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Yanks Top Orioles, Regain First Place

June 12, 1963 - Roger Maris, who used to concentrate exclusively on pulling home runs into right field, stroked a single through the shortstop hole into left field at Yankee Stadium today. And that was all Ralph Houk’s Bombers needed to beat the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, and regain first place in the American League. The 10-inning triumph put the Yanks .001 percentage points ahead of the Chicago White Sox. A crowd of 20,369 saw the Orioles of Billy Hitchcock lose for the 11th time in their last 13 games. As late as the eighth, the Birds, behind their 20-year-old southpaw, Dave McNally, held a 2-1 edge over the Yanks’ Ralph Terry. In fact, Ralph had already vanished from the scene for a pinch hitter. But Hitchcock got jumpy when the Yanks advanced a runner to second, and he called on Stu Miller to finish the bottom of the eighth. But Stu couldn’t prevent the tie, and the game went into the 10th. In the bottom of the inning, Brooks Robinson booted Bobby Richardson’s sharp grounder to third. After Tom Tresh had sacrificed, Elston Howard walked, and then Maris took over. With a count of 2-1, Roger muscled the ball where even a quick-handed Bird like Luis Aparacio couldn’t reach it, and that was it. Robinson went 2-for-4 but found himself playing the unusual role of trying to explain a critical error. “I just didn’t make the play,” said the winner of the American League’s third-base Gold Glove award over the last three years. “If I get the ball, I get him,” Brooks said. “I was playing Richardson near the line and had to make only one step over. It was over the bag, and I tried to come up with it on the short hop — and didn’t.” Hitchock was asked why he removed McNally with one away in the eighth. The Birds were leading, 2-1, at the time. “I thought McNally was getting tired. They were hitting some balls pretty good in the sixth and seventh.” “Do you feel that it hurts a young pitcher’s confidence to take him out in a spot like that?” a New York reporter asked. “The idea in this game is to win,” Hitchcock replied. “We’re not here to develop players. We’re here to win ballgames.”


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