April 17, 1976: Seventeen Runs in Pittsburgh

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Date: April 17, 1976
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 17
Pirates: 1
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Ron Hodges, Dave Kingman, Jerry Koosman
Key play: Mets’ five-run 1st & five-run 7th innings

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday afternoon at Three Rivers Stadium. Every player in the Mets’ starting lineup had at least one hit for a total of 21 in the game. The Mets ended up with a 17-1 win over Pittsburgh.

Wayne Garrett led off the first inning with a single to right field. Pirates’ starter Bruce Kison struck out Del Unser and gave up a single to John Milner. A single by Ed Kranepool scored Garrett for the first run of the game. Kison fanned Dave Kingman and walked Ron Hodges to load the bases. Bud Harrelson singled to bring home Milner and Kranepool. Felix Millan hit an ensuing double (and went to third on left fielder Richie Zisk’s error) to plate Hodges and Harrelson. With the Mets ahead, 5-0, Kison was removed from the game and reliever Kent Tekulve struck out Jerry Koosman to end the inning.

Koosman pitched a perfect bottom of the first. Garrett doubled and Unser singled to begin the top of the second. Trying to score on Unser’s hit, Wayne was thrown out at home by Pittsburgh center fielder Al Oliver. Unser was caught stealing by Pirates’ catcher Manny Sanguillen on Tekulve’s third strike to Milner. After Koosman shut down the Bucs in the bottom half, the Mets didn’t score despite Hodges’ two-out single in the top of the third. Jerry then retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning.

Pittsburgh reliever Larry Demery set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth. The Pirates scored a run in the bottom half on Bob Robertson’s single that brought home Sanguillen. With two outs in the top of the fifth, Kranepool reached first base on right fielder Dave Parker’s error. Kingman doubled and Hodges delivered a two-run single for a 7-1 Mets lead. Demery retired Harrelson on a fly ball to Zisk for the third out. Koosman retired the Pirates on three consecutive ground balls in the bottom of the inning.

Millan singled off Pittsburgh reliever Dave Giusti to begin the top of the sixth. Giusti retired the next three batters to shut down the Mets. Koosman recorded two outs before yielding a double to Oliver in the bottom of the inning. Jerry then got Robertson on a fly ball to center fielder Unser for the third out.

Milner singled and went to second base on Parker’s error to start the top of the seventh inning. Kranepool reached first on an error by second baseman Rennie Stennett. Kingman followed with a three-run homer to extend the Mets’ lead to 10-1. Hodges singled and went to second when first baseman Robertson mishandled Millan’s one-out grounder for the Pirates’ fifth error of the game. Koosman singled to score Hodges and a force play grounder by Garrett brought home Millan. Unser grounded out to Stennett for the third out of the inning. Koosman then pitched a scoreless bottom half despite two-out singles by Richie Hebner and Frank Taveras.

In the top of the eighth, Milner led off with a single. Kranepool hit a two-run homer to make the score 14-1. Giusti retired the next three batters to close out the inning. Koosman got Stennett and Sanguillen to line out to right fielder Kingman before a double by Oliver in the bottom half. Jerry then fanned Robertson for the third out.

Millan hit a double to lead off the top of the ninth inning. Koosman followed with a double that scored Millan. Garrett also doubled (the Mets’ 20th hit) to bring home Koosman. An ensuing single by Unser plated Garrett with the Mets seventeenth run. Giusti then walked Milner and retired the next three batters to finish the inning.

Zisk hit a double to begin the bottom of the ninth. Parker fouled out to third baseman Garrett. Hebner lined to shortstop Harrelson for the second out of the inning. Koosman then threw out Taveras on a grounder back to the mound to end the game. The Mets had an easy victory.