August 3, 1976: Kranepool's Homer Beats Expos

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Date: August 3, 1976
Mets starter: Mickey Lolich
Mets: 9
Expos: 8
Winning pitcher: Bob Apodaca
Key player(s): Felix Millan, Ed Kranepool
Key play: Millan’s two-run single, Kranepool’s two-run homer

The Mets faced the Expos on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams combined for twenty hits in a three-hour and seven-minute game. Ed Kranepool hit a home run in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 9-8 win over Montreal.

Mets’ starter Mickey Lolich walked Ellis Valentine to open the top of the first inning. Bombo Rivera followed with a single to right field. A single by Larry Parrish scored Valentine for the first run of the game. Lolich recorded outs on each of the next three batters and Expos’ starter Clay Kirby issued walks to Pepe Mangual and Felix Millan to begin the bottom half. Following a wild pitch and a strikeout of Mike Vail, Kranepool reached on a fielder’s choice to drive home Mangual. Joe Torre’s force play grounder scored Millan from third base. Ron Hodges drew a walk and Roy Staiger singled to plate Torre for a 3-1 Mets lead. On Staiger’s hit, Hodges was out at third on a throw by center fielder Valentine.

After a scoreless second inning, Valentine singled and stole second base to start the top of the third. Rivera lined out to left fielder Kranepool and a double by Parrish drove home Valentine. Lolich retired Earl Williams on a fly ball to Kranepool and got Tim Foli to ground out to shortstop Mike Phillips. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Torre singled and Hodges walked. Staiger was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kirby threw his second wild pitch of the game, allowing pinch-runner Bruce Boisclair to score from third. Phillips then grounded out to second baseman Pete Mackanin to end the inning.

Lolich and Kirby each pitched a scoreless fourth inning. Mickey yielded only a bunt single to Rivera in the top of the fifth. Kirby set down the Mets in order in the bottom half and Williams got a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. Pepe Frias reached on an error by Phillips and a pair of fly outs to center fielder Mangual ensued. Lolich then retired Jerry White on a fly ball to right fielder Vail for the third out of the inning.

Kirby walked Staiger with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Phillips singled to right field and Lolich’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third. Mangual drew a walk to load the bases. Millan singled to score Staiger and Phillips, increasing the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Montreal reliever Chuck Taylor then got Vail on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Rivera.

Lolich walked pinch-hitter Del Unser to begin the top of the seventh. Valentine drew a walk and Rivera doubled to drive home Unser. Against Mets’ reliever Ken Sanders, Parrish and Williams hit consecutive sacrifice flies to score Valentine and Rivera, respectively. Frias grounded out to Phillips to end the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Boisclair singled and moved to second on a balk by Expos’ reliever Chip Lang. Hodges hit a double to score Boisclair with the Mets’ seventh run. Staiger flied out to left fielder White and an intentional walk was given to Phillips. Lang then retired Sanders on a fly ball to Rivera for the third out.

Andre Thornton homered with one out in the top of the eighth to reduce the Mets’ lead to 7-6. White followed with a single and pinch-hitter Jose Morales singled off Mets’ reliever Bob Myrick. Valentine doubled off the Mets’ Bob Apodaca to bring home White with the tying run. Pinch-hitter Mike Jorgensen was walked intentionally to load the bases. Apodaca threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Wayne Garrett for the second out of the inning. Williams reached on Phillips’ second error to score pinch-runner Steve Rogers and put the Expos ahead. Frias then hit into a force play that closed out the inning.

Millan got a one-out single off Montreal reliever Joe Kerrigan in the bottom of the eighth. Vail hit a line drive to Mackanin for the second out. Kranepool followed with a two-run homer to regain the lead for the Mets. Boisclair singled and stole second base. Kerrigan then retired Hodges on a foul pop-up to third baseman Garrett to end the inning.

To begin the top of the ninth, Mackanin was retired on a ground ball to Phillips. Thornton was hit by a pitch and White flied out to left fielder Boisclair. Apodaca then struck out pinch-hitter Gary Carter to finish off the game. The Mets had an exciting victory.