Four games in three days with the Braves, the Milwaukee mashers just percentage particles in front of us. Meaning for two or three hours today and tomorrow and six on Sunday, I had no time for diabolical killers, angry girlfriends or booze-induced headaches. It was serious baseball time.
Spent the first half half hour today warming up Al Worthington before we faced Spahn in the big opener. The County Stadium parking lot was stuffed with people cooking kielbasas, and the smell was wafting over the outfield walls and making our bullpen brigade batty. Worthington is a good ol’ Alabama boy turning 30 next year who came up with the Giants when they were in New York and earned a spot in the rotation with his decent work. Thought he was going to break for the lot and stab a sausage between every warmup he threw.
The team was jazzed up to see me again and gave me a choice spot to watch the game in the middle of the dugout. When Davenport doubled and Mays waited on a Spahn curve and drove it high and deep and into Kielbasaville in the 1st, I was even allowed to shake Willie’s hand in the subsequent mob scene.
Worthington allowed a double to Torre and two singles to make it 2-1, and after Alou creamed another slow gopher out of the yard in the 5th we were up 3-1 and first place looked very possible again.
Except they don’t call these players Braves for nothing. Spahn smashed his own homer soon after, and after a walk and Covington doubled, Paul Giel relieved to face lefty Bruton. Who singled to tie the game.
It was a warm night when we started but as the barbeques died, cold Canadian air shot across the field and into our faces. The mood changed with it. Mathews hit one over the fence in right with two gone in the 7th that Alou managed to leap and bring back. We cheered the play but had only ten seconds to enjoy it before Aaron lined one way over the bleachers in left. 4-3 Braves.
Spahn was dealing now, smelling his eight straight victory, and Rigney strolled through the dugout to reinvigorate the troops. It may have worked. Cepeda led off the 9th with a double but Valmy Thomas whiffed for the third time. Spahn had a knack for giving up untimely hits, though, and Daryl Spencer took him up the middle to tie the game! Win or lose, cold extra innings, were not on anyone’s wish list.
No need to worry. Marv Grissom took our hill and Eddie Mathews ended things minutes later the way he did against the Pirates on Opening Day: with a leadoff game-winning homer.
The team trudged into the locker room, and as usual, I had to play along with the outrage and depression. As much as I wanted to, how could I tell any of them that because they lost, at least no one would be murdered that night?
S.F. 200 010 001 – 4 7 1
MIL 001 020 101 – 5 11 0
W-Spahn L-Grissom HRS: Mays, Alou, Spahn, Mathews GWRBI-Mathews
L.A. 006 000 100 – 7 12 2
CIN 000 000 001 – 1 8 1
W-Erskine L-Haddix HR: Zimmer, GWRBI-Hodges
The new-look Dodger offense continues to pay dividens, as leadoff man vs. lefties Gil Hodges doubles in two to kick start a six-run 3rd inning off Haddix. Even on a bad day, Frank Robinson still manages to go 2-for-4 with a double. If you check out the league leaders below, you’ll see he has a triple crown going.
CHI 000 010 000 – 1 3 0
PHI 100 202 00x – 5 9 1
W-Cardwell L-Hillman GWRBI-Anderson
So who had Don Cardwell with an 11-3 record at the beginning of August? I say no one.
STL 000 210 000 – 3 6 0
PIT 000 001 000 – 1 7 2
W-Jackson L-Kline HRS: Boyer, B. Smith GWRBI-Boyer
The Bucs were flirting with .500 about a week ago. Now they’re two-stepping with the Dodgers to stay out of 7th.
NYY 100 000 000 – 1 4 0
CHX 000 000 000 – 0 5 1
W-Ford L-Wynn SV-Duren GWRBI-Howard
Please make it stop. Early Wynn throws his first good game in a month and loses anyway because he’s facing the 17-3 Whitey Ford and the Yanks are able to get an Elston Howard sac fly in the 1st while Chicago gets squat out of seven or eight similar scoring chances.
BOS 100 000 000 – 1 3 1
CLE 010 010 02x – 4 7 0
W-Bell L-Delock HRS: Wertz, Colavito
The Red Sox take their road woes to Cleveland where they get ding-donged by Bell and bombs by Vic and the Rock. For Colavito, it’s his 27th after a long dry spell.
