Even in an old-timers game, it pays to have youth on your side.
Fielding the younger and more agile club, the National League easily beat the American League, 3-0, Monday night in the National Old Timers Baseball Classic before a paid crowd of 17,697 at Pilot Field.
It was the third win for the senior circuit seniors in as many games in Buffalo and gave them a 6-3 edge in the annual series, which spent its first six years in Washington, D.C.
The five-inning exhibition essentially was over in the first inning when leadoff hitter Lou Brock tripled to the right field warning track off a lob pitch by Bob Feller, who had relieved starter Early Wynn after one pitch.
"What did I hit?" said Brock. "I hit a baseball. Boom!"
Enos Slaughter, the next man up, bounced out to second and got the winning RBI as Brock scored while Slaughter was thrown out at first by Dick McAuliffe.
The Nationals added two insurance runs in the second inning when a hard-throwing Camilo Pascual gave up singles to Don Kessinger and Don Blasingame followed by a double to Charlie Neal and a bounce out by Andy Pafko.
"The hitters were for real. They were stroking the ball," said Pascual, who finished the inning by getting Brock and Ron Swoboda to strike out swinging.
Facing a pitching staff that included Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Ferguson Jenkins, Wilmer Mizell, Larry Christenson and Tug McGraw, the American Leaguers could scratch out only four singles. Only two runners got as far as second base.
The Nationals scattered 10 hits among 10 players.
Besides Brock's triple, the only other extra-base hits were a legitimate slicing right-field double by Neal and a fly ball by Bill Robinson that fell between slow-charging outfielders Rocky Colavito and Frank Howard for a two-base hit.
McGraw, who jokingly claimed credit for a save, got the last three outs of the game, which ended when Bobby Murcer got hold of a curveball and drove a long fly to center fielder Bill Robinson to end the 76-minute exhibition.
"That hook you threw to Murcer, he hit the blank out of it," Seaver told McGraw afterward.
"I told them it was all right to throw me a curveball. Just don't throw the slider," said Murcer.
Boog Powell, the big American League first baseman, told Murcer the ball would have been a homer "if you would have had one more taco and one more beer with me last night."
Powell, who is well-nourished, struck out and grounded to the pitcher in his two plate appearances.
The American League's most serious threat also came in the first and second innings when it got men on second with two outs in each inning.
The National League's defense was sparked by some fine infield plays by Jerry Kindall, 55, at third; Kessinger, 47, at shortstop and Blasingame, 58, at second.
Center fielder Robinson, who will be 47 today, still showed good range and was flawless with three putouts.
"It was just great. What a thrill to play with these guys," Kindall said. "Kessinger and I both coach at college (Kindall, Arizona; Kessinger, Mississippi) and it wouldn't do to look real bad."
The losers, however, were less fleet afoot and allowed several routine flies to fall for hits.
Spahn, the 69-year-old Buffalo native, got credit for the win. He came on in relief of starter Koufax, who got leadoff hitter McAuliffe to line to Neal at third. Feller, 71, took the loss.
Koufax, 54, said his arm felt "not very good." He said he was looking for relief quickly because he was promised he would have to pitch to only one batter.