April 5, 1979: Mets Win Opener

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Date: April 5, 1979
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 10
Cubs: 6
Winning pitcher: Craig Swan
Key player(s): Richie Hebner, Kelvin Chapman, Steve Henderson
Key play: Chapman's single, Hebner's two-run double

The Mets faced the Cubs on Opening Day at Wrigley Field. In his first game as a Met, Richie Hebner led an offensive attack with nine total bases and four runs batted in. The Mets defeated Chicago, 10-6.

Each team scored a run in the first inning. For the Mets, Kelvin Chapman and Hebner singled off Cubs' starter Rick Reuschel and John Stearns followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Chapman from third base. In the bottom half, Dave Kingman singled off Mets' starter Craig Swan to score Ivan deJesus. The Cubs took a 2-1 lead on Kingman's run-scoring double in the third, but Hebner's home run in the top of the fourth tied the game for New York.

In the fifth, Swan got a two-out single off Reuschel. Lee Mazzilli drew a walk and Chapman hit a single to score Swan. Hebner then doubled to bring home Mazzilli and Chapman for a 5-2 Mets lead.

For Chicago, Kingman homered off Swan in the sixth. In the top of the seventh, Mazzilli led off with a single, stole second base and went to third on Reuschel's wild pitch. Lee scored on Hebner's one-out double off Cubs' reliever Willie Hernandez. Later in the inning, Steve Henderson and Elliott Maddox got singles off Donnie Moore to drive in three more Met runs. Henderson then scored when Doug Flynn reached on an error to increase the Mets' lead to 10-3.

Dwight Bernard relieved Swan to begin the bottom of the ninth inning. With two out, the Cubs scored three times against Bernard on an RBI single by Scot Thompson and a two-run double by Ted Sizemore. Jesse Orosco, making his major league debut, then retired Bill Buckner on a fly ball to right fielder Maddox to end the game. The Mets began the season with a victory.

Notes

  • This was the Mets' 9th win in their 10 Opening Day games of the 1970s.