BAL 000 010 000 – 1 5 0
DET 000 000 000 – 0 4 1
W-Portocarrero L-Moford GWRBI-Miranda
He smokes a cigar on the mound. Shutouts beg to be pitched by him. He is the most interesting Baltimore player in the world. Arnie with whitewash no. 6, tops in both leagues, and like the game at Comiskey, the only run comes home on a sac fly. Things get heroic in the 9th when Dick Williams robs Zernial of a game-winning homer, but this was Arnie’s day.
WAS 102 001 100 – 5 8 0
K.C. 000 005 10x – 6 10 0
W-Garver L-Constable SV-Gorman HRS: Sievers-3, Cerv, Maris GWRBI-Ward
And the best game in the league goes to the one between the worst clubs in baseball. Rockin’ Roy Sievers jacks his 39th, 40th, and 41st homers of the year and the Nats still lose. The A’s go ahead 5-4 on a 3-run Cerv smash and 2-run Maris mash, then win on a Preston Ward single after Cerv is walked intentionally his next time up. With an 11-game lead in the loss column now, K.C. seems to have 7th place all to themselves.
LEAGUE LEADERS THROUGH JULY!
National League Batting
AVG: Robinson-CIN .353, Mays-SF .352, Aaron-MIL .351, Covington-MIL .341, Groat-PIT .333, Ashburn-PHL .330, Musial-STL .328
OPS: Covington-MIL 1.121, Robinson-CIN 1.118, Aaron-MIL 1.059, Mays-SF 1.010, Cunningham-STL .964, Anderson-PHL .963, Musial-STL .949
HRS: Robinson-CIN 33, Covington- MIL 30, Aaron-MIL 29, Banks-CHC 25, Mays-SF 25
RBI: Robinson-CIN 104, Aaron-MIL 81, Musial-STL 73, Cepeda-SF 70, Mays-SF 69 Banks-CHC 69, Covington-MIL 61
GWRBIS: Boyer-STL 12, Anderson-PHL 11, Banks-CHC 10, Aaron-MIL 10, Robinson-CIN 10
WALKS: Cunningham-STL 86, Mathews-MIL 62
American League Batting
AVG: Williams-BOS .396, Zernial-DET .374, Wilson-DET .333, Minoso-CLE .333, Sievers-WAS .329, Mantle-NY .327, Cerv-KC .324, Kaline-DET .314, Colavito-CLE .312
OPS: Williams-BOS 1.205, Mantle-NY 1.104, Zernial-DET 1.067, Colavito-CLE 1.066, Sievers-WAS 1.053, Cerv-KC .984
HRS: Sievers-WAS 41, Mantle-NY 32, Jensen-BOS 29, Cerv-KC 28, Colavito-CLE 27, Berra-NYY 27, Triandos-BAL 24
RBI: Sievers-WAS 94, Mantle-NY 91, Colavito-CLE 84, Jensen-BOS 82, Cerv-KC 82
GWRBIS: Colavito-CLE 13, Mantle-NYY 12, Doby-CLE 11, Nieman, BAL-11
WALKS: Runnels-BOS 81, Colavito-CLE 72, Mantle-NYY 72, Jensen-BOS 68, Torgeson-CHX 62
National League Pitching
E.R.A.: Witt-PIT 2.76, Cardwell-PHL 2.81, Rush-MIL 2.85, Burdette-MIL 2.97
STRIKEOUTS: Jones-STL 147, Drysdale-LA 123, Podres-LA 113, Cardwell-PHL 113
WINS: Mizell-STL 14-5, Spahn 13-7, Roberts, PHL 12-4, Cardwell, PHL 11-3
SAVES: Face-PIT 16, Paine-STL 12, Elston-CHC 11, Craig-LA 11, Robinson-MIL 9
American League Pitching
E.R.A.: Portocarrera-BAL 1.64, Ford-NY 1.86, Ditmar-NY 2.15, Harshman-BAL 2.86
STRIKEOUTS: Bunning-DET 134, Turley-NY 125, Wynn-CHX 123, Ford-NY 123
WINS: Ford-NY 17-3, Portocarrera-BAL 13-4, Bell-CLE 12-6, Harshman-BAL 12-7, Foytack-DET 12-8, Pierce-CHX 12-8
SAVES: Wilhelm-BAL 11, Staley-CHX 10, Hyde-WAS 10
National League through Friday, August 1
American League through Friday, August 1