April 23, 1968: Koosman Fans 11 in Win Over Astros

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Date: April 23, 1968
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 3
Astros: 1
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Jerry Koosman, Ron Swoboda, Greg Goossen
Key play: Swoboda’s and Goossen’s singles, Astros’ errors

The Mets faced the Astros on a Tuesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played a two-hour and nine-minute game. Jerry Koosman struck out eleven batters in a 3-1 Mets win over Houston.

Denis Menke drew a walk with one out in the top of the first inning. With Doug Rader at bat, Menke was caught stealing on catcher Jerry Grote’s throw to second baseman Phil Linz. Koosman struck out Rader to end the inning and Astros’ starter Denny Lemaster pitched a perfect bottom half. Rusty Staub singled to open the top of the second. Bob Aspromonte went down on strikes and John Bateman flied out to center fielder Don Bosch. Koosman fanned Ivan Murrell for the inning’s third out and the Mets loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half. Lemaster then recorded strikeouts of both Bud Harrelson and Koosman to finish off the inning.

Koosman chalked up a pair of strikeouts in a perfect top of the third. Linz reached on an error by first baseman Rader to begin the bottom of the inning. Phil moved to second base on a wild pitch and Cleon Jones grounded out to third baseman Aspromonte. Ron Swoboda hit a single to drive home Linz for a 1-0 Mets lead. Lemaster then retired Ed Charles on a ground ball to Aspromonte to close out of the inning.

Menke singled to open the top of the fourth. Rader hit a force play ground ball back to Koosman and a force play grounder by Staub (to first baseman Greg Goossen) followed. Aspromonte hit a double to score Staub and tie the game at 1-1. Bateman grounded out to third baseman Charles to end the inning and Lemaster retired the side in order in the bottom half. Koosman struck out Hector Torres during a perfect top of the fifth. Lemaster then set down the Mets in order once again in the bottom half.

Koosman fanned Menke in a perfect top of the sixth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Swoboda reached on an error by Lemaster. Charles followed by reaching third base on errors by both Lemaster and right fielder Staub. On the play, Swoboda came around to score for a 2-1 Mets lead. Goossen singled to bring home Charles with the third New York run of the game. Grote was retired on a foul pop-up to catcher Bateman. Lemaster then threw a called third strike past Harrelson to close out the inning.

Staub hit a leadoff double in the top of the seventh. Aspromonte grounded out to Koosman, who followed up by throwing a called third strike past Bateman. Murrell popped out to shortstop Harrelson to end the inning and Lemaster struck out the side in order in the bottom half. Koosman fanned both pinch-hitter Julio Gotay and Ron Davis to finish off a perfect top of the eighth. Houston reliever John Buzhardt then surrendered just a walk to Swoboda in the bottom half.

Leading off the top of the ninth, Menke flied out to right fielder Swoboda. Rader took a called third strike for Koosman’s eleventh strikeout. Jerry then retired Staub on a fly ball to left fielder Jones for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory on Koosman’s solid pitching.