitching staff seemed headed for the disabled list. Gary Nolan and Roger Nelson were unavailable because of their arm problems, and on successive nights Jim McGlothlin and Jack Billingham suffered injuries that forced them out in the first inning. Second Baseman Joe Morgan, who produced the winning runs as the Reds won only two of seven games, completed a personal cycle by hitting a home run against Bob Gibson. "Now I've hit home runs off every pitcher I wanted to—Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver and Juan Marichal," Morgan said. How does he rate them? In order, Koufax, Gibson, Marichal, Seaver.
Henry Aaron tied Babe Ruth in extra-base hits (1,356) and also hit his 13th home run, leaving him only 28 behind the Babe's 714, but the sinking Braves lost six of seven. Barring legal and/or league complications, the San Diego Padres will be bugging off to the Capital at the end of the season, which means that Washington now can be first in war, first in peace and last in the National League.
SF 34-20 LA 31-20 HOUS 29-24 CIN 27-23 ATL 18-31 SD 19-33