Two weeks ago BALTIMORE (6-1) Catcher Elrod Hendricks was twice lifted from games for a pinch hitter and both times the replacement responded with a home run. Last week Hendricks turned the tables. Pinch-hitting in the ninth inning, he slugged one out of Memorial Stadium. It was the Orioles' fourth pinch homer in the last 11 games. All four were the winning runs as the Birds moved back into second place, just one game off the lead, NEW YORK'S (6-1) pitching staff threw consecutive, extra-inning 1-0 shutouts and held the opposition to just 13 runs all week as the Yankees moved out of the cellar and up to a tie for sixth. For the first time this year MINNESOTA (4-2) Manager Cal Ermer decided he had nine men who were qualified to play a full nine innings together. In that game, a 1-0 win over the Red Sox, Ermer inserted no replacements but sat back, instead, to watch recuperating Jim Kaat pitch his first complete game of the year. CALIFORNIA'S (4-3) All-Star Shortstop Jim Fregosi (.333 BA for the week) broke out of a slump, hit a single, double, triple and homer in the Angels' first game last week and knocked in the winning run in the 11th inning. DETROIT (2-3) had Denny McLain's pitching—two wins to run his season's record to 7-1—to smile about and little else. Al Kaline was knocked out of action by a pitch that fractured his arm. Then the Tigers got into a Sunday brawl with the Athletics and Jim Northrup was ejected. With the injured Willie Horton already out of that game, the Tigers played without their starting outfield and lost, cutting their league lead to one game. OAKLAND (3-2) Pitcher Jim Nash, whose sole support during the last month had been seven runs, took matters into his own capable hands. He threw a 2-0 shutout at the Indians, winning the game himself with a home run. CLEVELAND (3-4) batters scored just two runs and batted .161 in the team's losses as the Indians dropped to third. Three one-run defeats knocked BOSTON (2-4) back from third to fifth. The Red Sox' failure to hit in the clutch cost Jose Santiago his second loss of the season—both were by 1-0 scores. Two streaks still running strong were in WASHINGTON (1-6). The Senators kept on losing (they have dropped 20 of their last 26 games) and Frank Howard continued hitting. With a .444 BA, two homers and five RBIs last week, he maintained big leads in all three hitting categories. CHICAGO (1-6) was shut out three times and during one stretch failed to score for 39? consecutive innings, nine innings short of the major league record.
Standings: Det 24-15, Balt 24-17, Clev 23-18, Minn 22-18, Bos 20-20, Cal 20-22, NY 20-22, Oak 18-22, Chi 16-23, Wash 16-26
With all 10 teams bunched within five games of first place, the National League was locked in its tightest pennant race since it expanded in 1962. LOS ANGELES (5-2) helped keep it that close by taking three of four from the Cards. The Dodgers' run production (31 for the week) was their highest of the season, and they matched that with strong pitching, particularly by Don Drysdale, who threw his third and fourth consecutive shutouts. Even with the injured Willie McCovey out and Willie Mays and Jim Ray Hart in mild slumps, SAN FRANCISCO (4-3) was able to take advantage of the Cards' losses and move into the lead. Juan Marichal ran his season's record to 7-2 and Mike McCormick pitched a three-hitter, while Ty Cline and Ron Hunt combined to average .340 for the week. Richie Allen, who finds warm weather hitting much less painful for his injured hand, showed that it may be a long, hot summer for opposition pitchers. The PHILADELPHIA (3-2) slugger enjoyed a late-spring splurge with four homers, nine RBIs and a .471 BA last week. CHICAGO'S (3-2) pitchers, except for Ferguson Jenkins, were less than spectacular, but the Cubs' hitters, who batted .287 for the week, more than balanced them out as their team moved up to fifth. HOUSTON (3-3) finally won one for Dave Giusti, who had allowed just nine hits and two earned runs in his last three starts while losing two of them. His win came on a 1-0 victory over the Reds. Rookie Jerry Koosman, who pitched a pair of five-hitters, matched Marichal's league-leading win total of seven as NEW YORK (3-3) wound up its most successful first quarter of a season ever. Willie Stargell's heavy hitting (.478 BA for the week with four homers and 11 RBIs) and strong relief work by four pitchers (allowing only one run in 15? innings in the wins) were just enough to lift disappointing PITTSBURGH (3-2) out of the cellar. ATLANTA'S (3-4) rookie Ron Reed, who has yet to lose, helped keep his team in the thick of the battle for first place with his sixth straight low-run victory. CINCINNATI (1-4) used 25 pitchers in its games but still could not find a stopper as the staff allowed 32 runs. The worst offender was Milt Pappas, who has not pitched a complete game this season and was demoted to the bullpen. ST. LOUIS (2-5) had strong pitching in five of its games, but that could not prevent the Cards' fall to second place as the hitters were shut out twice and scored only 14 runs.
Standings: SF 24-19, StL 22-19, Atl 23-20, Phil 20-18, Chi 22-21, LA 22-22, Cin 19-21, Pitt 18-20, NY 18-23, Hou 18-23