I was off the couch and onto Liz’s outside deck like Jack Sprat. Whoever the dark shadow belonged to was gone. Thought I heard some crackling twigs somewhere down the hill but wasn’t sure. I looked around. No tell-tale cigarette butts or matchbook. Not even another torn-off note.
Liz was spooked much more than me. I sat in a chair by her bed most of the night holding a pretty sharp steak knife while she tossed. We went to a waffle place in the morning, took in the last game with the Giants in the afternoon. As you’ll read below, it was their sixth straight hell-raiser and one that finally put the lady in a better mood.
Monday would be a day off for the Giants, then it was back to Section 16 for me against St. Louis on Tuesday. I was ready to get out of L.A. by 5 p.m. Sunday, though. Didn’t feel good about leaving Liz at her place all alone and talked her into staying with some of Daddy’s friends down in El Segundo.
She dropped me at the airport on the way. Never been much for long goodbyes, so I smooched her in the car for a second and promised a phone call. She knew how to take it.
The plane ride north was smoother than the one south. I could tell because the rum and tonic I drank worked like a charm. Got back to my apartment just after dark. Walked in, shut the door and looked around.
Something wasn’t right. Maybe askew. But I couldn’t put a finger on it. Maybe it was the window in the kitchen that was open a crack, the one I was sure I had left closed. Maybe it was the half-eaten apple in the fridge I was pretty sure I hadn’t touched. Maybe the Bacardi was just too strong.
Either way, I had just kicked off my shoes, lit up a Camel Filter and dropped This is Sinatra! on my turntable when I heard heavy footwear on the outside steps. Knuckles rapped on my door. I approached and asked who was there.
I moved the curtain for a look. Saw Gorgeous George and Scallion-Breath standing there, the two cops who grilled me after Opening Day. I opened the door.
“Where you been, Snappy?”
“I don’t know. Out.”
“Yeah. For the whole weekend, it seems.”
“If you already know, why are you asking?”
“Don’t get smart, pal. We got a late tip from a fan who saw you poking through the stiff’s pockets right after you found his body.”
“Well, that fan’s a liar. Who was it?”
“Mind if we come in?”
“Kind of. I just got back, and you’re making me miss “I’ve Got the World on a String” here.
“Got back from where?”
“None of your business.”
“Open the damn door, Drake.”
What the hell. I could enjoy “Three Coins in the Fountain” now while they dug around and found nothing.
Except they didn’t. Scallion-Breath walked over to a little table next to my couch that had a butt-filled ashtray on it. Next to the ashtray was a wallet. The wallet was a brown alligator number, not in too bad shape. And definitely not mine.
“John Martin Blaziecsky Jr.,” said the cop, reading a driver license inside it. “That you, by any chance?”
“Someone broke in here. That window in the kitchen? They planted the thing. I’m telling you, It’s the first time I—”
Gorgeous George already had his cuffs out, and they were finding my wrists.
SF 000 011 005 – 7 15 1
LA 030 100 005 – 9 10 0
W-Craig L-Grissom HRS: Zimmer, Pignitano, Snider GWRBI-Snider
Did this really happen? The Dodgers pulled one of these out, and it wasn’t in extra innings or decided by one run? Yup, and it was the perfect ending to an incredible home-and-home opening series. Early homers from Zimmer and Pignitano, the second one just over Mays’ leaping glove, stake Podres to a 4-2 lead going to the 9th. Johnny is great all game and doesn’t walk a batter, then right on cue in this early Dodger season, falls apart when it counts. Two singles and a walk to begin the inning bring on the exhausted Roger Craig, who gives up a walk and two singles to the next three hitters. After a Mays single five Giant runs are across and this one’s over. At least it looks that way after the first two Dodgers go down against Marv Grissom. But Gilliam slaps a single, Neal walks, and Furillo makes it 7-5 with another single. Hodges walks to load ’em up, here comes the Duke and he swings and Vin cries “She…is…GONE!!!”
MIL 130 000 000 – 4 9 0
PHI 012 000 000 – 3 4 0
W-Jay L-Semproch HRS: Jones, Bowman GWRBI-Aaron
Two of Philly’s four hits leave Connie Mack, but they can do almost nothing else with Joey Jay, and the Braves are back over .500. as they head to Forbes Field…
CIN 030 010 000 – 4 9 0
PIT 000 003 000 – 3 8 1
W-Lawrence L-Witt SV-Acker
…where the Buccos can’t seem to get on track. Every one of their four losses has been by one run. This time a rally in the 6th off Brooks Lawrence makes it close, but Tom Acker enters to shut them down the rest of the way. George Witt has a bad opening start, putting 13 of the 34 Redlegs he faces on base.
STL 000 200 220 – 6 8 2
CHI 100 000 000 – 1 6 0
W-Mabe L-Drott HR: Katt GWRBI-Katt
Ray Katt with a run-scoring double and 2-run homer, and the Cubs may be missing the absence of Dale Long. While the Cards head to the Bay Area, the Cubbies are off to L.A.
BAL 000 040 000 – 4 9 2
NYY 000 001 203 – 6 10 0
W-Trucks L-Wilhelm HRS: D. Williams, Mantle GWRBI-Mantle
Trot-off homers from the Duke and the Mick on the same Sunday? Just beautiful. Orioles seem to have this one, as Loes shuts off a Yankee comeback with two great innings of set-up relief, only to have the reliable Wilhelm give it up. Miranda helps by booting away what would have been the second out. Howard singles, Siebern grounds into a force, and Mantle bombs one into the upper deck.
BOS 201 012 000 – 6 13 0
WAS 000 000 000 – 0 3 0
W-Delock L-Fischer HR: T. Williams GWRBI-Jensen
Not beautiful at all, unless you’re in the ike Delock Fan Club. Ted Williams’ OPS after six games is 2.312.
CLE 000 000 000 – 0 4 0
DET 101 000 02x – 4 9 0
W-Lary L-McLish GWRBI-Harris
Another one of them whitewashings happens at Michigan and Trumbull. Gale Harris fills in for Kaline like a champ with two doubles and a single.
CHX 000 001 200 – 3 9 0
K.C. 100 000 100 – 2 4 0
W-Pierce L-Herbert SV-Staley HR: Power GWRBI-Fox
Tight one, until Nellie’s 2-run double off Herbert in the 7th puts the Pale Hosers ahead to stay, creating an early three-way tie for first. White Sox will be in Detroit while the Yanks and Red Sox duke it out in the Bronx.
National League through Sunday, April 20
American League through Sunday, April 20