April 20, 1969: Fourteen Hits Romp Redbirds

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Date: April 20, 1969
Mets starter: Jim McAndrew
Mets: 11
Cardinals: 3
Winning pitcher: Nolan Ryan
Key player(s): Kevin Collins, Jerry Grote, Ron Swoboda
Key play: Collins’ home run, Grote’s and Swoboda’s doubles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Sunday afternoon in St. Louis. The teams played a two-hour and forty-two-minute game. The Mets collected fourteen hits in an 11-3 win over the Redbirds.

Cards’ starter Nelson Briles pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Lou Brock singled against the Mets’ Jim McAndrew to lead off the bottom half. Curt Flood drew a walk and Vada Pinson hit a double play ground ball to second baseman Ken Boswell. Joe Torre slugged a two-run homer and a double by Tim McCarver followed. Mike Shannon hit a double to drive home McCarver for a 3-0 St. Louis lead. McAndrew then retired Julian Javier on a grounder to third baseman Kevin Collins for the third out.

Cleon Jones hit a double to begin the top of the second. Ed Kranepool was retired on a pop-up to shortstop Dal Maxvill. Ron Swoboda took a called third strike and Jerry Grote doubled to score Jones. Collins fouled out to catcher McCarver to end the inning and McAndrew set down the side in order in the bottom half. Briles retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the third and Pinson got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. McAndrew then struck out Torre and got McCarver on a force play ground ball to shortstop Bud Harrelson for the inning’s final out.

Briles gave up only a double to Amos Otis in the top of the fourth. Mets’ reliever Nolan Ryan hurled a scoreless bottom half and Grote drew a walk against Briles to open the top of the fifth. Collins hit a two-run homer to tie the game at 3-3. Ryan grounded out to Maxvill and consecutive singles by Harrelson and Boswell ensued. Otis flied out to right fielder Pinson and a walk to Jones loaded the bases. Kranepool drew a walk against Cardinals’ reliever Mike Torrez to force home Harrelson and put the Mets ahead by a run. Swoboda doubled to bring home Boswell and Jones for a 6-3 New York lead. Torrez retired Grote on an inning-ending grounder to third baseman Shannon. Ryan then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Torrez set down the side in order in the top of the sixth. Ryan yielded only a single to McCarver in the bottom of the inning and Jones hit a single against Torrez with two outs in the top of the seventh. Kranepool doubled to drive home Jones and came around to score on Swoboda’s single for an 8-3 Mets lead. Grote singled to advance Swoboda to third base and Redbirds’ reliever Mel Nelson retired Collins on a grounder to second baseman Javier to end the inning. Ryan then set down all three batters in the bottom half.

St. Louis reliever Gary Waslewski surrendered only a walk to Harrelson in the top of the eighth. Ryan and the Mets’ Cal Koonce combined for a scoreless bottom of the inning and Jones got a one-out single against Waslewski in the top of the ninth. Kranepool singled and Swoboda drew a walk to load the bases. Grote followed with a double (the Mets’ fourteenth hit) that brought home Jones, Kranepool and Swoboda for eleven New York runs in the game. Cards’ reliever Ron Willis retired Collins on a fly ball to center fielder Flood. Koonce then popped out to Willis to end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Dave Ricketts drew a walk to begin the bottom of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Bob Johnson hit a double play grounder to Harrelson and a single by Brock followed. Koonce then got Flood to line out to Collins and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a solid victory.