September 26, 1973 – Gaylord Perry Complete Game Shutout to Win His Final Four Starts
Gaylord Perry spitballed his way to the 1972 Cy Young Award –the first for an Indians pitcher–by posting a 24-16 record for the worst team in the American League.
In 1973, he continued to baffle hitters both with legal sliders and forkballs along with the occasional illicit greaseball. Gaylord came into this game with an 18-19 record. He was the hard-luck loser much more often in the 1973 season. The Tribe had long been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs–their 69-89 record had them 26 ½ games off the pace in the AL East–but Gaylord Perry never stopped trying to fool the opposition.
He retired the Red Sox side in the top of the first. Bill Lee likewise threw a 1-2-3 inning for the Sox in the bottom of the frame.
Perry gave up a hit to Carl Yastrzemski to lead off the top of the second, but Yaz was quickly erased by a 6-4-3 double play ball off the bat of Orlando Cepeda.
Tribe DH John Ellis smashed a homer to lead off the bottom of the second, thrilling the 1,453 fans on hand at Municipal Stadium.
Perry was challenged with Red Sox in scoring position in the top of the fifth after Frank Duffy got aboard on a bunt and was advanced to second by a Walt Williams single. In the sixth, the Sox had runners at second and third when Orlando Cepeda came to the plate. Perry struck Cepeda out looking to end the inning That was the last time a Red Sox hitter would reach base this evening.
Sox pitcher Bill Lee did his part as well. He gave up only the one run on seven hits and no walks.
In the top of the ninth, Perry faced the heart of the Sox order. He got Reggie Smith to fly out. Yastrzemski grounded out to second. Orlando Cepeda struck out to end the game. It was Perry’s fourth win in a row, and brought his record to 19-19 for the season. For the second year in a row, Perry had a league-leading 29 complete games.