We bring you a special Saturday edition of TDAH to talk about one of the better pitching performances in franchise history. On this day 45 years ago, Mike Cuellar set a franchise record with 15 strikeouts in a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at the Astrodome.
Cuellar pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits and two runs (one earned) while walking three. The victory moved his record that season to 6-0, but this game actually moved his ERA up a tick to 1.73. Cuellar struck out every regular in the Cards lineup but one, third baseman Phil Gagliano. Hall of Famer Lou Brock was the unluckiest Cardinal, striking out three times against Cuellar's screwball.
Looking at the St. Louis lineup, it's a little odd that Bob Gibson no tonly was used as a pinch-runner, but scored a run to boot. I guess I never thought of Gibby being a good enough athlete to pinch-run. Does anyone remember if he did this a lot?
Cuellar wouldn't hold the single-game strikeout record for long, as Don Wilson fanned 18 two years later. Shortly after that, Cuellar was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for former Rookie of the Year Curt Blefary. He immediately made the Astros pay for that move, as he won the Cy Young award in 1969, starting 79 games over the next two seasons as part of those excellent Orioles rotations.
Here's a graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball.