August 29, 1967: Koonce Shuts Out Cardinals

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Date: August 29, 1967
Mets starter: Cal Koonce
Mets: 2
Cardinals: 0
Winning pitcher: Cal Koonce
Key player(s): Cal Koonce, Ron Swoboda, Jerry Grote
Key play: Swoboda’s home run, Grote’s RBI single

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Tuesday evening in St. Louis. On the night of the famous final episode of the TV show The Fugitive, Cal Koonce went on a hunt of his own in search of victory against the National League’s first place team. Koonce hurled a complete game five-hitter as the Mets blanked the Redbirds, 2-0.

Koonce and the Cards’ Dick Hughes each started the game with four scoreless innings pitched. Cal had yielded singles to Hughes and Roger Maris while the Mets were held to a first-inning single by Bob Johnson. To begin the top of the fifth, Ron Swoboda hit a home run for a 1-0 Mets lead. Ed Charles grounded out to shortstop Dal Maxvill and a fly ball by Jerry Grote was caught by right fielder Maris. Hughes fanned Koonce for the third out of the inning. Cal then limited the Cardinals to a single by Phil Gagliano in the bottom half.

After setting down the Mets in order in the top of the sixth, Hughes got his second single of the game to lead off the bottom of the inning. Bobby Tolan was called out on strikes and Curt Flood hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Bud Harrelson. Maris grounded out to second baseman Bob Johnson to end the inning and Tommy Davis singled to open the top of the seventh. Davis moved to second base on Ed Kranepool’s sacrifice bunt and to third on a wild pitch. Swoboda grounded back to Hughes and a walk to Charles followed. Grote singled to drive home Davis with the Mets’ second run. Koonce grounded out to Maxvill to end the inning. Cal then retired all three St. Louis batters in the bottom half.

Hughes retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Gagliano singled for the Redbirds’ fifth hit to begin the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Lou Brock hit a force play grounder back to Koonce and pinch-hitter Alex Johnson was retired on a pop-up to first baseman Ed Kranepool. Tolan grounded back to Koonce for the inning’s final out. Cards’ reliever Ron Willis then pitched a perfect top of the ninth.

Flood grounded out to third baseman Charles to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Maris was retired on a ground ball to Bob Johnson. Koonce then got Orlando Cepeda to fly out to center fielder Cleon Jones and end the game. Just as Dr. Richard Kimble had finally caught the one-armed man, Cal and the Mets had bagged the league-leading Cardinals with a shutout win.