August 4, 1978: Stearns and Youngblood Bury Cardinals

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Date: August 4, 1978
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 8
Cardinals: 3
Winning pitcher: Craig Swan
Key player(s): John Stearns, Joel Youngblood
Key play: Stearns’ bases-loaded walk and double, Youngblood’s sacrifice fly and singles

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Friday night in St. Louis. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. John Stearns and Joel Youngblood drove in three runs each in an 8-3 Mets win over the Redbirds.

Tim Foli drew a walk against Cards’ starter Bob Forsch with one out in the top of the first inning. Lee Mazzilli hit a double and Willie Montanez was walked intentionally to load the bases. Stearns drew a walk to force home Foli with the first run of the game. Youngblood followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Mazzilli for a 2-0 Mets lead. Forsch retired Elliott Maddox on a fly ball to center fielder George Hendrick for the third out. Mets’ starter Craig Swan then yielded only a single to Garry Templeton in the bottom half.

After a scoreless second, Foli doubled to lead off the top of the third. Mazzilli was retired on a foul pop-up to shortstop Templeton. Foli went to third base on Montanez’s ground out to first baseman Keith Hernandez and a walk to Stearns ensued. Youngblood hit a single to score Foli and increase the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Maddox grounded out to Templeton to end the inning and Lou Brock singled with two outs in the bottom half. Brock stole second and Templeton drew a walk. Hendrick hit a double to drive home Brock with the Cardinals’ first run. Trying to score on the play, Templeton was out at home via a relay throw by third baseman Lenny Randle to catcher Stearns to finish off the inning.

Swan and Forsch each pitched scoreless ball from the fourth inning to the sixth. With one out in the top of the seventh, Montanez singled and stole second base. Stearns drew a walk and Youngblood singled to drive home Montanez for a 4-1 Mets lead. On the play, Stearns got caught in a rundown and was tagged by second baseman Mike Tyson for the inning’s final out. Swan then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

St. Louis reliever Mark Littell struck out all three batters in the top of the eighth. Leading off the bottom of the inning, Brock got a bunt single and advanced to second base on an error by Randle. Templeton flied out to left fielder Youngblood and a single by Hendrick scored Brock. Ted Simmons was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Mazzilli. Swan then got Hernandez to ground out to second baseman Doug Flynn and end the inning.

Mazzilli hit a two-out double against Littell in the top of the ninth. Montanez was walked intentionally and a passed ball by catcher Simmons moved the runners to second and third base. Stearns hit a double to drive home Mazzilli and Montanez. Youngblood got an infield single and Maddox drew a walk to load the bases. Flynn hit a single to bring home Stearns. On the play, third baseman Ken Reitz made an error that allowed Youngblood to score and extend the Mets’ lead to 8-2. Pinch-hitter Bobby Valentine drew a walk against Cards’ reliever Buddy Schultz to reload the bases. Schultz then got Randle on a force play ground ball to Templeton that closed out the inning.

Jerry Mumphrey doubled against Mets’ reliever Skip Lockwood to open the bottom of the ninth. Reitz grounded out to Randle and a single by Mike Phillips brought home Mumphrey with the third St. Louis run. Pinch-hitter Wayne Garrett was called out on strikes and Brock got an infield single. Lockwood then retired Templeton on a fly ball to right fielder Maddox to end the game. The Mets had a solid victory to start the weekend series.