July 3, 1968 – Luis Tiant 19Ks in 10-Inning Complete Game
The Indians were hosting the Twins for a four-game series leading up to the Fourth of July holiday. After splitting the first two games, Luis Tiant was on the mound against the Twins Jim Merritt.
Tiant pitched brilliantly, but was challenged early. With Twins on first and second in the top of the second he struck out Minnesota shortstop Jackie Hernandez looking to end the inning.
Although he scattered six hits, no Twins baserunner made it past first again until the top of the tenth.
Although not generating as many strikeouts, Merritt had an outstanding night as well. He struck out seven Indians, gave up only four hits and a walk. The pitching duel lasted into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth, Rich Reese doubled to left field. Frank Quilici followed with a well-executed bunt that advanced Reese to third. With runners at the corners and no outs, Tiant struck out John Roseboro, Rich Rollins, and Merritt in quick succession to end the threat.
Indians left fielder Lou Johnson led off the bottom of the tenth with a single, and advanced to second on an error. With Johnson in scoring position as a result of the miscue by Jackie Hernandez, Tribe catcher Joe Azcue stepped to the plate. Azcue knocked a single into right field, easily scoring Johnson and sending the Indians into the holiday on a winning note.
Tiant would finish 1968 with a league-leading 1.60 ERA, and a 21-9 record. Seven of his 21 wins were shutouts.