April 6, 1973: Jones Hits 2 Homers in Opener
|Date: April 6, 1973|
|Mets starter: Tom Seaver|
|Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver|
|Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Tom Seaver|
|Key play: Jones' two homers, Staub's catch|
The Mets opened the season with a Friday afternoon game against the Phillies. The crowd at Shea Stadium watched a combined five-hit shutout between Tom Seaver and Tug McGraw. The Mets came out with a 3-0 win on Cleon Jones' two home runs.
Seaver and Phillies' starter Steve Carlton each began the game with three scoreless innings. Willie Montanez singled for Philadelphia's first hit off Seaver in the fourth, but was then caught stealing by catcher Duffy Dyer. In the bottom half, Felix Millan led off with a single and Jones homered with two out to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
Larry Bowa got a one-out single and Del Unser lined out to center fielder Willie Mays in the sixth. Montanez came up and hit a line drive off Seaver deep to right field. Rusty Staub made the catch crashing into the wall for the final out of the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Jones hit his second homer off Carlton for the Mets' third run.
In the top of the eighth, the Phillies had two runners on base on Bill Robinson's double and a walk to Unser. Tug McGraw came in to relieve Seaver with two out and got pinch-hitter Deron Johnson to foul out to third baseman Jim Fregosi. The Mets were then retired in order in the bottom half of the inning by reliever Bill Wilson.
McGraw set down the Phils 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to finish the game. The Mets had their fourth Opening Day victory in as many years on solid pitching and Jones' slugging. It was also the third consecutive year that Seaver was the winning pitcher in the season opener and the second straight opener in which Seaver and McGraw had teamed up for a shutout.