Detroit Tigers All-Time Lists

Detroit Tigers: Ten best pitching performances in team history

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SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 10: American League All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers deals during the 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game at AT&T Park on July 10, 2007 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 10: American League All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers deals during the 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game at AT&T Park on July 10, 2007 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
DETROIT, MI – APRIL 7: A general view of Comerica Park prior to the start of the opening day game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers on April 7, 2017 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

A double-header between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox on September 7, 1951 gave the fans even more baseball than they could have expected. The Tigers won the first game 4-1 behind excellent pitching from Ted Gray.

The second game ended up going 14 innings before the Tigers finally won it by a score of 2-1. Virgil Trucks, like Bill Donovan many years before him, threw the entire game. However, Trucks didn’t just hold the White Sox to one (unearned) run over 14 spectacular innings; he also hit an RBI double in the 14th inning to win it.

So let’s review. Trucks only surrendered five hits and four walks across 14 innings and God knows how many pitches. In the top of the 14th inning, with a runner on base, the Tigers allowed Trucks (a career .180 hitter) to take his sixth plate appearance of the game, and Trucks promptly knocked in a run to give himself the victory.

They say no one person can win a baseball game. Virgil ‘Fire’ Trucks came about as close as you can way back in 1951.

Trucks went on to have an incredibly interesting season in 1952. He finished the year 5-19 with a 3.97 ERA. On the surface, a pretty bad year for a pitcher pre-1968, when the mound was lowered. However, Trucks threw two no-hitters that year. One on May 15 against the Senators and one on August 25 against the Yankees. He allowed six base runners against the Senators and another three against the Yankees. He remains the only Tigers pitcher to throw two no-hitters in the same season and was the only Tiger with multiple no-hitters until Justin Verlander threw his second one in 2011.

Trucks finished his 17-year-career in 1958 with a 177-135 record and a 3.39 ERA. He made two All-Star games and was considered for the Hall of Fame in 1964.

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