April 6, 1974: Mets Defeated on Schmidt's Homer

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Date: April 6, 1974
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 4
Phillies: 5
Winning pitcher: Mac Scarce
Key player(s): Bud Harrelson, Del Unser, Mike Schmidt
Key play: Schmidt’s home run

The Mets and Phillies opened the season on a Saturday afternoon. The teams played in front of 40,222 patrons at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. On a home run by Mike Schmidt in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Phils handed the Mets a 5-4 defeat.

Wayne Garrett singled off Phillies’ starter Steve Carlton to begin the top of the first inning. Garrett advanced to third base on Felix Millan’s ensuing single. Rusty Staub followed with a double play grounder on which Garrett came home for the first run of the game. Carlton then retired Cleon Jones on a pop-up to third baseman Schmidt to end the inning.

In the bottom of the first, Larry Bowa got a one-out single off Mets’ starter Tom Seaver. Bowa stole second base and scored on a single by Del Unser. Seaver followed up with strikeouts of Greg Luzinski and Willie Montanez to close out the inning. Carlton and Seaver then pitched a scoreless second.

In the top of the third, Bud Harrelson led off with a single to right field. Seaver laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Harrelson to second. Garrett flied out to right fielder Mike Anderson and a single by Millan brought home Harrelson for a 2-1 Mets lead. Carlton then finished the inning with no further scoring and Seaver pitched a perfect bottom half.

Back-to-back doubles by Don Hahn and Harrelson produced the Mets’ third run in the top of the fourth. Seaver fanned Luzinski and Anderson in setting down the Phillies in order in the bottom of the inning. Carlton shut down the Mets in the top of the fifth and Seaver retired three straight Philadelphia hitters after a double by Bob Boone in the bottom half. The Mets then failed to score despite singles by Hahn and Harrelson off Phils’ reliever Mike Wallace in the top of the sixth inning.

Bowa singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Unser followed with a single and went to second on an error by left fielder Jones. On the play, Bowa scored the Phillies’ second run. Luzinski hit an ensuing double that plated Unser to tie the game. Montanez’s sacrifice bunt put Luzinski on third base with one out. Seaver then struck out Anderson and retired Boone on a pop-up to second baseman Millan to end the inning.

Millan walked and Staub reached first on a fielder’s choice to start the top of the seventh. Felix moved to third base on Jones’ force play grounder. With Mac Scarce on in relief for Philadelphia, John Milner reached base on catcher Boone’s error. Millan scored on the play to put the Mets ahead, 4-3. Grote followed by hitting into a double play. Seaver then shut down the Phils in the bottom of the inning.

The Mets were retired in order by Scarce in the top of the eighth. In the bottom half, reliever Tug McGraw set down all three Phillies batters. The Mets put two runners on base with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Scarce then got a called third strike on Milner for the final out.

Tony Taylor singled off McGraw to begin the bottom of the ninth. Boone’s sacrifice bunt advanced pinch-runner Billy Grabarkewitz to second base. Schmidt came to bat and hammered a two-run homer to end the game. The Mets had a tough loss to start the season.

Notes

  • This was the Mets’ only loss of a season-opening game during the 1970s.