August 8, 1970: Mets Outlast Bucs in Hitting War

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Date: August 8, 1970
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 12
Pirates: 9
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Donn Clendenon, Tommie Agee, Cleon Jones
Key play: Clendenon’s home run in 1st, Jones’ single in 7th, Mets’ two runs in 9th

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday night in Pittsburgh. The game featured a potent display of offense as the teams combined for 32 hits. In the end, the Mets emerged with a 12-9 win over the Bucs.

Tommie Agee led off the top of the first inning with a double to center field. Pirates’ starter Bob Veale retired Bud Harrelson on a fly ball to right fielder Roberto Clemente and walked Cleon Jones. An ensuing home run by Donn Clendenon gave the Mets a 3-0 lead. Veale got Ron Swoboda on a called third strike and yielded a single to Joe Foy. With Jerry Grote at bat, Foy stole second base. Veale then retired Grote on an inning-ending ground ball to shortstop Freddie Patek.

Clemente hit a two-out double off Mets’ starter Jerry Koosman in the bottom of the first. Bob Robertson doubled to score Clemente and came home on a single by Al Oliver. Koosman retired Jose Pagan on a fly ball to right fielder Swoboda for the third out and doubled with one out in the top of the second. Agee followed with his second double to drive home Koosman and scored the Mets’ fifth run on a single by Harrelson. Against Pittsburgh reliever Dick Colpaert, Jones singled to send Harrelson to third base. Cleon stole second and Clendenon was walked intentionally to load the bases. Colpaert then got Swoboda on a line drive to third baseman Pagan that was turned into a double play to end the inning.

Koosman limited the Bucs to singles by Jerry May and Gene Clines in a scoreless bottom of the second. In the top of the third, Grote got a one-out single off Pittsburgh’s Jim Nelson. Pinch-hitter Wayne Garrett walked and (with Koosman batting) was caught off base and tagged out in a rundown. Koosman followed with a single on which Grote moved to third. A wild pitch plated Grote and increased the Mets’ lead to 6-2. Nelson fanned Agee for the third out. The Pirates were then shut down by Koosman in the bottom of the inning.

Nelson pitched a perfect top of the fourth. Koosman held the Bucs to a single by May in the bottom half. With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Foy drew a walk and (on a pickoff attempt) advanced to third on errors by Nelson and Pagan. A bunt single by Grote brought Foy across the plate. Garrett hit into a force play and Koosman drew a walk. Agee singled to score Garrett for an 8-2 Mets lead. Pirates’ reliever Orlando Pena retired Harrelson on a foul pop-up to catcher May to end the inning. Koosman then set down all three Pittsburgh batters in the bottom half.

Pena shut down the Mets in the top of the sixth inning. Pagan and Dave Cash got back-to-back singles with two outs in the bottom half. May singled to score Pagan with the Bucs’ third run of the game. Koosman threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Gene Alley to close out the inning. Against the Pirates’ Joe Gibbon, the Mets loaded the bases (on two walks and Agee’s single) with two outs in the top of the seventh. Jones hit a single to bring home Grote and Agee. Gibbon then retired Clendenon on a grounder to second baseman Cash for the final out of the inning.

Patek doubled and went to third on left fielder Jones’ error to begin the bottom of the seventh. Matty Alou’s single to center field brought home Patek. Clemente followed with a two-run homer to cut the Mets’ lead to 10-6. Gary Gentry came in to pitch and set down the next three Bucs hitters. Gibbon retired the Mets in order in the top of the eighth inning. Cash singled and moved to second on May’s ground out to start the bottom half. A pinch-hit single by Willie Stargell scored Cash and a walk to Patek ensued. Alou flied out to Jones and an error by second baseman Garrett allowed Clemente to reach and load the bases. Robertson hit a single to drive home pinch-runner Dock Ellis and Patek, reducing the Mets lead to one run. Gentry then walked Oliver intentionally and got Pagan on an inning-ending ground ball to Garrett.

Agee hit a one-out triple (his fifth hit of the game) off Pittsburgh reliever Dave Giusti in the top of the ninth. Tommie scored on Harrelson’s sacrifice fly and Jones followed with a double to center field. Cleon advanced to third on May’s passed ball and Clendenon drew a walk. Swoboda singled to bring home Jones for the Mets’ twelfth run. Giusti then retired Foy on a line drive to Cash for the third out.

Cash walked to open the bottom of the ninth inning. May grounded out to third baseman Foy and a fly ball by Johnny Jeter was caught by Swoboda. Gentry then retired Patek on a grounder to Foy to end the game. The Mets had a victory (their first ever at Three Rivers Stadium) in a battle of hitting.