August 24, 1978: Stearns and Youngblood Double-Up Padres

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Date: August 24, 1978
Mets starter: Mike Bruhert
Mets: 6
Padres: 3
Winning pitcher: Mike Bruhert
Key player(s): Steve Henderson, John Stearns, Joel Youngblood
Key play: Henderson’s single, Stearns’ and Youngblood’s doubles

The Mets faced the Padres on a Thursday night in San Diego. The teams played the opener of a four-game series. John Stearns and Joel Youngblood hit run-scoring doubles to lead the Mets to a 6-3 win.

Elliott Maddox singled against Padres’ starter Bob Owchinko to lead off the top of the first inning. Maddox advanced to second base on Tim Foli’s sacrifice bunt and came around to score on a single by Steve Henderson. On his own hit, Henderson was out at second via a relay throw by first baseman Gene Tenace to shortstop Ozzie Smith. Owchinko retired Willie Montanez on a fly ball to left fielder Jerry Turner for the third out. Mets’ starter Mike Bruhert then retired the side on three consecutive infield ground balls in the bottom half.

After a scoreless second, Foli got a one-out single in the top of the third. Henderson reached on a fielder’s choice grounder and Montanez singled to load the bases. Stearns doubled to drive home Foli and Henderson with Montanez moving to third. Youngblood followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Montanez for a 4-0 Mets lead. Owchinko got Bobby Valentine to hit a pop-up to second baseman Fernando Gonzalez for the inning’s final out. Bruhert then retired the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Owchinko surrendered only a walk to Maddox in the top of the fourth. Bruhert hurled a perfect bottom of the inning and Montanez hit a double against Owchinko with one out in the top of the fifth. Stearns was given an intentional walk and Youngblood doubled to bring home Montanez. Against San Diego reliever John D’Acquisto, Valentine hit a sacrifice fly that scored Stearns and increased the Mets’ lead to 6-0. D’Acquisto retired Doug Flynn on a pop-up to Smith for the third out of the inning and Tenace homered for the Padres’ first run with two outs in the bottom half. Gonzalez hit a single and Bruhert got Rick Sweet on a fly ball to right fielder Youngblood to end the inning.

Bruhert and D’Acquisto each pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings. D’Acquisto set down the side in order in the top of the eighth and Gene Richards drew a walk against Bruhert to lead off the bottom half. Smith was called out on strikes and Derrel Thomas hit a single. Turner singled against Mets’ reliever Kevin Kobel to load the bases and Dave Winfield hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Foli that drove home Richards. On the play, second baseman Flynn made an error that allowed Thomas to score the Padres’ third run of the game. Kobel then retired Oscar Gamble on a fly ball to Youngblood to finish off the inning.

San Diego reliever Bob Shirley pitched a perfect top of the ninth. Tenace flied out to center fielder Maddox to open the bottom half. Gonzalez was retired on a line drive to Youngblood. Kobel then got pinch-hitter Don Reynolds to fly out to Maddox and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a solid victory to start the series.