August 4, 1979: Cardenal and Stearns Lead Mets Past Expos

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Date: August 4, 1979
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 3
Expos: 2
Winning pitcher: Craig Swan
Key player(s): Jose Cardenal, John Stearns, Neil Allen
Key play: Cardenal’s double, Stearns’ home run

The Mets faced the Expos on a Saturday afternoon in Montreal. The teams played the second of four games in a series. Jose Cardenal and John Stearns provided clutch hitting in a 3-2 Mets win.

Craig Swan and the Expos’ Bill Lee each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Doug Flynn hit a double to lead off the top of the third. Flynn advanced to third base on catcher Gary Carter’s passed ball and Swan grounded out to shortstop Chris Speier. Cardenal doubled to drive home Flynn for a 1-0 Mets lead. With Frank Taveras at bat, Cardenal stole third. Taveras followed with a ground ball on which second baseman Rodney Scott threw to Carter for an out at home on Cardenal. Lee retired Lee Mazzilli on an inning-ending pop-up to Scott. Swan then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Willie Montanez got a leadoff single in the top of the fourth. Stearns followed with a home run to increase the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Richie Hebner grounded out to first baseman Tony Perez and a fly ball by Joel Youngblood was caught by center fielder Andre Dawson. Flynn was retired on a grounder to third baseman Larry Parrish to close out the inning. Swan then set down the side on three straight outfield fly balls in the bottom half.

Lee held the Mets to a single by Swan in the top of the fifth. Parrish tripled to begin the bottom of the inning. Speier hit a single to score Parrish and advanced to second base on Lee’s sacrifice bunt. Warren Cromartie followed with a double that brought home Speier and reduced the Mets’ lead to one run. Scott was retired on a ground ball to second baseman Flynn, after which Cromartie got caught in a rundown and was tagged by catcher Stearns to complete an inning-ending double play.

Lee gave up only a single to Montanez in the top of the sixth. Swan and Mets’ reliever Neil Allen combined to pitch a perfect bottom half and Lee retired the side 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Parrish singled with one out in the bottom of the inning. Speier hit a double play ground ball to third baseman Hebner for the inning’s final outs and Lee yielded just a double to Cardenal in the top of the eighth. Allen then retired all three Montreal batters in the bottom half.

Expos’ relievers Woodie Fryman and Elias Sosa combined for a scoreless top of the ninth. Dawson grounded out to Hebner to lead off the bottom of the inning. Perez fouled out to first baseman Montanez and a double by Carter ensued. Allen then got Ellis Valentine to fly out to center fielder Mazzilli and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a solid victory.