In the four weeks before Ralph Houk was reinstated as NEW YORK (2-1) manager the Yankees won four games, lost 16 and were in last place. In the first three weeks after Houk took command, the club won 13 games, lost four and moved into sixth place. "It's not me," said Houk, disclaiming any credit. Yet he undoubtedly was responsible for the revival of Yankee spirit. Like the Yankees of bygone days, they took advantage of every break, utilizing opponents' errors to help beat them. Last week they did that to CHICAGO (1-3), whose defense this season has been worse than Henry Cooper's. During one 12-game span the White Sox committed two dozen errors. The Sox were also hobbled by woefully weak hitting and last week Chicago's most effective offense was built around balks by BALTIMORE (4-1) Pitchers Jim Palmer and Steve Barber. Palmer's came while pitching to Tommie Agee, who hit a home run on the balk pitch—the first homer for the Sox in five games. Barber's balk the next day gave Chicago a 3-2 victory. MINNESOTA (1-4) was averaging 3.6 runs a game as compared to the 4.8 scored a year ago and that 1.2 difference has been costly, for the Twins are 5-10 in one-run games. Two reasons for the decline in scoring: 1) the Twins have been called out on strikes 59 times; 2) Tony Oliva, despite his league-leading .374 batting average, was hitting only .206 against left-handers. DETROIT (2-4), which had moved to within a game and a half of league-leading CLEVELAND (5-1), lost four games in a row, three to the Indians. Ailing Tiger Manager Charlie Dressen sent a telegram to his players before the big series urging them to TEST DADDY WAGS' ARM IN THE FIRST GAME. The test came quickly. Don Wert led off the first inning with a single, tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out by Leon Wagner. "Tell Charlie my arm is making a comeback," said Daddy Wags, BOSTON (3-2) stayed with the long ball and out of last place. The Red Sox hit 10 homers to run the streak of games in which they had homered to 12. The CALIFORNIA (2-2) Angels left Anaheim Stadium, where their 19 home runs in 20 games had enabled them to win 12 of the 20, and on their last road trip hit only five in 10 games—and lost seven of the 10. Al Dark of KANSAS CITY (2-3) told his .205-hitting A's to "go up there swinging." He also decided to play Catcher Phil Roof, an .000 batter. The A's swung at the first six pitches thrown by Mike McCormick of WASHINGTON (2-3) and in a jiffy had three hits and two runs. Still, it was Roof, who hit the first triple of his career and then, with two out in the 12th, his first homer, who won the game. Don Lock of the Senators won two games in the ninth with a homer and single.
Standings: Clev 27-10, Balt 23-15, Det 22-16, Cal 20-19, Minn 17-19, NY 17-20, Chi 16-20, Wash 17-22, Bos 16-23, KC 13-24
Cincinnati's (3-2) resurgence has been even more emphatic than that of the Yankees. Floundering badly, the Reds won only four of 17 games at the start. Then came the magical transformation—with the same manager in charge—that enabled them to hit three times as many homers as before, win 15 of the next 19 games and move from ninth place into the first division. LOS ANGELES (5-0) won on an eighth-inning homer by Ron Fairly, a two-out, two-run single in the ninth by Wes Parker and on a 30-foot roller that had more wriggles than a chorus line. John Roseboro was on second with two out in the ninth when Derrell Griffith's hit rolled fair, then foul, then fair as the Pirates watched helplessly. They felt even more helpless when Roseboro, noticing that no one was guarding home, came all the way around to score the winning run. Claude Osteen shut out NEW YORK (0-4) on three singles, and while Manager Wes Westrum talked about the newfound "togetherness" among his Mets they collectively fell into ninth place. Five-hit pitching by Larry Dierker and two fine relief jobs by Claude Raymond bolstered HOUSTON (3-4). SAN FRANCISCO (2-3) needed strong pitching by Gaylord Perry and Juan Marichal (below) to keep from skidding. Pitcher Ray Sadecki was hit hard for the fourth straight time since coming to the club. Orlando Cepeda, who went to ST. LOUIS (3-2) in the Sadecki trade, was hitting .297 as a Cardinal. With the score 3-3 in the ninth, CHICAGO (2-3) rookie Randy Hundley was awarded first base when the umpire said that ATLANTA (2-3) Catcher Joe Torre had tipped his bat. Bobby Bragan, manager of the Braves, argued that Hundley had deliberately hit Torre's glove himself. Hundley did not dispute the charge, but he did wind up on first and set up the winning run. Superhypochondriac Roberto Clemente of PITTSBURGH (4-3) complained that his bat was "tired" and benched himself. Manny Mota replaced the three-time batting champion and hit at a .625 pace. "Hitting is all mental," said Manager Gene Mauch of PHILADELPHIA (3-3), but after three straight one-run defeats Mauch put his thinkers through a lengthy batting drill after the game. Then, applying speed and muscle—as well as mental effort—the Phils beat the Giants 9-2.
Standings: SF 27-16, LA 25-17, Hou 24-19, Pitt 22-18, Phil 20-18, Cin 19-18, Atl 20-24, StL 17-21, NY 13-20, Chi 11-27