Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26, 1970: Carlton Avoids Losing His 20th With a Three Hit Gem

On September 26, 1970, Steve Carlton avoided losing his 20th game of the season by firing a 3 hitter in a 7-2 win over the Expos in Montreal. The game began with a double off the bat of Lou Brock before Bill Stoneman issued back-to-back walks to put the Expos starter in an immediate jam. Joe Torre eased the pressure on Stoneman by hitting into a double play that still plated a run. Stoneman drilled Jose Cruz in the second, both teams were warned for throwing at each other in the third which led to an ejection of the Expos manager Gene Mauch, before Stoneman was sent to the showers after drilling Joe Torre to lead off the fourth. Carlton gave up a run in the fifth and the two teams remained tied at one until the eighth when Torre broke up the tie with a two run double, two batters later Ted Simmons knocked Torre in with a single that put the Birds up 4-1. The Cards tacked on 3 more in the top of the ninth and were sitting in the drivers seat. Carlton served up a long ball in the bottom of the ninth to second baseman Gary Sutherland before setting the next three men down in a row. The win was Carlton's 10th of the year, he walked just two men, and struck out 6 in the three hit performance. Not only did the W keep Carlton from notching his 20th loss of the year, it kept the Cardinals lefty from becoming the first Cardinal to lose 20 games in a season since Jesse Haines posted a 13-20 record in 1920. Carlton turned things around the next season by posting a 20-9 record for the Redbirds.

Here's the box score:

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