April 18, 1971: Gentry Pitches One-Hitter

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Date: April 18, 1971
Mets starter: Gary Gentry
Mets: 5
Pirates: 2
Winning pitcher: Gary Gentry
Key player(s): Gary Gentry, Cleon Jones
Key play: Jones’ & Agee’s home runs

The Mets and Pirates faced each other in a Sunday doubleheader at Shea Stadium. Gary Gentry squared off against Pittsburgh lefthander Luke Walker in Game 1 of the twinbill. Walker was outstanding as he struck out 12 batters, but Gentry threw a one-hitter as the Mets came away with a 5-2 win.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Jerry Grote walked in between two Walker strikeouts and Tommie Agee singled. Bud Harrelson also singled to load the bases before Cleon Jones walked to force home Grote. Meanwhile, Gentry didn’t allow a Pittsburgh batter to reach base through the first four innings.

Gentry retired Willie Stargell to start the fifth, but then walked Al Oliver and hit Bob Robertson with a pitch. He later walked Jackie Hernandez intentionally to load the bases, but struck out Walker to end the inning. In the sixth, Roberto Clemente tripled to score Richie Hebner and then came home on Stargell’s sacrifice fly, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

Harrelson walked to open the bottom of the sixth for the Mets. Jones followed with a home run off Walker to put the Mets back in front. Walker then retired the next six Mets hitters, but Gentry also got out the next six Pirates he faced. Despite his 12 strikeouts through seven innings, Walker was removed for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

Leading off the bottom of the eighth, Agee homered off Pittsburgh reliever Nelson Briles for a 4-2 Met lead. Jones later scored on a single by Bob Aspromonte for another run off Briles. Gentry then pitched his third consecutive perfect inning to end the game with a one-hitter and a complete game victory.