October 18, 1972: After a one-day rain delay, Reds pitchers Jack Billingham and Clay Carroll combine on a three-hitter as the Reds defeat the Oakland A’s, 1-0, in Oakland. The win cut the A’s World Series lead to two games to one.
The Reds only mustered four hits themselves off A’s pitchers Blue Moon Odom, Vida Blue, and Rollie Fingers. The Reds only had one Denis Menke single through the first six innings before scoring the game’s only run in the seventh. Tony Perez led off with a single and Menke sacrificed him to second. Cesar Geronimo then singled to center field to score Perez for the only run of the game. The only other Reds hit was a Bobby Tolan eighth inning single. A’s pitchers struck out 14 Reds in the game, including 11 by Odom.
Meanwhile, Billingham and Carroll were dealing for the Reds. Billingham gave up three hits with none of them leaving the infield. The A’s first hit off Billingham was a Joe Rudi bunt single with one out in the fourth. Dick Green had an infield single in the fifth and Gonzalo Marquez had an infield single in the seventh. Clay Carroll pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the Reds 1-0 win.
Billingham’s regular season career record was 145-113 with a 3.83 ERA. With the Reds, Billingham pitched six years and was 87-63 with a 3.85 ERA. His best season was 1973 when he was 19-10 with a 3.04 ERA, leading the league with 40 starts, 293 innings pitched, and seven shutouts, finishing fourth in Cy Young Award voting. Billingham also won 19 games in 1974, going 19-11 with a 3.94 ERA.
However, Billingham is one of the greatest World Series pitchers of all-time. Billingham is considered to hold the lowest ERA in World Series history. Baseball-reference.com shows Billingham with a career 0.36 ERA, nearly a half-run better than second place Harry Brecheen with an 0.83. Billingham’s did not allow an earned run in the 1972 World Series in 13 2/3 innings pitched. He also has the third lowest hits/9 innings rate in World Series history at 4.97 hits allowed per nine innings. Clay Carroll is eighth all-time in World Series games pitched with 14.