August 27, 1981: Two Runs in 8th Dump Astros

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Date: August 27, 1981
Mets starter: Pete Falcone
Mets: 3
Astros: 2
Winning pitcher: Mike Marshall
Key player(s): Frank Taveras, Hubie Brooks, Neil Allen
Key play: Taveras’s run-scoring single, Brooks’ double

The Mets faced the Astros on a Thursday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets scored twice in the eighth inning for a 3-2 win over Houston.

Pete Falcone and the Astros’ Joe Niekro each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. In the top of the third, Joe Pittman got a one-out single and advanced to second base on Niekro’s sacrifice bunt. Tony Scott singled to drive home Pittman and moved to second on a throw. An ensuing single by Kiko Garcia plated Scott with the second Houston run. Cesar Cedeno got an infield single and Falcone retired Jose Cruz on an inning-ending ground ball to second baseman Doug Flynn. Niekro then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Following a scoreless fourth inning, Falcone set down the Astros in order in the top of the fifth. Lee Mazzilli opened the bottom of the inning with a double and moved to third base on John Stearns’ ensuing fly out to right fielder Gary Woods. Flynn grounded out to third baseman Art Howe to score Mazzilli and cut the Astros’ lead to 2-1. Niekro got Falcone to ground out to second baseman Pittman and end the inning. Falcone and Niekro then followed up by pitching scoreless ball in the sixth and seventh.

Mets’ reliever Mike Marshall shut down the Astros in the top of the eighth inning. Alex Trevino singled against Niekro with one out in the bottom half. With Houston’s Joe Sambito on the mound facing Mookie Wilson, Trevino stole second base. Sambito responded with a strikeout of Wilson for the inning’s second out. Frank Taveras singled to score Trevino (tying the game) and moved to second on a throw. A double by Hubie Brooks drove home Taveras and put the Mets ahead by a run. Astros’ reliever Frank LaCorte then struck out Dave Kingman to finish off the inning.

Alan Ashby got a one-out single against Marshall in the top of the ninth. Scott singled to advance pinch-runner Dickie Thon to third base. Neil Allen came in to pitch for the Mets and threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Harry Spilman. Allen then retired Cedeno on a game-ending fly ball to center fielder Wilson. The Mets had a victory to close out the series.