July 16, 1977: Mets Come Back for Win Over Bucs

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Date: July 16, 1977
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 5
Pirates: 3
Winning pitcher: Craig Swan
Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Steve Henderson
Key play: Kranepool’s home run, Henderson’s double and homer

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the third of five games in a weekend series. The Mets came from behind for a 5-3 win over Pittsburgh.

Craig Swan and the Bucs’ Bruce Kison each started the game with three scoreless innings pitched. Al Oliver got a one-out single in the top of the fourth. Bill Robinson grounded out to second baseman Felix Millan and a home run by Willie Stargell gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Rennie Stennett drew a walk and was caught stealing on catcher John Stearns’ throw to shortstop Doug Flynn for the inning’s final out. With one out in the bottom half, Ed Kranepool homered for the Mets’ first run of the game. Stearns grounded out to shortstop Mario Mendoza and a double by Lee Mazzilli ensued. Kison then got Flynn to fly out to center fielder Oliver and end the inning.

Swan yielded only a single to Phil Garner in the top of the fifth. Lenny Randle drew a walk with one out in the bottom half. Randle stole second base and Millan flied out to Oliver. Steve Henderson followed with a double that scored Randle and tied the game at 2-2. Kison struck out Mike Vail to finish off the inning and Dave Parker doubled to lead off the top of the sixth. Parker advanced to third on Oliver’s ground out to Millan and came home on Robinson’s sacrifice fly for a one-run Pittsburgh lead. Swan fanned Stargell to close out the inning. Kison then held the Mets to a single by Kranepool in the bottom half.

Swan retired the Bucs in order in the top of the seventh. Randle hit a one-out single against Kison in the bottom of the inning. Pirates’ reliever Rich Gossage got Millan on a force play ground ball to second baseman Stennett. Henderson followed with a home run that put the Mets ahead, 4-3. Vail was struck out to end the inning and Mets’ reliever Bob Apodaca pitched a perfect top of the eighth. Consecutive walks to Kranepool and Stearns began the bottom half. On a double steal attempt, pinch-runner Bud Harrelson was out via a throw by catcher Ed Ott to third baseman Garner. Mazzilli reached on first baseman Stargell’s error that allowed Stearns to score the fifth New York run. Gossage retired Flynn on a fly ball to right fielder Parker. Mazzilli was then caught stealing on Ott’s throw to Mendoza for the third out of the inning.

Oliver flied out to left fielder Henderson to open the top of the ninth. Robinson was retired on a foul fly ball to Henderson. Apodaca then struck out Stargell to end the game. The Mets had a comeback victory.