On April 26, 1968, Bob Gibson’s ERA was sitting at what proved to be a season-high 2.35. By the end of that day it sat at 1.97 and he had gotten his first win of the season. That win came in large part thanks to solo home runs by Orlando Cepeda and Tim McCarver in the 2-1 victory over the Pirates at Busch Stadium.
Gibson faced Bob Veale in the contest. A formidable opponent, Veale only allowed four hits in the contest. However, as you already know, two of those hits were mistake pitches that left the yard. Gibson, on the other hand, scattered seven hits throughout the contest. Two of those came in the fourth inning and ended up with a Pirates run on the scoreboard. That run was credited to Don Clendenon who hit a sac fly that brought Roberto Clemente trotting in to score. The Bucs were up 1-0.
The visitors’ lead was short-lived. In the bottom of the fourth, Cepeda lunged at one and got just enough of it to put it over the wall in right. The slugger said it was the first home run he hit to right in his three years with the Redbirds, and it was a big one as it had tied the game up. The score remained tied until the seventh. In the top of that inning, Gibson nearly surrendered the lead after allowing a two-out single to Matty Alou. A wild pitch and a passed ball moved Alou to third before Gibby was able to retire Pittsburgh’s catcher Jerry May with a fly to center. Then came the big fly, the one that counted the most: Tim McCarver’s first long-ball of the ’68 season. In an article that appeared in The Altoona Mirror out of Pennsylvania, an excited McCarver would later say “I hit a breaking ball for a home run. I needed that home run for confidence, and getting it from Bob Veale, who I consider one of the toughest lefthanders to hit, means something.” It most definitely meant something. It meant the Cardinals were on the way to victory.
Gibson sailed the rest of the way, only allowing one more hit, a two-
single to Clendenon in the ninth. He struck Alou out looking only to end it one
batter later to put himself in the win column for the first time that season. His counterpart, Bob Veale, was coined the “hard
luck” pitcher in the tilt. It seems that Veale pitched well when the ball was
handed to him but could not get the run support needed to get wins. His record for
that ’68 season speaks for itself when you line it up next to his ERA: 13-14
with a 2.05 earned run average. I would
say Bob Veale certainly suffered some hard luck. After all, he had to face Bob
Gibson on that day in late April.
Check out the box score here: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196804260.shtml