July 12, 1979: Eight-Run First Inning Beats Dodgers
|Date: July 12, 1979|
|Mets starter: Dock Ellis|
|Winning pitcher: Dock Ellis|
|Key player(s): Joel Youngblood, Frank Taveras, Steve Henderson|
|Key play: Mets’ eight runs in 1st|
The Mets and Dodgers played on a Thursday night at Shea Stadium. The National League’s two last place teams in their respective divisions completed a three-game series in front of 13,218 fans on hand. The Mets scored eight runs in the first inning on their way to a 12-5 win over Los Angeles.
Mets’ starter Dock Ellis pitched a perfect top of the first inning. In the bottom half, Joel Youngblood led off with a single and Frank Taveras reached first base on shortstop Bill Russell’s error. Dodgers’ starter Burt Hooton retired Lee Mazzilli and Richie Hebner on ground balls to first baseman Steve Garvey. Youngblood scored on Hebner’s grounder for the first run of the game. Hooton walked Willie Montanez and a single by John Stearns brought home Taveras. Steve Henderson singled to bring home Montanez and a walk to Elliott Maddox loaded the bases. Hooton issued a walk to Ellis that scored Stearns for the Mets’ fourth run. Reliever Dennis Lewallyn then came in to pitch for Los Angeles.
Youngblood hit a fly ball that was misplayed by right fielder Gary Thomasson. Henderson and Maddox scored on the error to extend the Mets’ lead to 6-0. An ensuing double by Taveras plated Ellis and Youngblood for the seventh and eighth New York runs of the inning. Lewallyn then got Mazzilli to hit a grounder to Garvey for the third out.
After a scoreless second inning, Ellis shut down the Dodgers again in the top of the third. Youngblood and Taveras got back-to-back singles with two outs in the bottom half. Mazzilli followed with a single to score Youngblood for a 9-0 Mets lead. On Lee’s hit, Taveras was out at third on a throw by Thomasson to end the inning. Ellis and Lewallyn each pitched scoreless ball in the fourth. Dock then held Los Angeles to a single by Lewallyn in the top of the fifth.
Henderson singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Maddox hit a single and went to second on left fielder Von Joshua’s throw to third base. Ellis fouled out to Joshua and a single by Youngblood scored Henderson and Maddox. Lewallyn retired Mazzilli on an inning-ending fly ball to Thomasson in right. Ellis set down the Dodgers 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. The Mets then got their twelfth run of the game on Henderson’s single that plated Gil Flores in the bottom half.
In the top of the seventh inning, Ellis issued a leadoff walk to Ron Cey. Thomasson’s ensuing single sent Cey to third base. A sacrifice fly by Derrel Thomas brought home Cey for the Dodgers’ first run. Steve Yeager hit a ground ball to shortstop Taveras for a force play on Thomasson. Ellis retired pinch-hitter Manny Mota on a grounder to second baseman Youngblood for the third out. Los Angeles reliever Charlie Hough then held the Mets without a run in the bottom of the inning.
Joshua began the top of the eighth with a single to right field. Ted Martinez got a bunt single and Dave Lopes flied out to right fielder Flores. Garvey followed with a three-run homer to cut the Met lead to 12-4. Ellis walked Cey and yielded a single to Thomasson. A single by Thomas scored Cey for the Dodgers’ fifth run. Mets’ reliever Neil Allen came in to pitch and got Yeager to hit into an inning-ending double play. Hough then retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.
In the top of the ninth inning, Allen retired pinch-hitter Johnny Oates on a pop-up to first baseman Montanez. He followed up by getting Joshua to ground out to Youngblood at second. Neil then set down Martinez on a grounder to Youngblood for the final out of the game. The Mets had an easy victory made possible by an eight-run first inning.