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Dodgers Take Over National League Lead

July 3, 1963 - The Los Angeles Dodgers took over the National League lead from St. Louis last night. They defeated the Cardinals, 1-0, at Dodger Stadium on Ron Fairly’s run-producing single and the five-hit pitching of Don Drysdale (pictured with Sandy Koufax). The victory put the Dodgers, who hadn’t been in first place since June 13, a half-game in front of the Cardinals. The Dodgers scored off Curt Simmons in the seventh when Frank Howard singled, reached second on Bill Skowron’s infield out, and scored on Fairly’s single. Drysdale was rarely in trouble as he brought his record to 10-9 before a boisterous crowd of 39,824. Informed after the game he had thrown only 93 pitches, Drysdale said: “That’s not as many as usual, but games like this take a lot more out of you mentally than big-scoring affairs where you throw a bushel of balls.” Don has celebrated many a victory in July. Last night’s nip-and-tucker made his major league record for that month 28-4. He’s lost only one July decision in the last four years — to Curt Simmons, his victim last night. “I don’t know why it is,” Drysdale confessed. “The wins just seem to come in July more than any other time. But this one sure didn’t come easy. The Cards are tremendous hitters, so you can’t let up on anybody. I guess the two key plays were when Julian Javier popped up foul to end the eighth with two on and when Dick Groat grounded out to me in the ninth. I still had to get past Bill White and Kenny Boyer though, so I had a long way to go. I threw all breaking pitches to them.” White grounded out, and Boyer went down swinging. With their narrow victory, the Dodgers gained some measure of revenge, for the Cardinals had won seven straight games in Los Angeles, including four last season that helped derail the pennant-bound Dodgers.

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