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Ralph Houk Pleased with Yanks’ Performance This Month

Aug. 31, 1963 - Last year the Yankees had a 17-19 record in August, and Ralph Houk feared this month when it began this year. But August 1963 proved to be cool and profitable, ending tonight with a 5-3 win over the Orioles which reduced the “magic number” for the club’s 28th pennant to 16. The matter is academic — the Bombers’ lead over second-place Chicago is 12 games. In contrast to their struggles last August, when they got rotten pitching, the Yanks have had sensational slinging this time to win 22 and lose but 10. Jim Bouton tired in the ninth and needed help from Hal Reniff, but the Bulldog got his 19th win at Memorial Stadium to tie with Whitey Ford for the American League high. The Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax has reached 20 for tops in the majors. Jersey Jim had a one-hitter until the eighth, when the Birds scratched two more. He went out in the final frame when the home team scored twice and got the tying run to the plate. Roger Maris returned to action after a 17-day absence due to strained ligaments in his left hand and hit a couple of singles, but the big noises were a pair of two-run homers by Yogi Berra (right with Jack Reed) and Tom Tresh off loser Robin Roberts, who throws the gopher as readily in the American League as he did in the National. Berra’s shot was his seventh round-tripper of the season and No. 357 of his 18-year career. No other catcher has ever hit as many. Maris gave the hand a good batting workout last night, felt no painful reaction, and tried again before tonight’s game. “I’d like to play,” he told the manager. “I decided to let him,” Houk said after tonight’s game. “I figure he should have three or four weeks of work to be ready for the Series.”

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