April 21, 1971: Seaver and McGraw Five-Hit Reds

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Date: April 21, 1971
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 5
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): Tom Seaver, Tug McGraw, Cleon Jones, Ken Singleton
Key play: Mets’ RBI singles, Singleton’s sacrifice fly

The Mets faced the Reds on a Wednesday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series. Tom Seaver and Tug McGraw combined on a five-hitter in a 5-2 Mets win.

Bud Harrelson drew a walk against Reds’ starter Gary Nolan to lead off the top of the first inning. Harrelson stole second base and Ken Boswell popped out to shortstop Woody Woodward. Tommie Agee was called out on strikes and Dave Marshall drew a walk. Cleon Jones hit a single to drive home Harrelson for a 1-0 Mets lead. Nolan retired Ed Kranepool on a fly ball to left fielder Bernie Carbo for the third out. Seaver then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Nolan gave up only a double to Seaver in the top of the second. Tom set down the Reds in order in the bottom of the inning and Nolan yielded just a single to Agee in the top of the third. Woodward singled with one out in the bottom half. Nolan’s sacrifice bunt advanced Woodward to second base and Pete Rose fouled out to third baseman Bob Aspromonte to end the inning. Neither team had a baserunner in the fourth and fifth innings and the Mets were retired 1-2-3 by Nolan again in the top of the sixth. Woodward got a single to lead off the bottom half. Nolan followed with a bunt to first baseman Kranepool for a double play. Seaver then retired Rose on a ground ball to Kranepool to finish off the inning.

Kranepool tripled to begin the top of the seventh. Aspromonte hit a single to score Kranepool and increase the Mets’ lead to 2-0. Jerry Grote grounded back to Nolan for a double play and Seaver singled. Harrelson followed with a force play ground ball to Woodward that closed out the inning and Johnny Bench drew a two-out walk in the bottom half. Willie Smith hit a double to bring home Bench with the first Cincinnati run of the game. Seaver then retired Hal McRae on a grounder to second baseman Boswell to end the inning.

Boswell doubled against Nolan to lead off the top of the eighth. Agee was hit by a pitch and Joe Gibbon came in to pitch for the Reds. Marshall advanced the runners to second and third base with a sacrifice bunt and Jones was walked intentionally to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Ken Singleton hit a sacrifice fly to score Boswell and move Agee to third. Against Cincinnati’s Wayne Granger, pinch-hitter Art Shamsky singled to bring home Agee. Grote hit a single to plate Jones and extend the Mets’ lead to 5-1. Trying to score on the play, Shamsky was out at home via a throw by center fielder McRae to catcher Bench to finish off the inning.

Woodward singled against Seaver with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Jimmy Stewart drew a walk and advanced to third base on Rose’s single that drove home Woodward. McGraw came in to pitch for the Mets and got pinch-hitter Bill Plummer to hit a ground ball to third baseman Tim Foli for an inning-ending double play. Harrelson singled against Reds’ reliever Clay Carroll with one out in the top of the ninth. Bud stole second and went to third on Bench’s error. Boswell was retired on a fly ball to McRae. Carroll then threw a called third strike past Agee to close out the inning.

Tony Perez grounded out to shortstop Harrelson to open the bottom of the ninth. Bench drew a walk and Smith flied out to center fielder Agee. McGraw then got McRae on a force play grounder to Harrelson for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory to finish off the series.