Though a hint of spring remains in the air, by this date, the Athletics are usually nestled in the American League cellar. For only the second time in twenty years, the Athletics are in first place in the American League. Last night, John ‘Blue Moon’ Odom tossed his second consecutive shutout to lift the Oakland A’s a half game past the Cleveland Indians for first place. Odom and the A’s defeated the Minnesota Twins, 5-0. Odom held the Twins to five hits as his teammates scored all five runs in the sixth inning. Catcher Jim Pagliaroni capped the outburst with his third home run in as many days. The Indians were ambushed in Yankee Stadium as Jim Bouton and Steve Hamilton held off the Tribe, 2-1. Mickey Mantle’s RBI double and Tom Tresh’s RBI triple in the first inning was all the support the duo needed. Luis Tiant struck out 11 Yankees in the loss. In other AL action, Mickey Lolich dropped to 0-4 as the Orioles nipped the Tigers, 3-2. Duane Josephson’s RBI tenth-inning single lifted the White Sox past the Angels. Boston’s Jose Santiago three hit the Senators in a 6-0 shutout victory. Joe Foy homered and drove in three runs. Carl Yastrzemski also homered for Boston.
In the National League, the Cardinals continued to roll to a 20-5 record with a wild extra inning win over the Mets, 9-8. Cleon Jones’ pinch-hit home run in the seventh tied the game, and Mike Shannon singled home Orlando Cepeda in the 11th for the win. St. Louis gained a game on Atlanta and San Francisco with the win. The Braves were blanked by Al McBean and the Pirates, 2-0. In Houston, Ron Davis beat Hal Lanier’s throw home on Bob Aspromonte’s bases-loaded grounder for a 2-1 Astros win. The loss evened Juan Marichal’s record to 3-3 as Don Wilson raised his mark to 4-2 with a four-hitter. With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field, the Cubs and Dodgers each collected 14 base hits, but the Cubs edged the Dodgers in the run column, 9-7. Ron Santo and Ernie Banks homered for the Northsiders. In Cincinnati, the Reds beat the Phillies, 6-3. Alex Johnson batted a perfect 4-for-4 and Tony Perez homered for Cincinnati. Jim Maloney won his first game of the season, and drove in three runs with a double and a single.