So now there came the kind of play that makes all thinking managers wonder if they don't torment themselves needlessly. Fairly drove a ground ball at McCovey near first base. It was a perfect double-play ball, but McCovey never touched it. The ball zipped neatly through his legs and into the right-field corner. Both runners scored, Fairly went to third, and the score was tied 4-4. Howard then hit a sacrifice fly, and the Dodgers were ahead.
When the Dodgers still led by a run after they had hit in the seventh, Walter Alston began to shift to his defensive team. Neal went in to play second base and Gilliam moved to third.
"I don't care which position I play," Gilliam had said earlier. "I just play."
Up in the press box, Cookie Lavagetto, the deposed manager of the Minnesota Twins, smiled when told this. "Don't let them fool you," he said. "Ballplayers hate to move around."
As for Neal, he had twice within the month made crucial errors to lose games. "I think he's sick," one Los Angeles sportswriter said. "I mean it, I really think he's not feeling well."
Sitting in front of his locker before the game, Neal did look thin and nervous, with eyes like a frightened fawn. "When you go into a game near the end, it's hard to get loose. That's what makes it tough. The mental strain? No, I don't think there's any mental strain."
Willie fooled Don
With one out and one on, in the Giant seventh, Willie Mays, having successfully conned Drysdale the night before, rammed a pitch far into the left-field seats. The Giants led again 6-5. To make it worse, the scoreboard showed that Cincinnati had won in 12 innings.
Wally Moon brightened things for the Dodgers by hitting a home run in the eighth. Leo Durocher, coaching at third, nearly knocked him down with a pat on the back. But in the bottom of the eighth the Dodgers collapsed.
There was one out when Felipe Alou hit a ground ball just to Neal's right. For an instant Neal stood there, frozen. Then he moved awkwardly, grabbed the ball and dropped it. Ernie Bowman then hit a fly ball to center. Snider drifted to his left, but the ball, caught in the breeze, drifted too. Snider lunged for it, and missed. Alou scored and the Giants were ahead 7-6.