April 18, 1978: Valentine's Double Gives Bruhert First Win

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Date: April 18, 1978
Mets starter: Mike Bruhert
Mets: 3
Cardinals: 2
Winning pitcher: Mike Bruhert
Key player(s): Mike Bruhert, Bobby Valentine
Key play: Valentine’s double

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday night. The teams played the second of three games in a series at Busch Memorial Stadium. Bobby Valentine hit a two-run double that gave Mike Bruhert his first major league win in a 3-2 Mets victory over St. Louis.

Bruhert and the Cards’ Eric Rasmussen each pitched two scoreless and hitless innings to start the game. Rasmussen set down the Mets in order in the top of the third and singled with one out in the bottom half. Jim Dwyer hit a single and an ensuing double by Garry Templeton drove home Rasmussen for a 1-0 Redbirds lead. Jerry Morales followed with a ground ball on which Dwyer was caught in a rundown and tagged out by Bruhert. Mike then retired Ted Simmons on a grounder to shortstop Tim Foli that ended the inning.

After a scoreless fourth, Willie Montanez singled to lead off the top of the fifth. Lee Mazzilli hit a double to send Montanez to third base and John Stearns popped out to shortstop Templeton. Foli’s ground out to Templeton scored Montanez and tied the game. Rasmussen fanned Bruhert to close out the inning and Mike hurled a perfect bottom half. The Mets were set down in order by Rasmussen in the top of the sixth. Bruhert then retired the Cardinals 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Montanez hit a double with one out in the top of the seventh inning. Mazzilli drew a walk and Stearns went down on strikes. Pinch-hitter Ed Kranepool was walked intentionally to load the bases. Valentine came up to pinch-hit for Bruhert and delivered a double that plated Montanez and Mazzilli for a 3-1 Mets lead. On the hit, Kranepool was out at home via a relay throw from Templeton to catcher Simmons to end the inning. Mets’ reliever Bob Myrick then shut down the Cards in the bottom half.

Rasmussen held the Mets to a single by Doug Flynn in the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Tony Scott got an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Templeton singled and Mets’ reliever Skip Lockwood issued a walk to Morales that loaded the bases. Simmons followed with an infield single to bring home Scott with the Redbirds’ second run. Lockwood got Keith Hernandez on a grounder to second baseman Valentine for the inning’s final out. St. Louis reliever Buddy Schultz then pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.

Ken Reitz flied out to right fielder Bruce Boisclair to begin the bottom of the ninth inning. Dane Iorg grounded out to first baseman Montanez. Lockwood then retired pinch-hitter Lou Brock on a fly ball to left fielder Steve Henderson that ended the game. The Mets had a victory as Bruhert recorded his first win as a major leaguer.