August 23, 1977: Randle Singles in 9th
|Date: August 23, 1977|
|Mets starter: Nino Espinosa|
|Winning pitcher: Skip Lockwood|
|Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Leo Foster, Lenny Randle|
|Key play: Kranepool's double in 8th, Randle's single in 9th|
The Mets and Astros faced each other on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The game was a pitchers duel between Nino Espinosa and Houston's Floyd Bannister. Neither pitcher was around to get a decision as the Mets emerged with a 2-1 victory in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Espinosa and Bannister each began the game with six scoreless innings apiece. Nino limited the Astros to four hits and ended a string of ten straight batters retired by striking out the side in the top of the fourth. After pitching a scoreless first two innings despite five hits, Bannister allowed only a bunt single to Espinosa between the third and sixth. In the top of the seventh, Mets' right fielder Mike Vail threw out Art Howe at the plate on Ed Herrmann's single and the Astros failed to score in the inning. Houston reliever Tom Dixon then pitched a scoreless bottom half.
In the top of the eighth, Terry Puhl hit a one-out double and moved to third base on Enos Cabell's ground out. Jose Cruz singled to score Puhl and give the Astros a 1-0 lead. Cruz stole second base and Espinosa walked Bob Watson. Mets' reliever Skip Lockwood then retired Howe on a fly ball to Vail that ended the inning.
Steve Henderson singled to begin the bottom half of the eighth. Dixon's balk moved Henderson to second base and Vail flied out to right fielder Cruz. John Stearns hit a fly ball to center fielder Puhl on which Henderson advanced to third. Steve scored the tying run on Ed Kranepool's pinch-hit double. Dixon retired Lee Mazzilli for the third out and Lockwood pitched a perfect top of the ninth.
Leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, Leo Foster singled off Houston reliever Joe Sambito. Foster moved to second on Lockwood's sacrifice bunt and went to third on Sambito's wild pitch. Lenny Randle followed with a single that brought home Foster and ended the game. The Mets had an exciting win.