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Phils Top Dodgers, Stretch N.L. League Lead

June 3, 1964 - Wes Covington drove in the winning run and the Phillies beat the Dodgers last night, 4-3, before a crowd of 22,317 at Connie Mack Stadium. Well, he didn’t exactly drive in the winning run. What he did was walk with the bases loaded. As a result, the Phils widened their hold on first place to 1½ games over San Francisco.

The Phillies scored their four runs last night on a sacrifice fly, a squeeze bunt, a wild pitch, and Covington’s stroll to first. But the significant thing about the game is the way the players are all sounding the way manager Gene Mauch wants them to sound these days. They’re all humble and dedicated and full of team spirit — which is not the way everybody sounded a couple of years ago.

Take Cookie Rojas, who had two hits, scored two runs, and “drove” in one run with a squeeze bunt. Rojas is now hitting .548. He is 15-for 24 since he got the chance to play. He ripped the nail on his index finger in the second inning last night, but he wouldn’t take time out for repairs because it meant going to the bench — and the bench is the place he has escaped.

“One year in Havana, I was leading the league in hitting for awhile, and I had a streak like this,” he said. “And in Puerto Rico the winter before last, I had a good streak. You feel good. But mainly it’s because we’re winning. If we were losing and I was hitting this much, I wouldn’t care as much.”

Take Ed Roebuck, who pitched the ninth after Dennis Bennett struggled through the first eight. Roebuck got the Dodgers out 1-2-3 and earned his sixth save. “I don’t care about how they judge saves,” he said. “The games we win, those are the only ones I count.”

And take Bennett, who takes pride in finishing what he starts. “I like the complete games,” Bennett said, “but I like the ‘W’ more.” Bennett now has seven “W’s” and three “L’s.”

Mauch gave his critics an opening when he lifted Bennett. It wasn’t so long ago that every time he relieved Bennett, disaster followed.

“The two right-handed hitters [Tommy Davis and Frank Howard] had stung the ball the time before,” Mauch said. “I just wanted Roebuck pitching to them. At no time tonight did Bennett have his best stuff. If he had, it might have been a different story.”

Even Covington, a free spirit, accepted his role stoically.

“If I have the opportunity to swing the bat,” he said, “I’d rather do that. But if I have to walk, I’ll walk. I’ll take an RBI either way.”


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