August 17, 1967: Harrelson Homers in Comeback Win

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Date: August 17, 1967
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 6
Pirates: 5
Winning pitcher: Don Cardwell
Key player(s): Bud Harrelson, Bob Johnson, Don Cardwell
Key play: Johnson’s triple, Harrelson’s inside-the-park homer

The Mets and Pirates faced each other in a doubleheader on a Thursday evening. The teams combined for twenty-six hits in the opener of the twinbill at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. Bud Harrelson hit his first career home run as the Mets came from behind for a 6-5 win over the Bucs.

Harrelson drew a walk to open the top of the first inning. Consecutive singles by Cleon Jones and Bob Johnson loaded the bases with none out. Tommy Davis followed with a fly out to right fielder Al Luplow. After the catch, Harrelson was out at home on Luplow’s throw to catcher Jerry May to complete a double play. Pirates’ starter Steve Blass then retired Ed Kranepool on an inning-ending ground ball to second baseman Bill Mazeroski.

Maury Wills and Matty Alou got back-to-back singles against the Mets’ Tom Seaver to begin the bottom half. Luplow went down on strikes and Willie Stargell tripled to drive home Wills and Alou. A sacrifice fly by Mazeroski scored Stargell for a 3-0 Pittsburgh lead. Manny Mota followed with a double to right field. Trying to advance on his own hit, Mota was out on a relay throw by second baseman Johnson to third baseman Ed Charles to end the inning.

Blass held the Mets to a single by Charles in a scoreless top of the second. With two outs in the bottom half, Blass drew a walk and moved to third base on Wills’ single to center field. Alou singled to plate Blass with the Bucs’ fourth run of the game. Seaver then got Luplow on a grounder to Johnson to close out the inning.

A single by Harrelson began the top of the third. Jones singled to send Harrelson to third base. Johnson followed with a triple to score Harrelson and Jones, cutting the Pittsburgh lead to 4-2. Davis was struck out and Kranepool grounded out to first baseman Stargell to drive home Johnson with the Mets’ third run. Blass retired Charles on a ground ball to third baseman Wills for the inning’s final out. Mets’ reliever Don Cardwell then yielded only a single to Mota in shutting down the Pirates in the bottom half.

Tommie Reynolds led off the top of the fourth inning with a single to center field. Blass set down the next two batters and issued a walk to Harrelson. Bucs’ reliever Juan Pizarro got Jones on a force play grounder to shortstop Jose Pagan for the third out of the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Pizarro hit a double to left field. Wills lined out to shortstop Harrelson. Bud then threw to Johnson to double up Pizarro and end the inning.

Johnson drew a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth. Davis singled and a sacrifice bunt by Kranepool advanced the runners to second and third base. Charles was walked intentionally to load the bases. An ensuing single by Reynolds brought home Johnson with the tying run. Trying to score on the play, Davis was out at home via a throw by center fielder Alou to May. Jerry Grote was given an intentional walk to load the bases once again. Pizarro got Cardwell on a ground ball to Pagan for an inning-ending force play. Don then set down the Pirates in order in the bottom half.

Despite singles by Johnson and Davis, the Mets failed to score against Pizarro in the top of the sixth inning. Cardwell pitched a perfect bottom half and Reynolds singled with two outs in the top of the seventh. Pizarro got Grote to hit a force play ground ball to Pagan that ended the inning and singled with one out in the bottom half. Wills took a called third strike for the second out. Cardwell then retired Alou on a fly ball to Davis to finish off the inning.

Cardwell flied out to left fielder Mota to begin the top of the eighth. Harrelson followed with a drive to right field that got past Luplow. Bud circled the bases for an inside-the-park homer that put the Mets ahead by a run. Jones hit a single and moved to third base on Johnson’s single against Pittsburgh reliever Elroy Face. Davis hit a force play grounder to Mazeroski that drove home Jones for a 6-4 Mets lead. Kranepool followed with a single to right field. On the hit, pinch-runner Larry Stahl was out at third base via Luplow’s throw to Wills to end the inning.

Luplow grounded out to Harrelson to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Stargell homered for the Pirates’ fifth run. Cardwell retired Mazeroski on a ground ball to Harrelson and got Mota to fly out to right fielder Stahl and end the inning. Face then set down all three Mets batters in the top of the ninth.

Pagan flied out to left fielder Reynolds to begin the bottom of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Manny Jimenez was retired on a fly ball to Stahl for the inning’s second out. Cardwell then threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Donn Clendenon to end the game. The Mets had a comeback victory to start the doubleheader.