August 27, 1974: Ayala Homers in First At Bat

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Date: August 27, 1974
Mets starter: Tug McGraw
Mets: 4
Astros: 2
Winning pitcher: Tug McGraw
Key player(s): Benny Ayala, Felix Millan
Key play: Ayala's home run, Millan's two-run single

The Mets faced the Astros on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second part of a three-game series. Benny Ayala homered in his first major league at bat to propel the Mets to a 4-2 win over Houston.

Following a scoreless first inning, Mets' starter Tug McGraw shut down the Astros again in the top of the second. Houston's Tom Griffin retired Wayne Garrett on a pop-up to second baseman Larry Milbourne to begin the bottom half. Ayala followed with a career-initiating home run over the left field wall. Ron Hodges grounded out to Milbourne and Ted Martinez singled. Griffin issued back-to-back walks to McGraw and Jim Gosger to load the bases. An ensuing single by Felix Millan scored Martinez and McGraw for a 3-0 Mets lead. Ed Kranepool then flied out to center fielder Cesar Cedeno to end the inning.

McGraw and Griffin each pitched scoreless ball in the third and fourth innings. In the top of the fifth, Milt May led off with a homer for the Astros' first run. Milbourne struck out and Griffin hit a single. Tug got Greg Gross and Roger Metzger to hit consecutive force play grounders to shortstop Martinez for the final two outs. The Mets failed to score in the bottom of the inning. McGraw then pitched a perfect top of the sixth and Griffin shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

In the top of the seventh inning, Doug Rader singled and Milt May doubled against Mets' reliever Harry Parker. Milbourne grounded back to Parker and pinch-hitter Cliff Johnson popped out to second baseman Millan. Gross singled to bring home Rader and cut the Mets' lead to 3-2. Parker got Metzger on a ground ball back to the mound for the third out. Houston reliever Ramon de los Santos set down the Mets in order in the bottom of the inning. Parker then struck out Cedeno and Bob Watson and retired Lee May on a pop-up to Millan for a 1-2-3 top of the eighth.

Ayala drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the eighth inning. Benny moved to second base on Hodges' ground out and Martinez was walked intentionally. Parker reached second on an error by third baseman Rader that allowed Ayala to score. Gosger was then called out on strikes to end the inning.

Parker fanned Rader to begin the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Johnny Edwards popped out to Martinez. Milbourne then flied out to left fielder Ayala to end the game. The Mets had a victory as Benny became the first player in team history to hit a home run in his first at bat as a major leaguer.