The Pirates, still tooling right along despite Roberto Clemente's sore Achilles' on top of a two-week intestinal virus, won in their final at bat for the 18th time this year and came from behind to win for the 36th time, when Willie Stargell hit a 3-0 pitch for a two-run ninth-inning homer to beat Los Angeles 3-2.
"Nothing is impossible," said Jim McAndrew who, having been a '69 Met, ought to know. McAndrew and Tug McGraw combined to shut out the Braves, but at week's end the Mets stood 23-32 since the day Rusty Staub broke his hand. McGraw enlivened Camera Day at Shea Stadium by making himself up as Willie Mays, who did not seem to think it was such a great idea. When asked to pose with his imitator, Willie refused.
In August there have been 24 stolen-base attempts against the Cubs, 23 of them successful. The score is 11 for 11 against slow-delivering rookie Rick Reuschel alone. "I just don't think about the runners all during the game," confessed Mill Pappas, who picked up his 194th lifetime victory and a back spasm as the Cubs went three for six in the week.
The Cardinals, still struggling in fourth place, haven't had a home run out of cleanup hitter Joe Torre since June, but then pitchers have hit seven this year—lour by Bob Gibson, one by Rick Wise and two by slender rookie Don (Bull) Durham, whose fourth and fifth straight hits against the Giants helped him to his first majors win.
The Expos' 17-5 defeat by the Astros was described by the Montreal Star as "one of the most degrading spectacles in modern professional sport in Montreal—a callous slap in the face to the paying customers." Manager Gene Mauch went so far as to send in utility Infielder Hector lories to pitch the last two-thirds of an inning. He gave up live hits. Expo General Manager Jim Fanning said, "You should look at it this way. The people saw great hitting tonight." Houston's Doug Rader, who must have been kidding, said sometimes it's harder to get a hit off someone like Torres. "You're afraid of not getting one and looking like an ass."
PITT 70-42 NY 59-52 CHI 60-55 ST.L 55-57 MONT 52-60 PHIL 43-70
There are various ways of getting out of a batting slump. A player can watch movies of himself, he can concentrate on stroking the ball up the middle or, like Cincinnati's Johnny Bench, he can dress up in uniform shirt and short pants, sweep off the bases with a broom and kiss Jerry Quarry, the boxer. Bench, who had not been hitting up to par, was doing an imitation of Atlanta's base-sweeper Susie during a Braves' players-vs.-wives pregame exhibition. Quarry was umpiring. Then Bench put on his knickers and drove in live runs to beat the Braves.
Tony Perez was hitting the long ball without having to kiss anybody in public, and Pete Rose was back up around his perennial .300. Even with two of their best pitchers, Gary Nolan and Wayne Simpson, out with injuries, the Reds were rolling.