ST. LOUIS -- In his 1983 major-league debut, St. Louis' Danny Cox held the Philadelphia Phillies scoreless for 10 innings before being pulled for a pinch-hitter. Steve Carlton and crew claimed a 1-0 victory in the next inning.
Friday night, Cox hurled a perfect game for 7 2-3 innings before giving up a single to Cincinnati's Dave Concepcion. Cox earned a 5-0 shutout victory for the Cardinals.
'No question, the win was the better game,' Cox said. 'But I'll always remember the other game because it was the first. This was the best game I've pitched.'
It was not that way last year at this time. On June 17, the Cardinals sent Cox back to Louisville. He was 2-9 at the time. He came back and finished the season 9-11.
'Ever since then, he's pitched well for us,' St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog said. 'He's done the job. He's pitched well this year.'
Cox, 6-1, has hurled three complete games this season.
'Yeah, last year I was packing my bags at this time,' Cox said. 'What a difference a year makes.'
Cox baffled the Reds, whom he also beat 7-2 Sunday in Cincinnati.
'Tonight was my night,' Cox said. 'I didn't think I'd do that well tonight because I caught a cold when we were in Atlanta. After I got out there, I just pitched.'
'It was in the back of my mind,' Cox said of his developing perfect game. 'I didn't think too much about it until I came to bat in the seventh and the crowd (of 38,910) started cheering and clapping. I know I'm not that good of a batter.'
Jack Clark's 10th home run of the season with Willie McGee on base accounted for two runs and Tom Herr drove in three to provide the offensive punch for St. Louis.
The veteran Concepcion broke up Cox' flirtation with the record books in the eighth.
'He pitched me the same way the whole game,' Concepcion said. 'Why should he change? I was looking for a fastball inside and I got it.
'When you got something like that going, the other team plays 110 percent. They want to hold it for the pitcher. I just went up there wanting to hit it hard. What else can I do?'
Herzog said Cox was 'mentally let down after the hit.' But Cox recovered and went on to complete the game and the shutout.
'I didn't worry too much after I lost it,' Cox said. 'I wanted the win. There will be other games. I hope to be able to pitch well enough in one of them to maybe do it again.'