Marty Pattin of the Red Sox came within two outs of a no-hitter, but had to settle for a one-hit shutout as Boston defeated the Oakland A's 4-0 before a crowd of just 5,539 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The Red Sox, managed by Eddie Kasko, were in third place at the time in a season that saw its opening two weeks cancelled by a strike. Oakland, managed by Dick Williams, was in first place. Joe Horlen started for the A's.
Rookie catcher Carlton Fisk supplied Pattin with the only run he would need with a solo homer in the second. Fisk had another RBI single in the eighth. First baseman Danny Cater drove in a run with a ground out and another run scored on a wild pitch.
Meanwhile, Pattin was mowing down the A's. He did walk three and hit Oakland third baseman Sal Bando with a pitch that forced Bando to leave the game. Marty Martinez finished up at third base.
In the ninth, Pattin struck out left fielder Joe Rudi to start the inning. Next up was center fielder Reggie Jackson, but he had a clean single to break up Pattin's bid for the no-no. First baseman Mike Epstein and rightfielder Bill Voss fouled out to end the game.
Pattin had his best season of his career in 1972, going 17-13 with a 3.24 ERA. The Red Sox had acquired Pattin from Milwaukee prior to the season as part of a 10-player deal with the principal players switching teams being Tommy Harper (going to Boston) and George Scott (going to Milwaukee). 1967 hero Jim Lonborg was also moved to Milwaukee in the deal. Pattin would be traded to Kansas City after the 1973 in exchange for Dick Drago and would pitch through the 1980 season for the Royals as a spot starter and reliever.
The games that were cancelled at the beginning of the season would come back to haunt the Red Sox, who missed out on the AL East title by 1/2 game to Detroit. The Tigers played one more game than Boston and nosed out the Red Sox with an 86-70 record to Boston's 85-70.
Oakland won the AL West with a 93-62 record, 5 1/2 games ahead of Chicago. Oakland would beat Detroit in the ALCS in five games and then win the franchise's first World Series since 1930 in a seven-game series against Cincinnati. Oakland would go to win three consecutive World Series.
Despite their success, the A's had a very unsettled lineup. Williams didn't like any of his second basemen and used 11 different players at the position, including Gene Tenace and Curt Blefary. The outfield was a bit of a jumble. Rudi was a fixture in left, but Jackson jumped between center and right. Angel Mangual and George Hendrick saw a lot of time at the position.
The A's strength was pitching with Catfish Hunter winning 21 games with a 2.04 ERA and Rollie Fingers winning 11 games and saving 21 out of the bullpen. Vida Blue, who had won the Cy Young and MVP in 1971, was just 6-10 after missing part of the season because of a contract dispute with Oakland owner Charlie Finley.
Fisk would win the AL Rookie of the Year award after hitting 22 home runs and batting .293. Surprisingly, no Boston regular batted over .300. The team batting average was .248 which was the third highest in the AL and the Red Sox led the AL in slugging at .376. All of those figures in the AL would go up in 1973 when the designated hitter rule was adopted.
Sources: Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.com, New York Times