April 7, 1974: Late Eruption Downs Phils

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Date: April 7, 1974
Mets starter: Jon Matlack
Mets: 9
Phillies: 2
Winning pitcher: Jon Matlack
Key player(s): Jon Matlack, Dave Schneck, Jerry Grote
Key play: Schneck’s RBI single, Grote’s single and homer

The Mets faced the Phillies on a Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series to open the season. The Mets scored nine runs in the eighth and ninth innings for a 9-2 win over the Phils.

Jon Matlack and the Phillies’ Jim Lonborg each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Lonborg shut down the Mets again in the top of the third and Dave Cash singled with two outs in the bottom half. Cash stole second base and came around to score on a double by Larry Bowa for a 1-0 Philadelphia lead. Matlack then got Mike Anderson to fly out to center fielder Dave Schneck and end the inning.

Schneck and Jerry Grote got back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the fourth. Bud Harrelson followed with a force play ground ball to shortstop Bowa. With Matlack at bat, Schneck tried to score on a pitch that got away. Catcher Bob Boone recovered and tagged Schneck for the final out of the inning. Matlack hurled a perfect bottom half and singled to begin the top of the fifth. On his own hit, Jon went to second base via an error by Bowa. Lonborg set down the next three Mets batters to finish off the inning. Matlack then yielded only a single to Mike Schmidt in the bottom half.

John Milner hit a one-out double in the top of the sixth. Schneck grounded out to first baseman Willie Montanez and a pop-up by Grote was caught by second baseman Cash for the inning’s third out. Matlack set down the Phils on three straight outfield fly balls in the bottom half and Lonborg gave up just a single to Wayne Garrett in the top of the seventh. Montanez singled with one out in the bottom of the inning. With Boone at the plate, Montanez was caught stealing on catcher Grote’s throw to shortstop Harrelson. Boone followed with a single to center field. Matlack then got Schmidt to pop out to Harrelson and end the inning.

Rusty Staub drew a walk to lead off the top of the eighth. Cleon Jones singled and Milner followed with a force play ground ball to Montanez. Schneck hit a single to bring home Staub with the tying run. Grote singled to drive home Milner and put the Mets ahead. On the hit, center fielder Bill Robinson made an error that allowed Schneck to score and Grote to advance to third base. Harrelson singled to plate Grote and increase the New York lead to 4-1. Bud stole second and Matlack popped out to third baseman Schmidt on a bunt attempt. Lonborg retired Garrett on a ground ball to Cash to close out the inning. Matlack and Mets’ reliever Tug McGraw then teamed up for a scoreless bottom half.

Felix Millan singled against Philadelphia reliever Eddie Watt to open the top of the ninth. Millan stole second base and Staub flied out to left fielder Greg Luzinski. Jones got an infield single on which Millan stayed at second. Milner singled off the Phillies’ Mike Wallace to drive home Millan with Jones moving to on third via an error by Robinson. Cleon came home on pinch-hitter Don Hahn’s single against Phils’ reliever Ron Diorio. Grote followed with a three-run homer to extend the Mets’ lead to 9-1. Harrelson drew a walk and McGraw hit a force play ground ball back to the mound. Diorio then retired Garrett on a foul pop-up to Schmidt that closed out the inning.

Robinson hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth. On his own hit, Robinson was out at second base via a throw by right fielder Staub to Harrelson. Montanez flied out to Staub and a double by Boone ensued. Schmidt singled to drive home Boone with the Phillies’ second run. Pinch-hitter Tony Taylor hit a single to send Schmidt to third. McGraw then got Cash to line out to third baseman Garrett and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory with late offensive outburst.