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Giants Top Colts, Pierce Remains Unbeaten at Candlestick

Apr. 16, 1963 - Billy Pierce (pictured left), who never has been beaten at Candlestick Park, pitched the San Francisco Giants to a 7-0 victory over the Houston Colts today. A crowd of 40,782 watched the National League champions’ home opener. It was a memorable afternoon, and it began with president Warren Giles of the National League and acting Mayor James Leo Halley raising the 1962 National League pennant next to the Stars and Stripes in center field. Pierce committed two balks in one inning. Three other balks were charged to Colt pitchers by Umpire Augie Donatelli, whose crew called seven balks three days ago during a game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Today’s total was a balk record for Candlestick Park. Donatelli chased Manager Harry Craft and Coach Cotton Deal of Houston in the third inning after a balk had been called on Conrad Cardinal. Houston’s Bob Bruce, harassed by two balk calls, yielded four runs and four hits before he was taken out with two out in the first. A two-run double by Felipe Alou routed Bruce after singles by Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda (right) had scored the first two runs. The Giants added three runs in the third. After the game, Umpire Donatelli refused to provide any explanation for the profusion of balk calls. The most he would do was scream through the dressing room door: “They didn’t come to a stop and that’s it! Read the rule! It’s there in black and white!” Giles, National League president, had no explanation for the balk epidemic. “The umpires wouldn’t call them if they weren’t made,” he said. Houston manager Craft was bitter on the topic. “We had no trouble in six games with the Giants and Dodgers at Houston. Only one balk was called. Here we have three in one game. There is just no consistency in the way it’s being called.” San Francisco manager Al Dark disagreed. “I think they were balks — all of them. When there’s a rule in the book, it should be enforced.” Pierce observed: “I was concentrating on the batter, and I could have quickened my motion. But I usually hold it for a long time. If the umpires are calling it this closely, the pitchers will just have to conform.”


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