July 14, 1973: Three Runs in 9th Beat Reds

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Date: July 14, 1973
Mets starter: George Stone
Mets: 5
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: George Stone
Key player(s): George Stone, Felix Millan, Willie Mays
Key play: Mays’ double, Bench’s passed ball, Millan’s single and homer

The Mets faced the Reds on a Saturday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the third of four games in a weekend series. The Mets scored three runs in the ninth inning for a 5-2 win.

Following a thirty-minute rain delay, George Stone and the Reds’ Tom Hall each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. Bud Harrelson hit a single to lead off the top of the third. Stone’s sacrifice bunt advanced Harrelson to second base and Wayne Garrett was called out on strikes. Felix Millan singled to drive home Harrelson and went to second base on a throw. Willie Mays followed with a double to score Millan for a 2-0 Mets lead. Hall retired Cleon Jones on a ground ball to shortstop Dave Concepcion to end the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Joe Morgan singled and moved to third on Concepcion’s single to center field. Concepcion stole second and Johnny Bench was struck out. Tony Perez walked to load the bases. Stone then got Bobby Tolan on a ground ball to first baseman Jim Beauchamp for the inning’s final out.

Hall set down the side in order in the top of the fourth. Leading off the bottom half, Andy Kosco hit a home run. Denis Menke fouled out to Beauchamp and a strikeout of pinch-hitter Larry Stahl ensued. Pete Rose drew a walk and Morgan grounded back to Stone to finish off the inning. George hit a one-out single against Cincinnati reliever Ed Sprague in the top of the fifth. Garrett flied out to center fielder Tolan and a walk to Millan followed. With Mays at bat, Sprague threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners to second and third. Stone tried to score on the play and was out on catcher Bench’s throw to Sprague to end the inning. The Reds were then retired in order by Stone in the bottom half.

Jones singled with one out in the top of the sixth. On Beauchamp’s ensuing single, Cleon was out via a throw by right fielder Kosco to third baseman Menke. Sprague walked both Don Hahn and Jerry Grote to load the bases and Cincinnati’s Clay Carroll threw a called third strike past Harrelson to close out the inning. Stone pitched a scoreless bottom half and the Reds’ Pedro Borbon set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Morgan hit a one-out double in the bottom of the inning. Stone then struck out Concepcion and got Bench to hit a ground ball to shortstop Harrelson for the inning’s third out.

Borbon held the Mets to a double by Jones in the top of the eighth. Perez singled to begin the bottom half. Pinch-runner Darrel Chaney moved to second base on Tolan’s sacrifice bunt and to third on Kosco’s single to left field. Menke followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Chaney, tying the game at 2-2. Stone then retired pinch-hitter Dan Driessen on a pop-up to second baseman Millan to end the inning.

Grote tripled against Reds’ reliever Don Gullett to lead off the top of the ninth. Harrelson was retired on a ground ball to Concepcion. As pinch-hitter Duffy Dyer drew a walk, pinch-runner Ted Martinez came home on Bench’s passed ball to put the Mets ahead. Garrett hit a single on which right fielder Tolan (who had shifted from center) threw to third baseman Chaney for an out on Dyer. Millan followed with a home run to extend the Mets’ lead to three runs. Gullett then struck out Mays to finish off the inning.

Mets’ reliever Buzz Capra retired Rose on a fly ball to right fielder Hahn to begin the bottom of the ninth. Morgan flied out to left fielder Jones. Capra then got Concepcion to pop out to Harrelson and end the game. The Mets had a victory with some late scoring.