July 12, 1958

I sat with Liz down at Buzzie’s Coffee Shoppe this morning. She was already hopped up from two straight days of novel-writing, and probably needed a morning martini more than coffee. When I brought up my nagging concern about the “X-Man”, though, she was all ears and ears.

“Was it his voice?”
“No. He sounded a lot like what I heard, especially over the handy-talkie that night.”
“His build?”
“Nope. Plenty big enough.”
“His story?”
“Like I said, it checks out. Who the hell else would know about sticking Reggie in the scoreboard? He even knew how to spell the Ohio trooper’s name.”
“So what is it?”
“Damned if I know.”
“Well…neither do I.”
“Yeah, I figured.  Except sometimes you sort of…inspire me.”
“Aww. I’m touched.”
“You mean that?”
“Of course I mean that.”
“See? I don’t just like you for your ravishing figure.”
“Mmm…And you haven’t even seen my new bathing suit yet.”
“Where do I buy a ticket?”
You don’t need one, mister.”
“Nice…If there was only a good beach around here.”
“Who says there isn’t?”
“The climate.”
“Well, I’ve heard good things about Stinson. A little ways north of the Golden Gate…Up for a drive?”
“Did you forget? There’s a big game to work today. Braves in town.”
“So when’s their next road trip?”
“Not for like ten days. What’s your hurry?”
“Thought you were in one.”
“Hurrying anything is a bad idea, doll.”
“Sure is. Like believing the first Peanut Killer who walks in the door.”

And with that, my coffee went cold. Talk about spoiling a party.

* * *

No such party problems at Seals today, though. There were lines around the block for bleacher tickets as early as ten in the morning. Milwaukee was on fire but so were we, meaning something had to give.

It wasn’t Antonelli. He did give us a scare when Mel Roach smacked his first pitch over the fence in left to start the game, and Leon Wagner scaled the wall to snatch it back. From that point on, Johnny was unhittable.

Carl Willey was too good, the zero-zero score tightened the grandstand like a cheap Bulova about to snap a spring. Antonelli put one hitter on base in the first five innings, but kept escaping. The Giants had two aboard in the 6th, and second and third with one out in the 7th but got nowhere.

Then Johnny began our 8th with a walk. Up stepped reserve outfielder Jim King, who won a game against the Reds just days ago with a late 3-run blast. Rigney was batting him leadoff on a pure hunch. Willey tried a curve, King timed it and sent it on a mammoth arc into the right field bleachers! The Braves went meekly in the 9th and we were suddenly just two and a half games out.

The Double Play had fans spilling out the door all night. I couldn’t imagine what Cepeda and Gomez were doing down at the Conga Room. And if Liz was typing happily away on her opus, then I was more than happy for her. I just counted my lucky stars she wasn’t a crazed Dodgers fan.

THE SKINNYS

MIL 000 000 000 – 0 4 1
S.F. 000 000 02x – 2 5 1
W-Antonelli L-Willey HR: King GWRBI-King

CIN 010 001 000 01 – 3 9 1
L.A. 001 100 000 00 – 2 10 1
W-Purkey L-Craig GWRBI-Purkey
Their long regional nightmare is over. With the frequently slaughtered Purkey on the hill, the Reds outlast the Dodgers in 14 innings to snap their 12-game losing streak. Big Bob pitches the entire kaboodle and even draws a walk to force in the winning run after Craig helps load the bases by booting an easy dribbler. As if their pitching staff wasn’t overworked enough, tomorrow Cincy gets a Coliseum doubleheader for their troubles.

PIT 104 101 000 – 7 11 2
STL 000 012 010 – 4 15 2
W-Friend L-Mizell SV-Face HR: Green GWRBI-Clemente
From the Department of Ships in the Night: The Bucs give Mizell a pounding and continue their slow climb back to .500, while the Cards resume their free-fall. Errors by Boyer and that man Kasko again give Pittsburgh four unearned runs in the 3rd. St. Louis outhits them but ground into their usual three DPs to kill most of their rallies.

PHI 120 010 001 – 5 10 0
CHI 220 010 10x – 6 12 2
W-Henry L-Semproch SV-ELston HRS: Hamner, Long, Moryn GWRBI-Moryn
Desperate for a win, the Wrigleyites get one, with the help of a Moryn triple in the 5th and Moryn bleacher blast in the 7th.

CLE 301 000 000 – 4 11 0
NYY 000 100 000 – 1 4 0
W-Woodeshick L-Shantz HR: Vernon GWRBI-Colavito
Well how about that? Hal Woodeshick throws his first great game all season and it comes at the perfect time, giving the Tribe two out of three in the Bronx and putting them over .500. Seven of Cleveland’s eleven hits go for extra bases.

CHX 201 001 001 – 5 11 0
BOS 020 001 000 – 3 6 1
W-Wilson L-Delock HR: Battey, Williams GWRBI-Battey
Filling in for the injured Lollar, backup catcher Earl Battey is going exactly that, 4-for-4 here with a homer and game-deciding double as Boston fails to capitalize on the Yankee loss.

K.C. 000 000 011 – 2 10 1
BAL 000 010 21x – 4 9 0
W-Johnson L-Herbert SV-Wilhelm HR: Cerv, Nieman GWRBI-Nieman
Man, never thought the Birds would win again. Late Bob Nieman action settles this one.

DET 001 000 200 – 3 6 0
WAS 000 000 000 – 0 7 1
W-Lary L-Ramos SV-Aguirre HRS: Maxwell, Martin GWRBI-Maxwell
Have you enjoyed your stay, Mr. Kaline? Thank you, it was a pleasure to roll over for you. And please come back to the Griffith Resort and Spa anytime.

National League through Saturday, July 12

Milwaukee 46 36 .561
San Francisco 44 39 .530 2.5
Philadelphia 42 38 .525 3
Los Angeles 42 40 .512 4
Chicago 43 41 .512 4
Pittsburgh 40 42 .488 6
St. Louis 37 43 .463 8
Cincinnati 34 49 .410 12.5

American League through Saturday, July 12

New York 54 28 .659
Boston 47 35 .573 7
Chicago 47 37 .560 8
Baltimore 47 38 .553 8.5
Detroit 42 41 .506 12.5
Cleveland 43 42 .506 12.5
Kansas City 33 49 .402 21
Washington 21 64 .247 34.5
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