April 20, 1975: Mets Withstand Cubs Rally
|Date: April 20, 1975|
|Mets starter: Jon Matlack|
|Winning pitcher: Jon Matlack|
|Key player(s): Wayne Garrett, Ed Kranepool, Jack Heidemann, Bob Apodaca|
|Key play: Garrett’s triple in 1st, Kranepool’s double in 2nd, Heidemann’s homer in 5th|
The Mets faced the Cubs in a doubleheader on a Sunday afternoon. The teams played a two-hour and fifty-three-minute opener of the twinbill at Shea Stadium. After building up a lead of seven runs, the Mets held off a Chicago comeback effort for an 8-6 win.
The Cubs failed to score after loading the bases in the top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Wayne Garrett hit a triple to right field. Felix Millan singled to score Garrett and a single by Del Unser ensued. Rusty Staub hit a single that drove home Millan and a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third base. Dave Kingman went down on strikes and Ed Kranepool drew a walk to load the bases. Jack Heidemann was struck out and John Stearns singled to plate Unser for a 3-0 Mets lead. Trying to score on Stearns’ hit, Staub was out at home via a throw by left fielder Jose Cardenal to catcher Steve Swisher to end the inning.
Mets’ starter Jon Matlack pitched a scoreless top of the second. Chicago’s Rick Reuschel issued a walk to Garrett with one out in the bottom half. Garrett moved to second base on Millan’s ground out to third baseman Bill Madlock and came home on a single by Unser. Cubs’ reliever Milt Wilcox walked Staub and surrendered a single to Kingman that brought home Unser. Kranepool followed with a double to score Staub and Kingman for a 7-0 Mets lead. Wilcox then retired Heidemann on a grounder to Madlock for the inning’s final out.
Madlock hit a one-out double in the top of the third. Jerry Morales flied out to center fielder Unser and a double by George Mitterwald brought home Madlock. Rick Monday doubled to score Mitterwald for the Cubs’ second run and Manny Trillo went down on strikes to close out the inning. Wilcox shut down the Mets in the bottom half and Matlack yielded only a single to Don Kessinger in the top of the fourth. Millan doubled against Chicago reliever Ken Frailing to begin the bottom of the inning. Unser grounded back to Frailing and a ground out by Staub moved Millan to third base. Frailing then got Kingman on a fly ball to Cardenal for the third out of the inning.
Mitterwald and Monday got back-to-back singles with two outs in the top of the fifth. Trillo hit a three-run homer to reduce the Mets’ lead to 7-5. Swisher hit a grounder on which catcher Stearns threw to first baseman Kranepool to finish off the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Heidemann homered against Frailing for the eighth New York run of the game. Stearns and Garrett drew walks around a strikeout of Matlack. Cubs’ reliever Bob Locker then got Millan to hit a force play ground ball to Madlock that ended the inning.
Matlack and Locker each faced the minimum six batters in pitching scoreless sixth and seventh innings. Monday singled to open the top of the eighth. Trillo fouled out to Kranepool and a single by pinch-hitter Ron Dunn ensued. Tim Hosley drew a walk against Mets’ reliever Bob Apodaca to load the bases. Kessinger followed with a sacrifice fly to score Monday with the sixth Chicago run. Apodaca got Cardenal to hit an inning-ending force play ground ball to shortstop Heidemann. For the Cubs, reliever Oscar Zamora hurled a perfect bottom half.
Madlock grounded back to Apodaca to lead off the top of the ninth. Morales was retired on a pop-up to third baseman Garrett. Apodaca then got Mitterwald to fly out to Unser and end the game. The Mets had thwarted a rally attempt and come away with a first-game victory.