July 15, 1980: Zachry and Three Homers Bury Braves

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Date: July 15, 1980
Mets starter: Pat Zachry
Mets: 9
Braves: 2
Winning pitcher: Pat Zachry
Key player(s): Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson, Lee Mazzilli
Key play: Henderson’s and Mazzilli’s home runs

The Mets faced the Braves on a Tuesday night in Atlanta. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Pat Zachry pitched a complete game and the Mets hit three homers in a 9-2 win.

Claudell Washington drew a two-out walk against Braves’ starter Doyle Alexander in the top of the first inning. Washington stole second base and moved to third on John Stearns’ infield single. Mike Jorgensen hit a single to drive home Washington. Steve Henderson followed with a three-run homer for a 4-0 Mets lead. Elliott Maddox walked and Doug Flynn was retired on a ground ball back to Alexander for the third out. Zachry then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Lee Mazzilli was hit by a pitch with one out in the top of the second. Frank Taveras hit a force play grounder to shortstop Luis Gomez and came around to score on a double by Washington. John Stearns doubled to score Washington and increase the Mets’ lead to 6-0. Jorgensen was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Gary Matthews that finished off the inning. Zachry then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Zachry and Alexander each pitched scoreless ball from the third inning to the fifth. Leading off the top of the sixth, Henderson connected for his second home run of the game. Alexander retired the next three Mets batters to end the inning and Zachry set down the side in order in the bottom half. Atlanta reliever Preston Hanna hurled a perfect top of the seventh. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Matthews homered to reduce the Mets’ lead to 7-1. Zachry then got Bob Horner and Jeff Burroughs on consecutive ground balls to third baseman Maddox for the inning’s final outs.

Hanna set down the Mets in order in the top of the eighth. Bill Nahorodny doubled to lead off the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Biff Pocoroba grounded out to Maddox and a strikeout of pinch-hitter Brian Asselstine ensued. Glenn Hubbard hit a single to score Nahorodny, cutting the Mets’ lead to 7-2. Zachry then got Dale Murphy on a force play grounder to shortstop Bill Almon to end the inning.

Flynn got a one-out single against Braves’ reliever Al Hrabosky in the top of the ninth. With Zachry at bat, Hrabosky threw a pitch above Pat’s head and received a few unkind words from on-deck hitter Mazzilli. Zachry bunted foul for a third strike and Lee slugged a homer for the Mets’ eighth and ninth runs of the game. After touching home plate, Mazzilli continued his discussion with Hrabosky, which brought all members of both teams on to the field and delayed action briefly. Hrabosky then retired Almon on a fly ball to left fielder Burroughs to close out the inning.

Chris Chambliss singled to open the bottom of the ninth. Matthews and Horner were retired on consecutive fly balls to right fielder Washington. Zachry then threw a called third strike past Burroughs for the game’s last out. The Mets had a victory to start the series.