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Cardinals Take First in NL with Win over Braves

May 1, 1963 - The St. Louis Cardinals regained the National League lead behind the 4-hit pitching of Curt Simmons last night in a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Braves. Julian Javier’s second home run of the season — and first RBI in 17 games — broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth and supplied the edge against southpaw Denny Lemaster, who also permitted 4 hits. But Braves manager Bobby Bragan, forced to shift players because of injuries, second-guessed himself on the play that made the edge stand up. The Braves, after a first-inning homer by Frank Bolling, could do nothing against Simmons until the eighth, then they collected half their hits off the southpaw veteran. Bob Uecker was the third successive pinch hitter used by Bragan in the eighth. Batting for Lemaster, Uecker got a double when his drive to center rolled past Curt Flood, who had slipped on the wet outfield grass. Len Gabrielson then lined a single to right, but a plodding Uecker, waved home on the hit, was cut down three feet from the plate by George Altman’s two-hop throw to catcher Gene Oliver. Might a pinch runner have scored? “Yeah, I had to juggle our lineup,” said Bragan, “but I didn’t juggle enough. We sent Uecker home because of the way the ball was hit. But we must have some guys who can run faster than that.” Simmons, who now boasts a 1.25 earned-run average, conceded that the cool night (53 degrees at game time) “might have kept me from getting tired.” “I was striking out the right-handed hitters with fastballs and the left-handers with curves,” said Simmons. “I got Henry Aaron on a couple of good pitches that I kept away from him, and in the ninth, I got him on a bad ball [which Aaron popped up].” It was Simmons’s first victory over the Braves since July 4, 1958, when he was a Phillie.


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