August 15, 1978: Two Runs in 8th Beat Padres

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Date: August 15, 1978
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 3
Padres: 1
Winning pitcher: Craig Swan
Key player(s): Craig Swan, Steve Henderson, Lee Mazzilli
Key play: Henderson’s double, Mazzilli’s single

The Mets faced the Padres on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets scored twice in the eighth inning for a 3-1 win over San Diego.

Craig Swan and the Padres’ Randy Jones each started the game with four scoreless innings pitched. Swan retired the side in order in the top of the fifth and Joel Youngblood singled to lead off the bottom half. Doug Flynn hit a single and Swan’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third base. Elliott Maddox followed with a ground ball on which shortstop Ozzie Smith threw to third baseman Bill Almon for an out on Flynn. Youngblood came home on the play for a 1-0 Mets lead. Bobby Valentine reached on an error by second baseman Fernando Gonzalez. Jones then retired Steve Henderson on a line drive to first baseman Broderick Perkins to end the inning.

Gene Richards singled to begin the top of the sixth. Richards stole second base and advanced to third on catcher John Stearns’ throwing error. Smith popped out to shortstop Flynn and a sacrifice fly by Perkins brought home Richards with the tying run. Dave Winfield reached on third baseman Maddox’s error and stole second. Swan retired Oscar Gamble on an inning-ending ground ball to second baseman Valentine. Jones then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Swan yielded only a single to Almon in the top of the seventh. Jones set down the side on three straight infield grounders in the bottom of the inning and Swan retired all three batters in the top of the eighth. Maddox drew a walk to open the bottom half. Elliott moved to second base on Valentine’s sacrifice bunt and came around to score on a double by Henderson. Willie Montanez popped out to Smith and an intentional walk to Stearns followed. Lee Mazzilli hit a single to drive home Henderson with the Mets’ third run of the game. Jones then got Youngblood on a fly ball to center fielder Winfield to close out the inning.

Winfield singled against Swan to begin the top of the ninth. Gamble hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Tim Foli and a walk to pinch-hitter Jerry Turner ensued. Mets’ reliever Skip Lockwood got Rick Sweet to fly out to right fielder Maddox (who had shifted from third.) Lockwood then retired pinch-hitter Don Reynolds on a fly ball to Maddox for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory to start the series.