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Koufax Masters Cardinals, 4-0

Sept. 17, 1963 - Sandy Koufax, the best pitcher in the world, did tonight exactly what one would expect the world’s best pitcher to do: he held the Cardinals scoreless, permitted only four singles, and pitched his Dodgers to within grasping distance of the National League pennant. The score was 4-0, and the result increased the Dodger lead over St. Louis to 3 games. Koufax’s mastery muffled the enthusiasm of a partisan Busch Stadium crowd of 30,450, which could sense the difficulties faced by the Cards as soon as the first two Dodger hitters produced a run off Curt Simmons, the St. Louis starter. Sandy made that 1-0 stand up through 7 innings. He didn’t allow a hit until Stan Musial lined one to center leading off the seventh. Only after a two-run homer by Frank Howard in the eighth had increased the lead to 3-0 did Koufax yield the other 3 singles. In the process, the southpaw from Brooklyn left a trail of noteworthy statistics. This was his 11th shutout of the season, a major league record for a southpaw. This was his 24th victory, the most for a National League left-hander since Carl Hubbell won 26 in 1936. And Koufax added to his National League record for strikeouts in one season. He has 288 in 298 innings. Koufax had altered his pitching schedule to work this game. To observe the Jewish holidays that start Thursday, he pitched in Philadelphia last Friday with only two days of rest to have three days off going into this game. Tonight, he was completely in control at all times. “It was not my best game but my biggest,” said Koufax afterward. “My fastball and curve behaved excellently, and I had good control.” Informed he had made only 87 pitches, Koufax was astonished. “You don’t say,” he exclaimed. “Why, I don’t think I’ve ever pitched a game when I made under 100 pitches.” Regarding the hit by Musial that broke up his no-hitter in the seventh, Koufax said: “I didn’t make a mistake on Stan. It was a good pitch, low and outside. The score was 1-0 at the time, and I wasn’t going to give him anything inside. I was in no frame of mind to see a repeat of last night.” Koufax was referring to Musial’s homer off Johnny Podres in a similar situation. The Dodgers were leading 1-0 then, too. “He’s the greatest in baseball this year,” said Musial of Koufax afterward. Cardinal Manager Johnny Keane joined in the praise for Koufax. “He’s the best pitcher in the National League,” said Keane. “We still have enough games to play to win the pennant. But now we’ll need more help from the other clubs.”


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