July 1, 1976: Matlack and Milner Deck Cards

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Date: July 1, 1976
Mets starter: Jon Matlack
Mets: 13
Cardinals: 0
Winning pitcher: Jon Matlack
Key player(s): Jon Matlack, John Milner
Key play: Milner’s double and grand slam

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Thursday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a series that was reduced from four to three games. Jon Matlack pitched a shutout and John Milner drove in five runs in a 13-0 Mets win over St. Louis.

Matlack held the Redbirds to a single by Mike Anderson in a scoreless top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Mike Phillips tripled against Cards’ starter Bob Forsch. Felix Millan grounded out to third baseman Hector Cruz and a double by Milner scored Phillips. Dave Kingman went down on strikes and Ed Kranepool drew a walk. Forsch then retired Del Unser on a fly ball to center fielder Anderson to close out the inning.

Matlack and Forsch each hurled scoreless and hitless ball from the second inning to the fourth. Jon set down the side in order in the top of the fifth and Ron Hodges singled with one out in the bottom half. Matlack bunted into a force play and moved to second base on a single by Phillips. Millan singled to drive home Matlack and advance Phillips to third. Milner reached on a two-base error by right fielder Willie Crawford that plated Phillips and Millan for a 4-0 Mets lead. St. Louis reliever Eric Rasmussen then got Kingman to foul out to first baseman Ted Simmons and end the inning.

Despite a single and two stolen bases by Lou Brock, the Redbirds failed to score against Matlack in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the inning, Wayne Garrett drew a two-out walk against Cardinals’ reliever John Curtis. Hodges hit a double and Matlack drew a walk to load the bases. Phillips singled to score Garrett and Hodges and an ensuing walk to Millan loaded the bases once again. Mike Wallace came in to pitch for St. Louis and surrendered a grand slam to Milner that increased the Mets’ lead to 10-0. Kingman and Kranepool followed with back-to-back walks. Wallace then got pinch-hitter Leon Brown on an inning-ending force play grounder to third baseman Cruz.

Simmons hit a single to open the top of the seventh. Joe Ferguson fouled out to catcher Hodges and a single by Crawford ensued. Matlack struck out Cruz and Mike Tyson to finish off the inning. Wallace pitched a scoreless bottom half and Brock tripled with one out in the top of the eighth. Don Kessinger grounded out to third baseman Garrett. Matlack then retired Anderson on a ground ball to Garrett that ended the inning.

Millan singled against Cardinals’ reliever Eddie Solomon to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Milner drew a walk and Kingman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. An ensuing walk to Kranepool forced home Millan. Brown popped out to Cruz and a walk to Garrett scored Milner. Solomon was replaced on the mound by Bill Greif, off whom Hodges hit a sacrifice fly to plate Kingman with the Mets’ thirteenth run. Greif then got Matlack to fly out to Anderson and end the inning.

Simmons lined out to Matlack to start the top of the ninth. Ferguson was retired on a ground ball to second baseman Millan. Matlack then retired Crawford on a fly ball to left fielder Milner for the game’s final out. The Mets had shutout victory on Jon’s five-hitter.