April 30, 1974: Milner's Double Negates Dodger Rally

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Date: April 30, 1974
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 8
Dodgers: 7
Winning pitcher: Bob Miller
Key player(s): John Milner, Cleon Jones, Jerry Grote
Key play: Milner’s double

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The teams played the second of three games in a series. Following a Los Angeles comeback from a six-run deficit, John Milner hit a two-run double in the ninth inning and the Mets came away with an 8-7 win.

Bud Harrelson and Felix Millan got back-to-back singles against Dodgers’ starter Tommy John to begin the top of the first. Rusty Staub hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Dave Lopes and moved to third base on Cleon Jones’ double that scored Harrelson. Milner followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Staub and send Jones to third. Jerry Grote reached on an error by first baseman Steve Garvey that allowed Jones to score the Mets’ third run. John retired Wayne Garrett on a grounder to Garvey for the third out. Mets’ starter Jerry Koosman then gave up only a single to Lopes in the bottom of the inning.

After a scoreless second, Millan singled to lead off in the top of the third. Staub was hit by a pitch and John threw a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third base. Jones walked to load the bases and Milner hit a ground ball on which third baseman Ron Cey threw to catcher Joe Ferguson for an out at home on Millan. Grote grounded out to Lopes to drive home Staub for a 4-0 Mets lead. Garrett drew a walk that reloaded the bases and Don Hahn popped out to Lopes to end the inning. Koosman then shut down the Dodgers in the bottom half.

John set down the side in order in the top of the fourth. Koosman hurled a perfect bottom of the inning and Staub doubled to open the top of the fifth. On his own hit, Rusty went to third base via an error by right fielder Willie Crawford. Jones hit a single to plate Staub with the Mets’ fifth run and John was replaced on the mound by Los Angeles reliever Charlie Hough. Milner greeted Hough with a single to send Jones to third. Grote singled to score Cleon and extend the New York lead to 6-0. Hough retired the next three batters to finish off the inning. Koosman then yielded just a single to Bill Russell in the bottom half.

Hough pitched a scoreless top of the sixth. Lopes drew a walk to begin the bottom of the inning. Tom Paciorek tripled to drive home Lopes and a strikeout of Jim Wynn ensued. Cey followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Paciorek and cut the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Garvey popped out to second baseman Millan to end the inning and Hough retired the side in order in the top of the seventh. With two outs in the bottom half, Russell homered for the Dodgers’ third run of the game. Koosman then threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Ken McMullen to close out the inning.

Dodgers’ reliever Jim Brewer pitched a perfect top of the eighth. To begin the bottom half, Lopes walked and stole second base. Koosman retired Paciorek on a fly ball to right fielder Staub and got Wynn to ground out to third baseman Garrett. Cey was hit by a pitch and Garvey slugged a three-run homer to tie the game at 6-6. Crawford doubled and moved to third on Mets’ reliever Bob Miller’s wild pitch. Miller then struck out Ferguson to end the inning.

Millan singled against Brewer to open the top of the ninth. Staub hit a force play grounder to Lopes and a single by Jones ensued. Milner doubled against Los Angeles reliever Mike Marshall to score both pinch-runner Ted Martinez and Jones for an 8-6 Mets lead. Marshall then fanned Grote and retired Garrett on a ground ball back to the mound to close out the inning.

Russell hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Manny Mota was called out on strikes. Lopes reached on first baseman Milner’s error that allowed Russell to come home with the Dodgers’ seventh run. Paciorek lined out to right fielder Dave Schneck and a single by Bill Buckner advanced Lopes to third base. Miller then retired Cey on a fly ball to center fielder Hahn for the game’s final out. The Mets had countered an opposing rally and emerged with a victory.