Be careful not to tip your pitches and don’t let a blowout loss keep you down.
Those were among the lessons learned by the 1961 Cardinals after a humiliating loss to the Pirates.
If the 2012 Cardinals are seeking inspiration after their 15-0 loss to the Giants on Aug. 8, they could find it from the St. Louis team that experienced a similar defeat 51 years ago.
The Pirates beat the Cardinals, 19-0, on Aug. 3, 1961, at St. Louis. It’s the most lopsided shutout loss in Cardinals history. Until then, the only other National League game decided by a 19-0 score was the Cubs’ victory over the Giants on June 7, 1906, according to The Sporting News.
Pittsburgh had 24 hits against three Cardinals right-handers: Al Cicotte, Bob Miller and Lindy McDaniel. Each of the nine Pirates in the starting lineup, including pitcher Harvey Haddix, had at least one hit.
“Some of our pitchers were tipping their pitches,” Cardinals manager Johnny Keane said to the Associated Press. “We were watching them closely after (the Pirates) got a big lead and we could call almost every pitch. Maybe the Pirates could, too.”
Cicotte, making the last start of a five-year big-league career, yielded eight runs in two innings. Miller gave up nine runs in three innings. McDaniel surrendered two runs, but shut out the Pirates over the last three innings.
Among the most notable Pittsburgh hitting achievements that Thursday night at Busch Stadium I:
_ Right fielder Roberto Clemente had hits in each of his first five at-bats. He finished 5-for-6, improving his league-leading batting average to .366, 24 points higher than the next-best hitter, outfielder Frank Robinson of the Reds.
“This is just one of those years when the balls are falling in for hits,” Clemente said to the Associated Press. “I’m less tense this season than ever before. I can relax better at the plate.”
_ Catcher Smoky Burgess had two home runs (both off Cicotte) and six RBI. The homers were the first by Burgess since June 22.
“This is the first time in almost six weeks I’ve been able to pull the ball,” Burgess said. “I know now I tried to play too soon after I hurt my finger late in June. But everything is fine now.”
_ First baseman Dick Stuart hit a grand slam off Miller and finished with five RBI.
_ The eighth-place batter, second baseman Bill Mazeroski, had four hits.
_ Three Pirates, third baseman Don Hoak and outfielders Bill Virdon and Bob Skinner, each had three hits. All of Skinner’s hits were doubles.
Pittsburgh, the defending World Series champion, broke a five-game losing streak with the historic victory. Boxscore
“I can’t help thinking we’d be in the first division if you could spread those runs around a little,” Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh said.
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 48-53.
In a classic example of the power of perserverance, the Cardinals followed the blowout loss with an eight-game winning streak, turning around their season. The Cardinals were 20-9 in August and finished the season at 80-74.
Among the wins in that streak: a shutout of Pittsburgh. On Aug. 9, six days after the Pirates scored 19, Curt Simmons and Ed Bauta combined for a seven-hitter in St. Louis’ 4-0 victory.