July 25, 1958

At least Antonelli was glad to see me. Shook my hand with his non-pitching one and insisted I warm him up in the Forbes Field bullpen. I’d become his accidental good luck charm, you see. Ever since I got him limber in Philly last month, he’d been pitching like a champ and the Giants had hopped back into the pennant race.

Johnny threw another gem tonight, but by the time we boarded the team bus to the hotel, it was the hitters who didn’t want to look at me. Against a journeyman named Bob Porterfield—with the help of Roy Face’s 16th save—we couldn’t score a run to save each other’s lives. We hit into three DPs, left ten on the bases and sent all 22,000 fans of the suddenly scorching Pirates home with a happy, hot glow.

The good news was that I barely watched any of it. Brewster had set up a special phone line to the Dodger press row across the state at Connie Mack Stadium so I could talk to Liz every other inning. What we talked about wasn’t important; the idea was for the Peanut Killer to SEE one of us talking and get flustered about it. Assuming he was around, of course.

“I hate being the only female up here,” said Liz. “Sportswriters are perverted drunken louts. I’m like a walking gas station pinup calendar.”
“How are the Dodgers doing?”
“You have to ask? Look at the scoreboard.”

I turned and did. It was 2-0 Phillies after seven.

“Sure you can’t come visit me after the game?”
“Pittsburgh’s 250 miles away, Liz. Not exactly around the corner.” The line got quiet. I could practically hear her pout. “So no strange letters yet?” I asked.
“Not tonight. Haven’t been any for a few days, actually. Makes me think he’s planning something new. Do you see him in the stands over there?”
I still haven’t gotten a good look at his ugly puss, remember? And it’s awful crowded. If he was here I probably wouldn’t know. “
“This is nerve-wracking.”
“Just hang in there, baby. It’s only a matter of time before he slips up on this trip.”
“I was talking about the jerky writers.”
“Oh. Well, just tell them your boyfriend will make their dentists rich if they don’t cut it out.”
“Thanks…Except my boyfriend needs to be here to do that.”

Bob Schmidt chucked a couple ice cubes at me. “Hey Testa! Go warm Grissom up!”
“Dang it. Gotta go.”
“Thinking about ya, Snap…”
“Yeah. Ditto.”

Grissom never even got in the game and we lost 2-0. When I got back to my room I ordered a couple of room service beers. I took the tray from the teenage waiter and stared at it.

Someone had stuck a folded-up note to the bottom of the empty glass when the waiter wasn’t looking. After I grilled the kid I dropped two quarters in his hand, waited for him to leave and opened the note:

The Braves lost today too. Which is not good. And the Giants put way more runners on base than they had a right to. Get a little more serious about helping them lose, Milton. Or you know what.

THE SKINNYS

S.F. 000 000 000 – 0 6 0
PIT 002 000 00x – 2 5 2
W-Porterfield L-Antonelli SV-Face GWRBI-Clemente

L.A. 000 000 000 – 0 5 2
PHI 000 011 20x – 4 9 1
W-Semproch L-Podres HR: Bouchee GWRBI-Bouchee
So the Dodgers have yet to score in Philly, dropping their second straight 4-0 shutout. Maybe they’ve been playing over their heads all this time. All I know is that they’ve stopped hitting and fielding simultaneously.

CHI 400 003 100 – 8 8 0
MIL 200 000 000 – 2 5 1
W-Drott L-Willey HR: Long GWRBI-Moryn
Second straight effective performance for Herr Drott, and the Cubbies have no problem beating up Carl Willey and tightening the race even more. Hank Aaron has gone cold, by the way, and it’s showing.

CIN 210 000 310 – 7 15 0
STL 000 001 010 – 2 7 1
W-Purkey L-Jones HRS: Bailey, Cunningham GWRBI-Lynch
The patented Sad Sam game returns: terminally ineffective (19 of 39 batters he faces reach base) with zero offensive support. Every time the Cards think they’re out of the second division, they pull themselves back in.

NYY 000 000 001 – 1 3 1
CLE 040 400 20x – 10 12 1
W-Narleski L-Shantz HR: Skowron GWRBI-Hardy
Huh?? Ray Narleski with a brilliant 3-hitter, the shutout soiled in the 9th by a Moose Skowron homer. Ready to take advantage, American League?

BOS 030 020 000 – 5 6 1
CHX 000 700 41x – 12 17 0
W-Latman L-Delock HRS: Landis, Lollar GWRBI-Landis
Uhh…nope. The Pale Hose turn around a 3-0 Ike Delock lead by plating seven runs in the 4th, capped by a Jim “of all people” Landis grand slam, as Boston blows their chance.

BAL 200 001 002 – 5 8 0
K.C. 211 012 00x – 7 12 0
W-Terry L-O’Dell HRS: Williams, Nieman, Boyd, Triandos, Carrasquel GWRBI-Tuttle
Er…another time maybe. The Birds belt four homers, but they’re all solo, while the A’s rack up five doubles, a triple and homer of O’Dell and go ahead in the seasons series, 9-8.

WAS 020 002 000 – 4 8 2
DET 300 101 00x – 5 8 0
W-Lary L-Clevenger HRS: Zauchin-2, Lemon, Bolling GWRBI-Bolling
The Nats threaten to win their 30th game but can’t come back enough against Lary. Frank Bolling’s 3-run upper deck blast after a horrible Rocky Bridges error helps Detroit get back to within one game of .500.

National League through Friday, July 25

Milwaukee 52 42 .565
San Francisco 51 44 .537 1.5
Philadelphia 48 45 .516 3.5
Chicago 50 47 .515 3.5
Pittsburgh 47 47 .500 5
St. Louis 44 48 .478 7
Los Angeles 45 50 .474 7.5
Cincinnati 41 55 .427 12

American League through Friday, July 25

New York 64 32 .667
Boston 54 40 .574 9
Baltimore 53 44 .546 11.5
Chicago 51 46 .526 13.5
Cleveland 48 49 .495 15.5
Detroit 47 48 .495 15.5
Kansas City 38 57 .400 25.5
Washington 29 68 .299 35.5
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