April 28, 1968: Koosman Wins Fourth Consecutive Game

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Date: April 28, 1968
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 6
Reds: 5
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Jerry Koosman, Jerry Grote, Ed Charles
Key play: Charles’ and Grote’s singles in 3rd

The Mets faced the Reds on a Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. The teams played the finale of a three-game series at Crosley Field. Jerry Koosman recorded hit fourth win of the year in the Mets’ 6-5 victory.

Following a scoreless first inning, Art Shamsky doubled against Reds’ starter George Culver to begin the top of the second. Ron Swoboda drew a walk and Ed Kranepool hit a ground ball on which Culver threw to third baseman Tony Perez for a force out on Shamsky. Ed Charles popped out to shortstop Leo Cardenas and a wild pinch advanced the runners to second and third base. Jerry Grote was walked intentionally to load the bases and Koosman reached on an error by first baseman Bob Johnson that brought home Swoboda. An ensuing walk to Al Weis plated Kranepool for a 2-0 Mets lead. Culver then got Ken Boswell to ground out to Johnson and end the inning.

Perez hit a single to lead off the bottom of the second. Lee May reached on a fielder’s choice ground ball and Johnny Bench walked to load the bases. Consecutive singles by Tommy Helms and Cardenas scored Perez and May, respectively, to tie the game. Koosman retired the next two Cincinnati batters to close out the inning and Cleon Jones drew a walk to open the top of the third. Shamsky hit a force play grounder to Cardenas and moved to second on Swoboda’s single to left field. Kranepool flied out to left fielder May. Charles and Grote got back-to-back singles that drove home Shamsky and Swoboda, giving the Mets a 4-2 lead. Culver fanned Koosman for the inning’s third out. Jerry then set down the Reds in order in the bottom half.

After a scoreless fourth, Charles drew a one-out walk in the top of the fifth inning. Grote singled to send Charles to third base. Culver was replaced on the mound by Cincinnati reliever Bill Kelso, who recorded a strikeout of Koosman on which catcher Bench made a pickoff throw to Perez for an out on Charles that finished off the inning. Koosman held the Reds to a single by Johnson in the bottom half. With one out in the top of the sixth, Boswell homered for the Mets’ fifth run of the game. Kelso got Jones to pop out to second baseman Helms and retired Shamsky on an inning-ending grounder to Johnson. Koosman then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Kranepool hit a double against Kelso with one out in the top of the seventh. Charles was walked intentionally and Grote singled to score Kranepool for a 6-2 Mets lead. Reds’ reliever Ted Davidson struck out Koosman and got Weis on a line drive to Cardenas to end the inning. Koosman gave up only a walk to Cardenas in a scoreless half. Cincinnati’s Bob Lee then set down the side in order in the top of the eighth.

Johnson singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. Koosman’s wild pitch and Vada Pinson’s ground out to second baseman Boswell advanced Johnson to second and third. Perez flied out to right fielder Swoboda and a two-run homer by May followed. Bench hit a single and Mets’ reliever Danny Frisella issued a walk to Helms. Frisella got Cardenas on an inning-ending ground ball to third baseman Charles and a single by Swoboda began the top of the ninth. Kranepool’s sacrifice bunt moved Swoboda to second and an intentional walk to Charles ensued. Lee was then relieved by the Reds’ Ted Abernanthy, who got Grote to hit a grounder to newly-inserted second baseman Chico Ruiz for a double play to close out the inning.

Frisella walked Ruiz to begin the bottom of the ninth. Pete Rose singled to send Ruiz to third base and Mets’ reliever Bill Short struck out pinch-hitter Fred Whitfield. Short retired Pinson on a pop-up to Boswell for the inning’s second out. With Ron Taylor on the mound for the Mets, Perez reached on an error by Charles that allowed Ruiz to score and Rose to move to third. Taylor then got May to pop out to first baseman Kranepool and end the game. The Mets had held on for a series-closing triumph as Koosman chalked up his fourth win in as many games pitched to start his official rookie season.