April 8, 1978: Kranepool's Winning Homer in 9th

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Date: April 8, 1978
Mets starter: Nino Espinosa
Mets: 6
Expos: 5
Winning pitcher: Mardie Cornejo
Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Lee Mazzilli
Key play: Kranepool’s home run in 9th

The Mets and Expos played the second game of the season on a cool Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. After falling behind in the middle innings, the Mets came up with some timely slugging. Home runs by Lee Mazzilli and Ed Kranepool in the eighth and ninth innings gave the Mets a come-from-behind win, 6-5.

After escaping a bases-loaded situation in the third inning, Nino Espinosa got tagged with three Montreal runs in the fourth. Espinosa walked Wayne Garrett to start the inning and Chris Speier singled. Dave Cash hit a two-out triple to bring home Garrett and Speier and then scored on Andre Dawson’s single. Gary Carter reached on a two-base error before Nino struck out Tony Perez to end the inning.

The Mets made the score 3-2 in the fourth and fifth innings. Steve Henderson homered off Montreal’s Rudy May to start the fourth and Tim Foli got a single to score Doug Flynn from second base with two out in the fifth. The Expos got two more runs with RBI singles by Carter and Perez off reliever Butch Metzger in the sixth.

Willie Montanez led off the bottom of the eighth by reaching on a two-base error. May retired the next two Mets’ batters before surrendering a home run to Mazzilli that reduced the Montreal lead to 5-4.

In the ninth, Bruce Boisclair opened with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Stan Bahnsen came in to relieve May and got Foli to fly out to left. Down to the final out, Mets’ manager Joe Torre called on Ed Kranepool to come to bat.

Pinch-hitting for Mardie Cornejo, Kranepool swung and made contact with a pitch from Bahnsen. The ball sailed high and deep to right field, landing over the fence for a game-winning home run. The Mets had snared victory from the mouth of defeat, making Cornejo the winning pitcher in his major league debut.