July 17, 1973: Seven Runs in the Ninth

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Date: July 17, 1973
Mets starter: Tug McGraw
Mets: 8
Braves: 7
Winning pitcher: Buzz Capra
Key player(s): John Milner, Jim Beauchamp, Willie Mays
Key play: Staub’s & Milner’s home runs, Beauchamp’s single, Mays’ single

Tug McGraw got a rare start for the second game of a series in Atlanta. Tug had a rough time, allowing ten hits and seven runs to the Braves in six innings. However, the Mets came up with seven runs of their own in the ninth for an amazing 8-7 win.

The Braves got to McGraw immediately. Ralph Garr hit Tug’s first pitch of the game for a home run. Three more Atlanta runs came home on McGraw’s wild pitch, Dusty Baker’s RBI single and Davey Johnson’s sacrifice fly for a 4-0 Braves’ lead after three inning.

The Mets got a run in the fifth on Don Hahn’s sacrifice fly to score John Milner, but the Braves plated three more runs in the sixth. Garr singled and Marty Perez followed with a two-run homer. Hank Aaron added another homer to make the score 7-1 as McGraw’s night came to an end.

Relievers John Strohmayer and Buzz Capra pitched perfect seventh and eighth innings, respectively, for the Mets. Meanwhile, Braves’ starter Carl Morton completed eight full innings allowing only five hits. The Mets were down to their last three outs still trailing by six runs.

Wayne Garrett started the top of the ninth with a single off Morton. After one out, Rusty Staub homered to cut the Atlanta lead to 7-3. Cleon Jones then singled and Milner hit another two-run homer, forcing Morton’s departure from the game. Reliever Adrian Devine was called in to protect a two-run lead for the Braves.

Devine got Ron Hodges to ground out to second base, bringing the Mets to their final out of the game. Hahn then singled and Ed Kranepool drew a walk. Jim Beauchamp, pinch-hitting for Capra, added another single to bring home Hahn and move pinch-runner Ted Martinez to third. The Mets had the tying and go-ahead runs on base.

Braves’ manager Eddie Mathews brought in lefthander Tom House to pitch to Garrett. Mets’ manager Yogi Berra sent Willie Mays up to pinch-hit. Willie delivered a timely single to right field, scoring Martinez to tie the game. Beauchamp, who didn’t stop running, came all the way from first to put the Mets ahead. Felix Millan then got a single for New York’s eighth hit of the inning before the final out was made.

Harry Parker came on in the bottom of the ninth. Parker struck out Darrell Evans and Sonny Jackson before getting Baker to foul out to first baseman Milner. The game was over and the Mets had an incredible come-from-behind victory that stunned the Atlanta Stadium crowd.

Notes

  • The win for Capra was his first of the season.
  • Aaron’s home run was No. 698 of his career.