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On This Date in Cardinals History: June 1, 1968

On this date 44 years ago Cardinals pitcher Joe Hoerner tied a National League record for consecutive strikeouts by a relief pitcher when he whiffed six Mets in a row.

The Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning against New York starter Nolan Ryan to tie the game at four. Hoerner came in and pitched four innings of relief, allowing only a solo home run.

In the ninth inning he struck out Al Weis, Ron Swoboda and Don Bosch to preserve a five-all tie. Mike Shannon hit a homer in the top of the 10th at Shea Stadium to give the Redbirds a 6-5 lead. Then Hoerner whiffed Greg Goossen, Jerry Buchek and Jerry Grote to improve to 3-1 for the season.

Ray Washburn started the game for St. Louis but lasted only an inning and a third, giving up four runs on five hits. The Cardinals were the defending World Series champions. But they were off to a sluggish start with a 22-21 record. The come from behind win was their third victory in a row to push the Redbirds to 25-21 and into first place.

They successfully defended their National League pennant in 1968. But they lost the World Series in seven games to Detroit.