August 15, 1977: Mets Hold Off Cards Rally

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Date: August 15, 1977
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 7
Cardinals: 4
Winning pitcher: Craig Swan
Key player(s): Craig Swan, John Milner, Steve Henderson, Bob Apodaca
Key play: Henderson’s single, Milner’s two doubles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Monday night in St. Louis. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets withstood a late Redbird rally effort and came away with a 7-4 win.

Lenny Randle drew a walk against Cards’ starter John Denny in the top of the first inning. Bud Harrelson’s sacrifice bunt moved Randle to second base and Bruce Boisclair walked. Steve Henderson hit a single to drive home Randle and send Boisclair to third. John Milner followed with a double that scored Boisclair and Henderson for a three-run Mets lead. With Ron Hodges at bat, Milner advanced to third on a wild pitch. Hodges hit a ground ball on which Milner got caught in a rundown and was tagged out by catcher Ted Simmons. Lee Mazzilli drew a walk and Denny got Doug Flynn on an inning-ending force play grounder to shortstop Don Kessinger. Mets’ starter Craig Swan then yielded only a double to Keith Hernandez in the bottom half.

After scoreless second and third innings, Denny set down the side in order in the top of the fourth. The Cardinals failed to score after loading the bases in the bottom of the inning and Randle drew a one-out walk against Denny in the top of the fifth. Harrelson singled and Boisclair walked to load the bases. Henderson hit a force play ground ball to Denny to bring home Randle. Milner connected for a double to score Harrelson and Henderson for a 6-0 New York lead. Against St. Louis reliever Buddy Schultz, Hodges drew a walk and Mazzilli got an infield single that loaded the bases once again. Flynn singled to plate Milner with the Mets’ seventh run of the game. Schultz struck out Swan to finish off the inning. Craig then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Swan and Redbirds’ reliever Rawly Eastwick each hurled scoreless sixth and seventh innings. Despite singles by Randle and Boisclair, the Cards’ Clay Carroll shut down the Mets in the top of the eighth. Tony Scott drew a walk against Swan with one out in the bottom half. Hernandez walked and Dave Rader hit a single to drive home Scott. Jerry Mumphrey grounded out to first baseman Milner to move the runners to second and third base. Ken Reitz was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Kessinger singled to score Hernandez. Pinch-hitter Roger Freed hit a single against Mets’ reliever Bob Apodaca, bringing home Rader and Reitz with the Cardinals’ third and fourth runs. Apodaca then retired Mike Phillips on a fly ball to left fielder Henderson to close out the inning.

St. Louis reliever Al Hrabosky retired the side 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth. Rick Bosetti singled to open the bottom half. Scott and Hernandez both went down on strikes and Rader hit a single. Apodaca then fanned Mumphrey for the game’s final out. The Mets had held on for a victory.