April 29, 1966: Four Runs in 11th Slay Pirates

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Date: April 29, 1966
Mets starter: Rob Gardner
Mets: 5
Pirates: 2
Winning pitcher: Dick Selma
Key player(s): Chuck Hiller, Roy McMillan
Key play: Hiller’s and McMillan’s singles in 11th

The Mets and Pirates faced each other on a Friday night in Pittsburgh. The teams began a series with an extra-inning game at Forbes Field. In the 11th, the Mets scored four runs and ended up with a 5-2 win over the Bucs.

In the top of the first inning, Roy McMillan got a one-out single off Pirates’ starter Steve Blass. An ensuing single by Ken Boyer moved McMillan to second base and Ed Kranepool went down on strikes. Johnny Lewis singled to score McMillan with the first run of the game. On the hit, Boyer was out on a throw by center fielder Manny Mota to third baseman Bob Bailey to end the inning. Mets’ starter Rob Gardner held Pittsburgh to a single by Roberto Clemente in a scoreless bottom half. Blass and Gardner then followed up with shutout ball from the second inning to the fifth.

Blass set down the Mets in order in the top of the sixth and began the bottom half with a single to center field. Mota got a bunt single after which Blass was caught at second on a pickoff throw by catcher Jerry Grote to shortstop McMillan. Mota advanced to second on Jose Pagan’s single and to third on Clemente’s force play ground ball to McMillan. Gardner retired Donn Clendenon on an inning-ending grounder to third baseman Boyer. Blass then shut down the Mets despite singles by Lewis and Al Luplow in the top of the seventh.

Jim Pagliaroni opened the bottom of the seventh inning with a single to center field. Bill Mazeroski popped out to Boyer and a double by Bailey drove home Pagliaroni to tie the game at 1-1. Gardner got Andre Rodgers to fly out to center fielder Lewis and struck out Blass to end the inning. Blass and Gardner each hurled a scoreless eighth and Boyer doubled to lead off the top of the ninth. Bucs’ reliever Luke Walker got Kranepool on a grounder to first baseman Clendenon and struck out pinch-hitter Cleon Jones. Walker issued walks to pinch-hitter Jim Hickman and Ron Swoboda to load the bases before retiring Grote on an inning-ending pop-up to Bailey. Gardner then shut down the Pirates in the bottom half to send the game onward.

Walker and Mets’ reliever Dick Selma each pitched a scoreless and hitless 10th inning. In the top of the 11th, Walker issued back-to-back walks to Swoboda and Grote with two outs. Pinch-hitter Chuck Hiller singled to score Swoboda and put the Mets ahead by a run. Pittsburgh’s Pete Mikkelsen walked Ron Hunt to load the bases. McMillan singled off Bucs’ reliever Al McBean to drive home Grote and Hiller, extending the Mets’ lead to 4-1. Following a passed ball by catcher Jerry May on which McMillan went to second base, McBean threw a wild pitch that plated Hunt from third. Boyer then hit a line drive to left fielder Pagan to close out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Darrell Sutherland walked Mota to begin the bottom of the 11th. Consecutive ground outs by Pagan and Clemente moved Mota around to third base. Clendenon got a bunt single to score Mota with the Pirates’ second run. Sutherland then retired pinch-hitter Dave Roberts on a ground ball to first baseman Kranepool to end the game. The Mets had an extra-inning victory.