I know, I know, that's no today's date. But, it happened over the weekend and I wanted to get this one noticed. On this day, in the fifth season in franchise history, Don Wilson twirled a no-hitter, beating the Atlanta Braves 2-0 at the Astrodome. This was Wilson's first no-hitter he threw as an Astro; as we've mentioned before, Wilson is the only pitcher in franchise history to throw two.
Wilson had a perfect game going in the top of the fifth, but Denis Menke (of all people) drew a walk with two outs in the frame before Bob Uecker flew out to end the threat. Wilson gave up three walks total, but made up for it by striking out 15. That gave him a Game Score of 99, which was the second-highest in franchise history and tied with a 1963 start by Turk Farrell, where he gave up four hits, one run and two walks while striking out 11.
Oh yeah, and he threw 12 innings. In fact, the only Game Score higher than this game from Wilson was Mike Cuellar later in the 1967 season, but Cuellar also threw extra innings, finishing his complete game in 11. That means Wilson holds the highest Game Score in a regulation game.
Wilson beat Phil Niekro in this one, as Niekro went 7 innings, giving up eight hits, two runs, two walks and striking out five. Houston scored both of its runs in the bottom of the fourth, as shortstop Sonny Jackson led off with a single. He scored one batter later when Jimmy Wynn doubled.
Rusty Staub followed with a single, putting Wynn on third. Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews grounded out to second and Braves second baseman Mike de la Hoz threw to Menke at short to force Staub. But, that let Wynn score from third and provide the final run of the game.
This was a really interesting game from a talent standpoint, too. Lots of big names in this one, from Hall of Famers like Hank Aaron, Niekro and Mathews to lesser lights like Uecker, Staub, Wynn, Bob Aspromonte, Felipe Alou and Terry Francona. Bill James favorite Rico Carty even made an appearance.
Here's the graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball.