April 30, 1971: Mets Defeat Astros in 12 Innings

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Date: April 30, 1971
Mets starter: Jim McAndrew
Mets: 4
Astros: 3
Winning pitcher: Tug McGraw
Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Tug McGraw, Ken Boswell
Key play: Jones’ single and double, Boswell’s sacrifice fly and single

The Mets faced the Astros on a Friday night in Houston. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets came away with a 4-3 win in 12 innings.

Bud Harrelson drew a walk against Astros’ starter Tom Griffin with one out in the top of the first. Harrelson stole second base and Dave Marshall went down on strikes. Cleon Jones singled to score Harrelson for a 1-0 Mets lead. On a throw to the plate, Jones advanced to second base. Griffin retired Ed Kranepool on a ground ball to first baseman Denis Menke for the third out. Mets’ starter Jim McAndrew then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

The Mets failed to score after loading the bases in the top of the second. McAndrew hurled a perfect bottom of the inning and Marshall tripled to open the top of the third. Jones hit a double to drive home Marshall and advanced to third base on Kranepool’s ground out to Menke. Ken Boswell followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Jones and extend the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Bob Aspromonte singled and Griffin threw a called third strike past Jerry Grote to close out the inning. McAndrew then struck out the side in order in the bottom half.

Houston reliever Ken Forsch fanned McAndrew to begin the top of the fourth. Tommie Agee hit a double and moved to third base on Harrelson’s ground out to Menke. With Marshall at bat, Agee was caught stealing home on Forsch’s throw to catcher Johnny Edwards to end the inning. Joe Morgan got a leadoff single in the bottom half. Morgan advanced to second on Jim Wynn’s ground out to McAndrew and came around to score on a single by Bob Watson. Menke was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Agee. McAndrew then threw a called third strike past Doug Rader to finish off the inning.

McAndrew and Forsch each pitched scoreless ball from the fifth inning to the seventh. Forsch set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth and Roger Metzger reached on McAndrew’s error with one out in the bottom half. Morgan followed with a two-run homer to tie the game at 3-3. Wynn doubled and Mets’ reliever Ron Taylor issued an intentional walk to Watson. Taylor got Menke to pop out to shortstop Harrelson and retired Rader on a grounder back to the mound to end the inning. Houston’s Fred Gladding and Denny Lemaster combined for a scoreless top of the ninth. For the Mets, reliever Tug McGraw hurled a perfect bottom half to send the game onward.

McGraw and Astros’ reliever George Culver each pitched scoreless ball in the 10th and 11th innings. Harrelson singled to begin the top of the 12th. McGraw’s sacrifice bunt advanced Harrelson to second base and Jones flied out to left fielder Watson. Kranepool was walked intentionally and Boswell hit a single to drive home Harrelson, putting the Mets ahead by a run. On the play, Culver made an error that allowed Kranepool to move to third and Boswell to second. Culver then retired Aspromonte on a fly ball to center fielder Wynn to close out the inning.

Pinch-hitter Jesus Alou popped out to Harrelson to open the bottom of the 12th. Metzger singled and Morgan drew a walk. Wynn was retired on a pop-up to Harrelson. McGraw then got Watson to pop out to second baseman Boswell and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory in extra innings.