July 14, 1972: Schneck Hits Winning Homer in Debut

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Date: July 14, 1972
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 3
Padres: 2
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): Dave Schneck
Key play: Schneck’s two-run homer

The Mets began a California trip on a Friday night. The team’s west coast journey started off with a game in San Diego. In his major league debut, Dave Schneck hit a two-run homer to put the Mets ahead to stay for a 3-2 win over the Padres.

San Diego starter Steve Arlin retired the Mets in order in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half, Tom Seaver walked leadoff hitter Derrel Thomas and struck out Dave Roberts. Larry Stahl hit into a force play and went to second base on an errant throw by shortstop Bud Harrelson. An ensuing home run by Nate Colbert gave the Padres a 2-0 lead. Seaver then retired Cito Gaston on a line drive to right fielder Schneck for the final out of the inning.

After a scoreless second inning, Duffy Dyer singled to lead off the top of the third. Ted Martinez drew a walk and Seaver’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base. Harrelson hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Jerry Morales on which Dyer scored the Mets’ first run. Willie Mays flied out to right fielder Gaston to end the inning. Seaver then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Arlin and Seaver each pitched scoreless ball in the fourth and fifth innings. Harrelson walked to lead off the top of the sixth. Arlin set down the next two batters and Schneck homered to give the Mets a one-run lead. Bill Sudakis followed with a grounder to shortstop Enzo Hernandez for the third out. In the bottom half, Seaver gave up a two-out double to Morales before striking out Pat Corrales to end the inning.

Both teams were shut down without a hit in the seventh and eighth innings. John Milner drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth. Arlin retired the next two batters and issued a walk to Wayne Garrett. Dyer then hit a line drive to Hernandez for the final out of the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Curt Blefary led off with a pinch-hit single. Hernandez followed with a sacrifice bunt to move pinch-runner Fred Stanley to second base. Stanley went to third on pinch-hitter Garry Jestadt’s ground out to first baseman Ed Kranepool. Seaver then struck out Thomas to end the game. The Mets had a victory to start their western trip as Schneck’s career began with a game-winning home run.