As the Mets ascended on the strength of all those fine young arms, the CHICAGO Cubs were faltering, largely because something seemed wrong with the fine old attitude of Ferguson Jenkins. Fergie, the only pitcher to win 20 or more games in each of the last three years, was 2 and 5 with an ERA of 4.76 when Leo Durocher called him in for an hour-long heart-to-heart. "I'd just call it a lack of concentration," said Durocher. "Somebody else might say he's too lackadaisical. Or maybe he's staying up late at night." Durocher had just learned that the Jenkinses had adopted a baby girl two months ago. On Sunday Jenkins lost again. For Ernie Banks it was the week of his 1,600th RBI and 500th home run. Richie Allen lent fuel to speculation that a statue of him may be platooned with that of Stan Musial by toasting the cheering crowd in a ST. LOUIS bar. "When I walked into a bar like this in Philadelphia," he announced, "I was booed." Mike Shannon, out since March with a kidney ailment, returned to action, enabling Allen to play first base and concentrate on his hitting while Shannon worried about playing third. PITTSBURGH'S Roberto Clemente hit a home run and made two memorable catches but felt called upon to apologize, despite a .360 average, "I don't been swinging bat right." Everybody at PHILADELPHIA don't been; the Phillies lost five more last week to extend their losing streak to 10. Nothing broke very well for MONTREAL, either. For example, a hilarious home crowd gave Joe Sparma a standing ovation for throwing 22 balls, including 10 straight, out of 28 pitches.
CHI 17-15 NY 18-16 ST. L 16-16 PITT 16-20 PHIL 13-21 MONT 12-21
May 24, 1970
Suddenly CINCINNATI couldn't hit. In four games through Saturday the hitherto thunderous Reds' team average was .178. But the Reds stayed out ahead of the pack with their 1970-style good pitching. Jim Merritt four-hit the Pirates, Jim McGlothlin inflicted upon the Braves their first shutout defeat since last Sept. 16 and Merritt came back with his eighth win, 5-1 over the Braves. Observers paid more attention to Henry Aaron's quest for his 3,000th hit (page 30) than to whether ATLANTA was winning and, as a matter of fact, the Braves were losing more often than not. Rico Carty's batting streak ended at 31 games, thanks to McGlothlin. LOS ANGELES announced completion of an enclosed, heated chamber for its bullpen. "They should install those seats all over and sell them," said ace reliever Jim Brewer. "The heaters are adjustable as to temperature, and it's just like seeing a game on a big screen." For SAN FRANCISCO, injured Willie McCovey's place at first was taken by Willie Mays, who fielded well enough to indicate where his station could be after he passes 50. Mays also had his second two-homer game of the season, and other Giants were hitting. But the pitching, even by Juan Marichal, who has lost speed since his recent sickness, was awful. HOUSTON won three straight on the road, including one against the Dodgers, the Astros' first win this year on natural turf. Houston also brought up a pitcher named Scipio Spinks, who, when informed that with a name like that he would have to be either great or a flake, said, "You've got to be something of a flake to play this game. But I'm going to try my best to become one of the great ballplayers in the game." Then SAN DIEGO reached him for six runs in six innings. That and Danny Coombs' first big-league shutout were the high points of the Padres' week.
CINN 27-10 LA 20-15 ATL 19-16 HOUS 18-19 SF 18-20 SD 17-22
Baltimore continued to prevail, as Pete Richert won one and saved two in relief. Over 12‚Öì innings through Friday, Pistol Pete had yielded no runs on three hits and had struck out 20. Richert's win, against the Senators, resulted from an uncommon play in the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out, Boog Powell hit into what looked like a double play, and a happy band of Senators headed for the clubhouse. Then the first-base umpire reversed his out signal—First Baseman Mike Epstein had failed to hold the in-the-dirt throw that seemed to have ended the game. Meanwhile the tying run had scored and the winning run would have scored in the confusion, except that, as Oriole Third Base Coach Billy Hunter explained, "I shouted 'go ahead' three times" to runner Don Buford, "and still he wouldn't go. He kept looking at me as if I was crazy. Finally he did go...too late." So the Orioles had to wait until the 11th to win. NEW YORK came up with a rarity for the Yankees—a complete game. It was only the team's second of the season, and it was by Stan Bahnsen, who also logged the first. Bahnsen's six-hitter was the first of two victories for the second-place Yanks over Detroit, whose losing streak stretched to five. None of the Tigers' remaining big three, Mickey Lolich, Earl Wilson and Joe Niekro, has won a game in the month of May, and Manager Mayo Smith seemed to be on the spot. "It's about time we got started," said BOSTON'S Carl Yastrzemski, as the Red Sox returned from a 2-7 road trip. But Sam McDowell shut them out 3-0. WASHINGTON hit .191 for the week and, understandably enough, didn't win a game. The Senators' loss streak advanced to nine. McDowell's victory in Boston, his fifth, was CLEVELAND'S sole win all week. "McDowell is only 27," said Manager Al Dark. "He's just reaching maturity."
BALT 24-9 NY 19-16 DET 15-16 BOST 15-17 WASH 13-20 CLEV 11-18
When Earl Weaver was quoted as saying that MINNESOTA was hustling more this year under Bill Rigney than last year under Billy Martin, the latter reacted: "Let me say, I could win with the Baltimore team under any condition: a salami and a pizza in my mouth, two big cheeses in my ears, blindfolded and not knowing the situation." He also promised to belt Weaver—if he ever got back into baseball. Cesar Tovar took off on the hit-and-run and was past second base when Rod Carew's fly to center was caught. Tovar raced back to first in time but without touching second as prescribed. Weaver came out to protest, and time was called. Tovar, standing on first, was told by Baltimore First Baseman Boog Powell that he hadn't touched second. So he ran over and slid into that base. Then, tired of all the embarrassment and hassle, he got up and went to the dugout. Teammate Rich Reese told him to go back to first, but Tovar said, "No way." Baltimore threw to first, and Tovar was out on a five-minute double play. CALIFORNIA was hot on the Twins' heels, thanks in large part to a brilliant bullpen. Ken Tatum, Greg Garrett, Eddie Fisher and Paul Doyle were 6-1 and had a collective 1.03 ERA for the year. OAKLAND was hanging in there in third place, waiting for Reggie Jackson to start hitting. "My roomie," said Chuck Dobson of Jackson, "is a fine and sensitive athlete. He may seem to be laughing it off but I know he's dying." Luis Aparicio of CHICAGO, leading the league at the time with a .370 average, was asked if he'd ever had so high a mark five weeks into the season. "No," he said, "not even in Venezuela." KANSAS CITY southpaw Jim Rooker said, "I just don't feel comfortable here. I wish Metro would get rid of me." Then he pitched an 11-inning complete-game victory and drove in five runs himself. The MILWAUKEE Brewers beat the Braves, formerly of that city, in an exhibition game 1-0. It didn't count.
MINN 22-10 CAL 23-12 OAK 18-18 CHI 15-19 KC 13-21 MIL 11-23