- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The Mets won their usual four of six as Rusty Staub got his seventh home run, Tom Seaver pitched his eighth win, John Milner hit three home runs and Jon Matlack tossed a shutout. Lower-echelon St. Louis and Philadelphia were the principal victims. All that made happiness incomplete for big crowds at Shea Stadium was the absence of home runs by either Willie Mays or visiting Brave Henry Aaron, tied for second place behind Babe Ruth's 714 at 648.
Equally routinely, Pittsburgh beat Philadelphia on Memorial Day, 7-3 and 4-2, bringing its record against lefthanders to 8-0. But the Pirates did lose the opener of a series at Montreal and San Francisco. Among other exploits by Pirate bats were Willie Stargell's ninth and 10th homers.
The poor Chicago Cubs have won 21 of 30 games since April 28, when they were six games out, and now they are seven back as the Mets and Pirates keep sailing along. Jose Cardenal had six home runs and 28 RBIs and Billy Williams hit two home runs while Cardenal also staged a spectacular slide into home to win another.
Montreal pulled off a triple play against Houston, Bill Stoneman allowed the Astros only four hits in 10 innings and Outfielder Boots Day, after going 1 for 4, singled home the run that won a tense game 1-0. The preceding day Lee May murdered the Expos. He singled twice, doubled and homered. One broken-bat blow not only went for a hit, but the meat end of the bat nearly wiped out the Montreal dugout.
Floundering Philadelphia replaced General Manager John Quinn after 13-plus seasons with Farm Director Paul Owens, but, as Pitcher Dick Selma noted, "The way this club is going, you could get us Roberto Clemente and he might hit .210." Sure enough, the Phils thereupon dropped a 6-5, 10-inning decision to the Reds, their 17th defeat in 18 games. The Cardinals lost their 14th one-run game, 1-0 to Los Angeles, when Scipio Spinks left his lucky stuffed gorilla at home. Numerous fire trucks converged on the Cards' hotel after the game. False alarm. The Cards aren't hot.
NY 31-12 PITT 25-16 CHI 23-18 MONT 19-23 PHIL 16-27 ST. L 16-28
Lean, laconic Jim Brewer may have been born in Merced, Calif., but he talks, acts and looks pure Oklahoma—Broken Arrow, Okla., which is where he grew up. Batters wish he would go back there and fall in an oil well. Probably the most professional reliever in the majors. Brewer pitched or warmed up in every game of the Dodgers' road trip, on which they won five and lost two. He allowed just one hit in his last four appearances. And Brewer wants to pitch more. "If I go an inning or two, I could pitch eight or 10 days in a row," he says.
For the Reds it was raining splinters off the old Bench. Johnny had 13 hits, 13 RBIs, seven homers and 10 runs against Houston and Philadelphia. His Cincinnati compadres swept the Astro series with 39 runs and 44 hits. "He's letting his hands do the work instead of trying to muscle the ball," Manager Sparky Anderson explained.