"The Yankee ground crew...which holds the major league record of 42.3 seconds...for covering the field...will now attempt to break that record." While neighbor looked at neighbor in disbelief—and Baltimore's Steve Barber, who was trying to warm up, looked around in disgust—the record-setting ground crew leaped into violent action. One record setter, a little too violent, fell down; before he could regain his feet, the huge cylinder that holds the tarpaulin had rolled halfway up his leg. For a moment it was touch and go whether his co-workers would keep rolling in pursuit of the record and leave their friend's imprint forever-more upon the Yankee infield, or back off. Yankee-haters will be surprised to learn they did the humane thing. Back went the cylinder, out came the fallen and away went any chance for a record. The time was not announced.
"I didn't think a record could count unless it was really raining," said one fan.
"I didn't even know there was a record," said another.
For three innings Barber and Ford pitched scoreless baseball, a pair of very good left-handers separated by 10 years of age and—what eventually turned out to be more important—10 years of big league experience. In the fourth, Barber offered Hector Lopez what Nellie Fox likes to call "the ever-popular hanging curve ball," and Lopez hit it high in the air, down the right-field line, off Jackie Brandt's wildly outstretched glove—and into the crowd for a home run. It was only the ninth home run of the year for Lopez but his fifth in eight games. Sooner or later all the Yankees get the bug.
No. 39 for Maris
In the fifth, Bobby Richardson singled and Maris hit a Barber slider deep into the lower right-field stands, near the Yankee bullpen. Only five of Maris' home runs have been hit off left-handed pitching but there was little question about this one. Brandt started back, digging hard, then slowed and jogged to the low fence, watching the ball catch up with him, pass over his head and, finally, disappear into the eager arms of the crowd.
The final Yankee run came on a walk to Lopez, Clete Boyer's single into center and a ground ball back to Barber, who made the courageous mistake of trying for an inning-ending double play, which missed. The Orioles finally scored with two out in the ninth, forcing Stengel to take Ford out and bring in Bobby Shantz. The big hit was a bases-loaded single by Jim Busby, but then Shantz struck out Marv Breeding on three pitches. The Yankees led, in the series and in the duel for the pennant, one game to none.
"I brought another left-hander in to pitch to their right-handers," said Stengel in the dressing room later, scratching his white hair, "because I didn't want to see those left-hand hitters, particularly that Gentile, come in there."
Despite the Yankee home runs, the Orioles gave all the credit to Ford. He has beaten them 26 times since they came into the league in 1954, and even in what has been a bad year for Whitey, he has been tough on Baltimore.
"I don't know what he throws those other teams," said Walt Dropo, "but the way he pitches against us, I don't see how he ever loses."