Friday, July 4, 2014
Vintage Fridays: Mike Cuellar, 1974 Topps #560
July 4, 1971, Mike Cuellar won his tenth straight decision with a complete game victory over the Tigers, 3-2. Cuellar and Detroit starter Joe Coleman each went the distance, allowing six hits apiece. But Coleman allowed a two-run homer to Boog Powell in the first inning and a leadoff shot to Elrod Hendricks in the sixth to make the difference. Cuellar kept the Tigers off the board until the bottom of the sixth, when Aurelio Rodriguez doubled and Tony Taylor singled him home. A Bill Freehan solo homer with one out in the ninth gave Detroit a glimmer of hope, but Cuellar snuffed that out by retiring the next two batters to finish off the game. He'd also win his next start on July 8 to improve to 13-1 before his luck evened out and he posted a 7-8 record in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, Mike wound up at 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA for the year, as the Orioles rotation boasted four 20-game winners en route to the American League pennant.