August 15, 1981: Three-Hitter Stifles Phillies

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Date: August 15, 1981
Mets starter: Terry Leach
Mets: 3
Phillies: 1
Winning pitcher: Pete Falcone
Key player(s): Pete Falcone, Neil Allen, Lee Mazzilli, John Stearns
Key play: Mazzilli’s and Stearns’ doubles

The Mets faced the Phillies on a Saturday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second of three games in a weekend series. Three Mets pitchers teamed up for a three-hitter in a 3-1 win over Philadelphia.

Mets’ starter Terry Leach retired the side in order in the top of the first inning. The Phils’ Nino Espinosa hurled a perfect bottom half and Garry Maddox reached on an error by shortstop Frank Taveras with two outs in the top of the second. Manny Trillo hit a single and Larry Bowa singled to drive home Maddox for a 1-0 Phillies lead. Leach got Espinosa on a force play ground ball to Taveras for the third out of the inning. Espinosa then gave up just a single to Dave Kingman in the bottom half.

After scoreless third and fourth innings, Trillo doubled for the Phils’ third hit to begin the top of the fifth. With Bowa at bat, Trillo was caught stealing on catcher John Stearns’ throw to third baseman Hubie Brooks. Leach retired Bowa on a grounder to second baseman Doug Flynn and struck out Espinosa to end the inning. Leading off the bottom half, Ellis Valentine hit a single to right field. Lee Mazzilli followed with a double that scored Valentine and tied the game at 1-1. Stearns flied out to right fielder Bake McBride and a pop-up by Flynn was caught by second baseman Trillo. Espinosa then fanned pinch-hitter Mike Jorgensen to close out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Pete Falcone set down all three batters in the top of the sixth. Mookie Wilson singled to lead off the bottom half. Taveras followed with a ground ball to Trillo for a double play and Brooks hit a double to right field. Kingman got an infield single to advance Brooks to third base and Valentine grounded back to Espinosa for the inning’s final out. Falcone then retired the Phillies 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh.

Mazzilli singled against Espinosa to open the bottom of the seventh inning. Stearns hit a double to bring home Mazzilli and give the Mets a 2-1 lead. John moved to third base on Flynn’s sacrifice bunt and scored the third New York run on pinch-hitter Rusty Staub’s sacrifice fly. Wilson followed with a single to right field. With Taveras at the plate, Mookie stole second and went to third on catcher Keith Moreland’s throwing error. Taveras drew a walk and Philadelphia reliever Ron Reed struck out Brooks to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Neil Allen surrendered only a walk to Trillo in the top of the eighth. Valentine doubled against the Phils’ Tug McGraw with one out in the bottom half. Mazzilli went down on strikes and Stearns was given an intentional walk. McGraw retired Flynn on a ground ball to Trillo that ended the inning and Gary Matthews flied out to center fielder Wilson to begin the top of the ninth. McBride was retired on a fly ball to left fielder Mazzilli. Allen then got Mike Schmidt to ground out to Brooks and end the game. The Mets had their first home victory of the season’s official second half.