April 9, 1981: Opening Day Shutout in Chicago

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Date: April 9, 1981
Mets starter: Pat Zachry
Mets: 2
Cubs: 0
Winning pitcher: Pat Zachry
Key player(s): Lee Mazzilli, Rusty Staub
Key play: Mazzilli’s & Staub’s home runs, Hausman’s pickoff of Reitz

The new baseball season began on a sunny afternoon at Wrigley Field. Pat Zachry got the Opening Day assignment against the Cubs’ Rick Reuschel. Zachry and the bullpen shut down the Chicago lineup as the Mets came away with a 2-0 win.

After three scoreless innings, Lee Mazzilli led off against Reuschel in the fourth. Lee connected for a home run to put the Mets on top, 1-0. Dave Kingman struck out and Rusty Staub hit New York’s second home run of the inning for a two-run lead.

The Cubs had a scoring chance in the bottom of the sixth. Following a double play, Zachry walked Ken Reitz and gave up a single to Scot Thompson. Mets’ manager Joe Torre brought in Tom Hausman to relieve Zachry. With Chicago’s Tim Blackwell at the plate, Hausman threw to shortstop Frank Taveras for a pick off on Reitz at second base to end the inning.

To start the seventh, Neil Allen came in to pitch. Allen retired the first seven Cubs’ batters he faced before Reitz hit a double in the ninth. Neil then got Thompson on a fly ball to center field and struck out Blackwell to nail down the victory for the Mets.