April 17, 1968: Koosman's Shutout in Home Opener
|Date: April 17, 1968|
|Mets starter: Jerry Koosman|
|Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman|
|Key player(s): Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones|
|Key play: Koosman's escape of 1st inning jam, Jones' home run|
After starting the season with a five game road trip, the Mets played their first home game of the season. Jerry Koosman drew the starting assignment against San Francisco's Mike McCormick, the National League Cy Young Award winner of the previous year. A Shea Stadium crowd of 52,079 watched Jerry pitch a complete game shutout while striking out ten Giants' batters for a 3-0 Mets victory.
The game started out rough for Koosman. The Giants loaded the bases with no one out in the first inning and Willie Mays came to bat. Jerry responded by striking out Mays and then retiring the next two batters without any runs being scored. For the rest of the game, only once did San Francisco have a runner as far as second base.
The Mets took the initial lead when Cleon Jones hit a solo home run off McCormick. They added a second run in the sixth on Ed Charles' two-out double to left field that scored Ken Boswell from second base. Against Giants' reliever Bobby Bolin, Al Weis got a single that brought home Jerry Grote with the third run in the seventh.
Koosman took the mound in the ninth and completed his shutout. The game ended when pinch hitter Frank Johnson grounded into a double play. Jerry had his second win of the young season. For the Mets, it was the first time that they won a home opener in their seven year history.