Off to Milwaukee
After losing the five-game series against the Reds three games to two, the Phillies found themselves in the throes of a prolonged slump – having lost nine of their last 13 games since July 10th.
So it was off to Milwaukee to begin a three-game series with the Braves. However, the Braves were a team on the rise – having won seven of their last nine games and 11 of their last 15 games – to creep into fourth place just 5½ games out of first.
Gene Mauch was going with Art Mahaffey (8-4) in the first game of the series and the Bobby Bragan was going with Wade Blasingame (2-1).
Nine days earlier, Blasingame beat the Phillies 4-3.
Mahaffey was 1-2 in his three starts versus the Braves.
With one out in the top of the second, Bobby Wine hit his third home run of the season to put the Phillies on top 1-0.
From there, Art Mahaffey and Wade Blasingame tossed goose eggs through the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Tony Taylor homered to make it 2-0 Phillies ─ his third home run of the year.
Richie Allen doubled to left and moved to third when Danny Cater grounded out to short. Tony Gonzalez doubled and Richie Allen scored to make it 3-0 Phillies.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ty Cline batted for Wade Blasingame, and Billy Hoeft (3-0) replaced Blasingame in the top of the seventh. Hoeft faced the Phillies three times thus far, pitching seven scoreless innings the last time out to notch the win – and he pitched another scoreless inning in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hank Aaron singled to center. One out later, Ed Bailey reached first on an error by Danny Cater, and Aaron moved to third.
Art Mahaffey then uncorked a wild-pitch allowing Aaron to score to cut the Phillies lead to 3-1. Bailey moved to second with still just one out.
Rico Carty singled. Bailey had to stop at third, but then scored on Frank Bolling’s sacrifice fly to pull within 3-2.
In the top of the eighth, Tony Taylor doubled to center. Richie Allen followed with a ground ball to short and Taylor committed a base-running blunder by trying to go to third. Braves shortstop Woody Woodward threw Taylor out at third for the first out. Allen was safe at first.
When Billy Hoeft threw a wild pitch, Allen moved to second. One out later, Bobby Wine singled and Allen scored to up the lead to 4-2 Phils.
In the bottom of the eighth, Eddie Mathews walked. Gene Oliver then forced Mathews at second for the first out, and Gary Kolb came on to pinch-run for Oliver.
Mike de la Hoz and Lee Maye hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with still one out.
Hank Aaron hit a ground ball to third and Richie Allen had just one play – racing to third to force Mike de la Hoz while Gary Kolb scored to close the gap to 4-3 Phillies.
That left runners on first and second with two outs.
Baldschun retired Joe Torre on a tapper in front of the plate to end the threat.
With one out in the top of the ninth, Cookie Rojas singled.
Johnny Callison hit a sharp ground ball to second that got through Frank Bolling and rolled into short rightfield. Rojas moved to third to put runners first and third.
Tony Taylor followed with a single and Rojas scored to open the lead to 5-3 Phils. One out later, Ruben Amaro singled and Callison scored to make it 6-3 Phillies.
In the bottom of the ninth, Baldschun got the Reds in order to register his 10th save.
Art Mahaffey (9-4) got the win, tying him with Jim Bunning and Dennis Bennett for most wins on the staff. Wade Blasingame (2-2) took the loss.
Giants Lose Again
Bob Buhl (12-5) gave up just one run on seven hits as the Cubs beat the Giants 2-1 – with some help from Bobby Shantz and Don Elston’s first save of the season. Gaylord Perry (7-7) took the loss.
Billy Williams’ two-run home run (#23) in the top of the fourth was the difference between winning and losing.
For the slumping Giants, that was seven losses in the last nine games and allowed the Phillies to move into sole possession of first place by one game.