July 13, 1979: Mets Outlast Giants in DH Opener

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Date: July 13, 1979
Mets starter: Kevin Kobel
Mets: 7
Giants: 6
Winning pitcher: Kevin Kobel
Key player(s): Steve Henderson, Frank Taveras, John Stearns
Key play: Henderson’s home run, Taveras’s double, Stearns’ single

The Mets faced the Giants in a doubleheader on a Friday evening. The teams combined for 27 hits in the opener of the twinbill at Shea Stadium. In the end, the Mets emerged with a 7-6 win over San Francisco.

Mets’ starter Kevin Kobel pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Joel Youngblood singled against the Giants’ Bob Knepper to lead off the bottom half. Frank Taveras fouled out to first baseman Mike Ivie and a fly ball by Lee Mazzilli was caught by right fielder Jack Clark. Youngblood stole second base and Steve Henderson homered for a 2-0 Mets lead. Knepper then retired John Stearns on a grounder to third baseman Darrell Evans for the inning’s final out.

Ivie hit a leadoff triple in the top of the second. Evans singled to drive home Ivie and was out at second on Larry Herndon’s force play ground ball to shortstop Taveras. Herndon stole second and moved to third on a single by Johnnie LeMaster. Kobel then struck out Dennis Littlejohn and retired Knepper on a foul pop-up to catcher Stearns to finish off the inning.

Willie Montanez hit a single to begin the bottom of the second. Elliott Maddox flied out to Clark and a wild pitch moved Montanez to second base. Alex Trevino singled to score Montanez and went to second on Kobel’s sacrifice bunt. Youngblood reached on a third strike passed ball as Trevino advanced to third. Taveras followed with a triple that brought home Trevino and Youngblood, extending the Mets’ lead to 5-1. Knepper then got Mazzilli on a fly ball to Clark for the third out of the inning.

A double by Bill North began the top of the third. Joe Strain singled to score North with the Giants’ second run of the game. Clark hit a grounder to third baseman Trevino for a double play. Ivie grounded to Trevino for the third out and Henderson hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning. Stearns followed with a force play ground ball to second baseman Strain and advanced to third on a single by Montanez. Against San Francisco reliever Greg Minton, Maddox hit a force play grounder to shortstop LeMaster to bring home Stearns with the sixth New York run. Maddox stole second and Trevino was given an intentional walk. Minton then fanned Kobel to finish off the inning.

Kobel set down the Giants in order in the top of the fourth. Mazzilli hit a two-out single in the bottom half. Lee stole second base and Henderson grounded back to Minton for the third out of the inning. Leading off the top of the fifth, Littlejohn singled to left field. Pinch-hitter Rob Andrews flied out to right fielder Maddox and a strikeout of North ensued. Strain hit a single and Clark singled to score Littlejohn. Ivie followed with another single to plate Strain and cut the Mets’ lead to 6-4. Kobel retired Evans on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Mazzilli. San Francisco reliever Tom Griffin then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Neil Allen set down the Giants 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth inning. Griffin retired all three Mets hitters in the bottom half and pinch-hitter Terry Whitfield singled to open the top of the seventh. North hit a force play grounder to Taveras and moved to second base on a single by Strain. Allen threw a called third strike past Clark. Ivie followed with a single to score North for the fifth San Francisco run. For New York, reliever Ed Glynn came in to pitch and fanned Evans for the final out of the inning.

Giants’ reliever Pedro Borbon got Taveras on a called third strike to begin the bottom of the seventh. Mazzilli flied out to center fielder North and a triple by Henderson ensued. Stearns singled to drive home Henderson and increase the Mets’ lead to 7-5. With Montanez at bat, Stearns was caught stealing on a throw by catcher Littlejohn to LeMaster for the inning’s third out.

Herndon hit a single to lead off the top of the eighth. With Lemaster at the plate, Herndon was out stealing on Stearns’ throw to Taveras. LeMaster doubled and came home on Littlejohn’s single to reduce the Mets’ lead to one run. Pinch-hitter Marc Hill was called out on strikes and North singled to send Littlejohn to third base. Glynn retired pinch-hitter Willie McCovey on an inning-ending grounder to second baseman Doug Flynn. San Francisco reliever Gary Lavelle then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

To begin the top of the ninth inning, Clark doubled against Mets’ reliever Dale Murray for the game’s twenty-seventh hit. Clark moved to third base on Ivie’s fly out to Maddox. Murray then fanned Evans and threw a called third strike past Herndon to bring the game to an end. The Mets had come away with a victory to start the doubleheader.