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Dodgers Top Cardinals in L.A., Koufax Throws Six-Hitter

Apr. 14, 1964 - Sandy Koufax, opening the new season as brilliantly as he finished the old one, pitched a six-hitter tonight as the Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0, in Los Angeles.

Frank Howard drove in two Dodger runs with a 420-foot homer, and Ron Fairly and Jim Gilliam singled in one apiece. The home run was the 100th of Hondo’s big-league career. Koufax didn’t allow an extra-base hit. St. Louis got only one runner to second base.

It was Koufax’s 10th consecutive victory, counting two over the Yankees in the 1963 World Series, and his 20th in his last 22 decisions. Koufax also extended his string of victories over the Redbirds to five straight, and he hasn’t allowed them a run in his last 24 innings. He struck out five and walked none.

Koufax, who set a major league record for southpaws with 11 shutouts last season, hurled the 21st of his career, and the first by a Dodger in an opening game since 1940. He hasn’t lost since Cincinnati beat him last Aug. 11, and the Cardinals haven’t taken his measure since Sept. 21, 1962.

After tonight’s contest, Roger Craig, the former Dodger and Met pitcher who now wears a Cardinal uniform, said of Koufax: “He belongs in a higher league.”

A crowd of 50,451, largest in the majors, saw the Dodgers get nine hits off the loser, Ernie Broglio, in seven innings. They picked up their first run in the sixth, when Willie Davis singled, stole second, took third on an infield out, and scored on Fairly’s single. They scored in the seventh when John Roseboro reached on a throwing error by Dick Groat, was bunted to second by Koufax, took third on Maury Wills’ third single of the game, and came home on Gilliam’s single.

Broglio blamed himself for the hit that broke the scoreless deadlock in the sixth.

“I should have caught that ball Fairly hit through the box to score Davis,” he lamented. “That was the turning point. You give Koufax a run, and he gets pretty tough. Willie got a big jump on me, and I knew it. I was watching both Davis and Wills close and had just made a throw to first before Davis went. I guess I made more throws to first tonight than in a long time. Sure, runners like Wills and Davis bother you. They take the concentration off your pitches.”

Cardinal manager Johnny Keane makes no flat prediction about the finish of the 1964 National League pennant race, but he is convinced that his club has improved over last year, when it wound up second.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” said Johnny. “There are going to be a lot of clubs in this thing right up to the last 10 days, and we’ll be one of them.”

Keane figures the Cards made the Dodger job easier last year with their big winning streak in mid-summer.

“We hurt some of the top contenders in that streak,” he said. “But nobody’s going to win 19 out of 20 games in the National League this year. The league is just too tough and there are too many good young pitchers who can stop you.”

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