August 18, 1966: Mets Win Second Straight Over Pirates

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Date: August 18, 1966
Mets starter: Rob Gardner
Mets: 9
Pirates: 5
Winning pitcher: Rob Gardner
Key player(s): Ron Swoboda, Ron Hunt, Ed Bressoud, Ralph Terry
Key play: Hunt’s triple, Bressoud’s relay throw, Terry’s three scoreless innings

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Thursday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams completed a three-game series in front of 26,829 fans on hand. The Mets came away with a 9-5 victory for their second straight win over Pittsburgh.

Mets’ starter Rob Gardner pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Ron Hunt reached on an error by third baseman Jose Pagan to lead off the bottom half. Ed Bressoud grounded out to Pagan to advance Hunt to second base. A single by Cleon Jones scored Hunt for a 1-0 Mets lead. Ken Boyer was retired on a grounder to Pagan. Jim Hickman and Ron Swoboda hit back-to-back doubles to drive in two more Mets runs. Jerry Grote was given an intentional walk. Pirates’ starter Woodie Fryman then struck out Ed Kranepool to end the inning.

Following a scoreless second inning, Jerry May hit a home run to begin the top of the third. Fryman drew a walk and went to third base on Gene Alley’s ensuing double to center field. Manny Mota hit a fly ball to right fielder Hickman on which Fryman was out at home to complete a double play. Gardner walked Roberto Clemente and threw a called third strike past Donn Clendenon for the third out. Fryman then shut down the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the fourth, Bill Mazeroski homered with one out to cut the Mets’ lead to 3-2. Gardner retired the next two Pittsburgh batters and Swoboda drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half. With two outs, Grote reached on Pagan’s error that sent Swoboda to second base. Hunt followed with a triple to drive home Swoboda and Grote. Fryman was then replaced on the mound by Bucs’ reliever Don Cardwell.

Bressound reached base on an error by Pagan that plated Hunt to stretch the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Jones got to first on Pagan’s third error of the inning (and fourth of the game) to move Bressoud to second. With Boyer at bat, Cardwell caught Jones on a pickoff attempt. Cleon was out on first baseman Clendenon’s throw to second baseman Mazeroski to end the inning.

Gardner pitched a scoreless top of the fifth. Pittsburgh’s Al McBean held the Mets without a run in the bottom half. In the top of the sixth inning, Clendenon hit a leadoff home run and Pagan popped out to shortstop Bressoud. Mazeroski hit his second homer of the game and Bailey singled to center field. Gardner was relieved by Jack Hamilton, who struck out pinch-hitter Jerry Lynch. Pinch-hitter Jesse Gonder walked and Alley doubled to bring home Bailey. Trying to score the tying run on the hit, Gonder was out at home on a relay from center fielder Jones to Bressoud to Grote. Pirates’ reliever Pete Mikkelsen then shut down the Mets in the bottom of the inning.

Mets’ reliever Ralph Terry held the Bucs scoreless in the top of the seventh. Mikkelsen retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half. Terry struck out all three Pittsburgh batters in the top of the eighth and Swoboda walked to open the bottom of the inning. Grote’s sacrifice bunt moved Ron to second and Kranepool followed with a run-scoring single. Mikkelsen walked Al Luplow and Pittsburgh reliever Billy O’Dell got Hunt on a fly ball to center fielder Mota. Bressoud hit a double to score Kranepool and Luplow for the Mets’ eighth and ninth runs. O’Dell then struck out Terry to end the inning.

To start the top of the ninth, Terry retired pinch-hitter Matty Alou on a ground ball to second baseman Hunt. Gonder singled to right field and Alley drew a walk. Mota was retired on a fly ball to Hickman. Terry then got Clemente to line out to Hickman and finish off the game. The Mets had their second straight win over the Pirates, dropping the Pittsburgh team into a first-place tie with the Giants in the National League standings.