Baltimore, 1-6 away and 10-4 at home, managed only 18 hits in four games. At least two players think the team misses Frank Robinson. "When Frank was here." said Catcher Andy Etchebarren, "we knew he always was a threat to put the ball out of the park, even when he wasn't hitting well." Merv Rettenmund adds, "Maybe a few of us are trying too hard because Frank isn't here. But I don't think that is going to affect a whole club at the same time." MILWAUKEE, despite a 22-inning win over the Twins, remained in last place.
DET 12-7 CLEV 13-8 BALT 11-10 BOST 8-11 NY 8-13 MIL 6-13
The marathon dancing in They Shoot Hones, Don't They? has nothing on the 37 innings of baseball that MINNESOTA and the Brewers played over some 22 hours. First there was a 21-inning night game that was suspended with the score 3-3. Action resumed the next day, just like cricket, and lasted one inning as Milwaukee won 4-3. The regularly scheduled game that followed went 15 innings and it looked as if the Twins would lose again: they were down to their last out, trailing 4-3 with no one on base. But Jim Nettles walked and Eric Soderholm, who had been the next-to-last out in the 22-inning game, hit a fastball for a game-winning homer.
Question: What's the difference between the Denny McLain fastball of his 31-win year and the one he throws today? Answer by First Baseman Duane Josephson of the Red Sox: "Twenty miles an hour." OAKLAND's McLain, who is 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA, might be dropped from the starting rotation when Vida Blue starts pitching again. " McLain's ball," says Josephson, "comes up to the plate as straight as a string." John Odom, recovering from elbow trouble, pitched five scoreless innings in a 3-0 shutout of Milwaukee and Rollie Fingers relieved him flawlessly. Three CALIFORNIA starters. Andy Messersmith, Nolan Ryan and Clyde Wright, were hurt, bad news for a struggling team. Messersmith strained a tendon on the middle linger of his throwing hand and Ryan pulled a groin muscle. although the Angels beat Boston 5-1 in the game in which he was injured. Wright had a sore left shoulder which left Manager Del Rice thinking of Relievers Eddie Fisher and Lloyd Allen as spot starters. Another pitcher with problems was Pete Broberg of TEXAS. A scoreless game at Baltimore was in the bottom of the ninth and the bases loaded with one out when Brooks Robinson grounded to Third Baseman Dave Nelson. Nelson's throw home forced out one runner, but when Catcher Ken Snarez tried to complete a double play by throwing to first, he slipped on a bat. The ball hit Robinson in the neck and went into right field as the winning run scored. "It's tough to lose that way," Broberg said. CHICAGO sluggers Dick Allen and Bill Melton took extra afternoon batting practice before a night game against the Orioles. The result: Allen hit his fifth home run and Melton his first in a 4-3 victory. KANSAS CITY continued to struggle, partly because Amos Otis, a .301 hitter in 1971, was under .200. "Some of the guys think they have to carry the whole team and swing for a home run every time," said Manager Bob Lemon.
MINN 15-5 OAK 12-7 CHI 12-9 TEX 10-12 CAL 8-14 KC 8-14