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Ellsworth Hurls Gem as Cubs Take Sixth Straight with Win over Pittsburgh

May 9, 1963 - Southpaw Dick Ellsworth (pictured), recovering from a muscle spasm in his left arm, hurled the Chicago Cubs to their sixth straight victory with a 3-1 triumph over the Pittsburgh Pirates today. The victory was the ninth in 10 games for the rejuvenated Cubs, who climbed into second place in the National League race, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals and 2 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants. First baseman Ernie Banks had 22 putouts to tie a major league record and broke the major league record of 22 chances by handling the ball 23 times. The Cubs moved in front quickly when they scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning. With one out, Ken Hubbs struck out but reached first when the third strike got by catcher Jim Pagliaroni. Billy Williams tripled Hubbs home and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Banks. Just this morning, there was doubt that Ellsworth’s recently afflicted left arm could stand the strain of pitching against the Pirates. Just like a glamorous movie star, the 23-year-old lefty had a stand-in — or rather a sit-in. “Glen Hobbie was sitting there, waiting just in case Dick didn’t feel up to pitching,” said Cubs manager Bob Kennedy after the game. Jim Schaffer, Ellsworth’s battery mate, said the southpaw couldn’t get his breaking stuff over the plate in the first five innings. “But after that, he was clicking for strikes on his curve and slider, and this made him even more effective,” said Schaffer. Meanwhile, Ernie Banks was steaming from committing the error which deprived Ellsworth of a shutout, which would have been only the second of his career. “Yeah, we won the game, but if I hadn’t had a mental lapse, the Pirates wouldn’t have scored,” Ernie mourned. “I thought I had that ball in my glove [a liner hit by Bill Virdon in the third inning. At the time, Jim Pagliaroni was on third base]. I finally found the ball and touched first base. I should have turned quickly and fired to second for an easy double play. I’ll never make a boner like that again.” When Ernie finally threw it, the ball was wide. Pagliaroni, reaching third on the error, eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.

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