April 9, 1969: Mets Hand Expos First Loss

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Date: April 9, 1969
Mets starter: Jim McAndrew
Mets: 9
Expos: 5
Winning pitcher: Tug McGraw
Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Ken Boswell, Jerry Grote, Rod Gaspar
Key play: Kranepool’s two-run single, Boswell’s homer, Grote’s single and double, Gaspar’s steal of home

The Mets faced the Expos on a Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second of three games in a season-opening series. The Mets gave the new Montreal franchise its first defeat with a 9-5 victory.

Mets’ starter Jim McAndrew pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom half, Rod Gaspar drew a walk and Ken Boswell was hit by a pitch. Cleon Jones singled to drive home Gaspar and a walk to Ed Charles loaded the bases. Ed Kranepool hit a single that plated Boswell and Cleon Jones. Jerry Grote singled to score Charles for a 4-0 Mets lead. Expos’ starter Bill Stoneman was replaced on the mound by reliever Steve Shea, who recorded a strikeout of Bud Harrelson. Shea then retired McAndrew on a fly ball to right fielder Rusty Staub to finish off the inning.

Bob Bailey singled against McAndrew to open the top of the second. Ensuing walks to John Bateman and Coco Laboy loaded the bases. Don Hahn hit a single that scored Bailey and Bateman. Pinch-hitter Ty Cline drew a walk to load the bases once again. Mets’ reliever Tug McGraw walked Maury Wills to force home Laboy and cut the Mets’ lead to 4-3. Gary Sutherland hit a ground ball on which McGraw threw to catcher Grote for an out at home on Hahn. Grote threw to first baseman Kranepool to complete a double play. Staub fouled out to Kranepool to end the inning. Montreal’s Mike Wegener then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

McGraw set down the Expos in order in the top of the third. Charles hit a triple to lead off the bottom of the inning. Kranepool grounded out to second baseman Sutherland and a double by Grote brought home Charles. Harrelson singled and McGraw followed with a grounder on which shortstop Wills threw to catcher Bateman for an out at home on Grote. Wegener then got Tommie Agee to foul out to Staub and end the inning.

McGraw gave up just a single to Laboy in the top of the fourth. With one out in the bottom half, Boswell hit a home run to extend the Mets’ lead to 6-3. Cleon Jones flied out to Staub and a walk to Charles ensued. Kranepool hit a force play grounder to Sutherland that closed out the inning and McGraw hurled a perfect top of the fifth. Wegener then struck out the side in order in the bottom half.

McGraw held the Expos to a double by Bailey in the top of the sixth. Gaspar got a one-out bunt single in the bottom of the inning. Rod advanced to third base on Boswell’s single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cleon Jones. Wegener got Charles to hit an inning-ending force play grounder to Sutherland. McGraw then pitched a scoreless top of the seventh.

Kranepool singled against Montreal reliever Jerry Robertson to open the bottom of the seventh inning. Grote flied out to Staub and a walk to Harrelson followed. McGraw popped out to Robertson and a single by Agee drove home Kranepool for an 8-3 Mets lead. On Agee’s hit, Harrelson was out via a throw by third baseman Laboy to Wills to end the inning.

Mack Jones singled against McGraw to begin the top of the eighth. Bailey went down on strikes and Bateman hit a single on which Mack Jones went to third base. Laboy doubled to score Mack Jones and Mets’ reliever Nolan Ryan struck out pinch-hitters Manny Mota and Floyd Wicker to finish off the inning. Gaspar drew a walk against the Expos’ Dan McGinn to open the bottom half. Rod moved to second on Boswell’s sacrifice bunt and stole third. Cleon Jones reached on an error by Laboy. With Charles at bat, Gaspar stole home to increase the Mets’ lead to 9-4. Cleon Jones was caught in a rundown by Bateman’s pickoff throw and tagged out by Sutherland. McGinn then fanned Charles to close out the inning.

Wills drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth. Sutherland hit a ground ball to Boswell for a double play and Staub homered for the fifth Montreal run. Mack Jones drew a walk and Bailey singled to left field. Ryan then retired Bateman on a fly ball to center fielder Agee to end the game. The Mets had their first win of the season. For the Expos, the loss was the first in team history.

Notes

  • The save for Ryan was the first of three in his 27-season major league career.