July 16, 1969: Mets Beat Cubs in Hitting War

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Date: July 16, 1969
Mets starter: Don Cardwell
Mets: 9
Cubs: 5
Winning pitcher: Cal Koonce
Key player(s): Cal Koonce, J. C. Martin, Al Weis, Art Shamsky
Key play: Mets’ four runs in 1st, Weis's and Shamsky's home runs

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Wednesday afternoon in Chicago. The teams played the finale of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. In a game that featured fourteen hits by each team, the Mets came away with a 9-5 win.

Tommie Agee doubled to lead off the top of the first inning. Ken Boswell singled to score Agee and advanced to third base on a single by Cleon Jones. With Art Shamsky at bat, Jones stole second base. Shamsky went down on strikes and Wayne Garrett was walked intentionally to load the bases. Ed Kranepool singled to drive home Boswell and a single by J. C. Martin plated Jones and Garrett for a four-run Mets lead. Cubs’ starter Ferguson Jenkins struck out both Al Weis and Don Cardwell to finish off the inning. For the Mets, Cardwell gave up just a single to Don Kessinger in the bottom half.

Agee hit a leadoff homer against Jenkins in the top of the second. Chicago reliever Hank Aguirre retired Boswell on a ground ball back to the mound. Jones singled and moved to third base on Shamsky’s single to right field. Garrett grounded back to Aguirre to drive home Jones and lengthen the Mets’ lead to 6-0. Aguirre then got Kranepool on a foul pop-up to first baseman Ernie Banks for the third out of the inning.

A double by Banks opened the bottom of the second. Banks went to third base on Willie Smith’s ground out to second baseman Boswell and came home on a single by Randy Hundley. Jimmy Qualls hit a force play grounder to first baseman Kranepool and moved to third on Aguirre’s single. Kessinger and Glenn Beckert got back-to-back singles to drive home Qualls and Aguirre, respectively. Billy Williams singled against Mets’ reliever Jim McAndrew to plate Kessinger with the Cubs’ fourth run of the game. McAndrew then got Ron Santo on a force play ground ball to shortstop Weis that ended the inning.

Aguirre shut down the Mets in the top of the third. Banks and Smith began the bottom half with consecutive singles off McAndrew. Hundley’s sacrifice bunt against Mets’ reliever Cal Koonce advanced the runners to second and third base. Qualls followed with a sacrifice fly to score Banks and reduce the Mets’ lead to 6-5. Koonce then retired pinch-hitter Al Spangler on a grounder to Boswell for the inning’s final out.

Boswell singled against Chicago reliever Rich Nye to lead off the top of the fourth inning. Jones flied out to left fielder Smith and a single by Shamsky advanced Boswell to third base. Garrett walked to load the bases and pinch-hitter Donn Clendenon was called out on strikes. Nye retired Martin on a grounder to Banks to close out the inning and Beckert singled with one out in the bottom half. Williams followed with a single that moved Beckert to third. Koonce then got Santo to hit a ground ball to Weis for an inning-ending double play.

Weis homered to lead off the top of the fifth. Koonce hit a single and Nye recorded outs on each of the next three Mets batters. Koonce set down the Cubs in order in the bottom half and Nye pitched a perfect top of the sixth inning. Koonce retired all three hitters once again in the bottom half. Chicago reliever Ted Abernathy set down the side on three straight infield grounders in the top of the seventh. Williams and Santo got back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the inning. Koonce then got Banks on a double play grounder to Weis for the inning’s final outs.

Jones reached on an error by third baseman Santo with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Shamsky followed with a homer for the Mets’ eighth and ninth runs. Garrett went down on strikes for the third out and Mets’ reliever Ron Taylor retired the side in order in the bottom half. Martin got a one-out single for the Mets’ fourteenth hit in the top of the ninth. Abernathy then got Weis to fly out to Smith and retired Rod Gaspar on a grounder to Banks that ended the inning.

Leading off the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Paul Popovich got a single for the Cubs’ fourteenth hit of the game. Kessinger grounded back to Taylor and a walk to Beckert ensued. Williams was retired on a pop-up to Boswell. Taylor then got Santo to pop out to Boswell and bring the game to an end. The Mets had their second consecutive victory to close out the series at Wrigley.