April 17, 1978: Flynn's Singles Lead Mets Past Cards

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Date: April 17, 1978
Mets starter: Nino Espinosa
Mets: 6
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: Nino Espinosa
Key player(s): Nino Espinosa, Doug Flynn, Lenny Randle, Skip Lockwood
Key play: Flynn’s singles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Monday night in St. Louis. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Doug Flynn hit a pair of run-scoring singles to lift the Mets to a 6-2 win.

Cards’ starter Pete Falcone pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Lou Brock singled and advanced to second base on an error by shortstop Tim Foli. Garry Templeton hit a triple to score Brock and came home on Jerry Morales’s ground out to pitcher Nino Espinosa for a 2-0 Redbirds lead. Ted Simmons was retired on a foul pop-up to catcher John Stearns. Espinosa then got Keith Hernandez on a ground ball to first baseman Willie Montanez for the third out.

Tom Grieve singled to open the top of the second. Montanez drew a walk and Stearns was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Lenny Randle walked to force home Grieve with the Mets’ first run of the game. Flynn followed with a double play grounder to third baseman Ken Reitz on which Montanez scored to tie the game. Falcone retired Espinosa on an inning-ending ground ball to Reitz. Nino then gave up only a double to Mike Phillips in the bottom half.

Falcone set down the side in order in the top of the third. Espinosa hurled a perfect bottom of the inning and Stearns singled with two outs in the top of the fourth. Randle hit a single and moved to third base on Flynn’s single that brought home Stearns for a 3-2 Mets lead. Espinosa hit a force play grounder to shortstop Templeton that ended the inning and held the Cards to a single by Simmons in the bottom half. Falcone shut down the Mets in the top of the fifth. Nino then retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

Stearns and Randle drew back-to-back walks against St. Louis reliever John Urrea with two outs in the top of the sixth. Flynn singled to drive home Stearns and increase the Mets’ lead to 4-2. Espinosa was called out on strikes to finish off the inning and yielded just a single to Morales in the bottom half. Urrea pitched a perfect top of the seventh and consecutive singles by Hernandez and Reitz began the bottom of the inning. Jerry Mumphrey hit a grounder on which Stearns threw to third baseman Randle for a force out on Hernandez. Espinosa got Phillips on a line drive to second baseman Flynn, who then threw to Foli for an out on Reitz and an inning-ending double play.

Bruce Boisclair singled against Urrea to open the top of the eighth. Montanez was retired on a line drive to right fielder Morales. Stearns grounded out to Reitz and a single by Randle plated Boisclair for a 5-2 Mets lead. On his own hit, Randle got caught in a rundown and was tagged out by catcher Simmons to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Skip Lockwood hurled a perfect bottom half and Flynn got a leadoff single against the Cardinals’ Pete Vuckovich in the top of the ninth. Doug went to second base on Lockwood’s sacrifice bunt and to third on Lee Mazzilli’s ground out to Simmons. Foli reached on Templeton’s error that allowed Flynn to come home with the Mets’ sixth run. Vuckovich then retired Steve Henderson on a fly ball to center fielder Mumphrey to close out the inning.

Morales went down on strikes to begin the bottom of the ninth. Simmons was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Boisclair. Lockwood then got Hernandez to fly out to Boisclair and end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the series.