The St. Louis Cardinals’ run of seven consecutive starts of seven innings or more allowing two or fewer runs ended Tuesday night in Arizona. The team record may be 12, set in 1944.
Though the St. Louis Cardinals’ run of stellar starting pitching performances of seven innings or more while allowing two or fewer runs was broken Tuesday night as the Arizona Diamondbacks got to Kyle Lohse in the third inning, it was an extraordinary set of performances. Not since 1967 had the Cardinals starting staff put together as lengthy a run.
What we believe may be the club record, as researched by Tom Orf, is 12 such games, compiled by the 1944 Cardinals – a club on its way to a world championship. From July 8-21 that season, during a period that included the All-Star break, three double-headers and four different opponents, St. Louis’ starters went a dozen games going at least seven innings while allowing two or fewer runs.
In an oddity, every one of the starters took a decision and 11 times, they went at least nine innings. Ten of them were winners, including Ted Wilks three times, in the first, sixth and 11th games.
30-year-old Blix Donnelly, who had made his MLB debut that May after nine minor league seasons, picked up his first career win in game 7. Sadly, just as with Lohse on Tuesday, the 1944 streak ended with Donnelly. The rookie started what would have been game 13 on July 22, 1944 at Boston, but lasted just three innings. A small consolation was that none of the four runs that scored while he was on the mound that day were earned.
I am pretty sure that in all my years of writing about the Cardinals, this is my first mention of Donnelly, who went somewhere Lohse has yet to go. Following the streak, Donnelly would later pitch in games 1 and 2 of the 1944 World Series. The right-hander picked up the win over the Browns in the 11-inning game 2 with four scoreless innings in relief of Max Lanier, who had earlier won game 9 of the July 12-game streak.
Donnelly went on to win 27 games and lose 32 in an eight-year career with three teams, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Boston, but would never again appear in the World Series. I am pretty sure he was not again part of a 12-game starting streak as in 1944, either!
12 consecutive starts with seven or more innings and two or fewer earned runs, St. Louis Cardinals
|7/9/1944 (1)||Mort Cooper||W||BOS||9||5||0||0||3||6|
|7/9/1944 (2)||Harry Brecheen||W||BOS||9||5||0||0||0||0|
|7/16/1944 (1)||Blix Donnelly||W||CIN||9||8||2||2||2||5|
|7/16/1944 (2)||Harry Brecheen||L||CIN||9||6||3||2||1||4|
|7/18/1944||Max Lanier||W||at BRO||9||4||0||0||0||5|
|7/20/1944 (1)||Mort Cooper||W||at NY||9||9||2||2||2||4|
|7/20/1944 (2)||Ted Wilks||W||at NY||11||7||2||2||1||4|
|7/21/1944||Harry Brecheen||W||at NY||9||5||0||0||3||6|