July 17, 1977: Six Runs in 7th Give Mets Split
|Date: July 17, 1977|
|Mets starter: Jerry Koosman|
|Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman|
|Key player(s): Jerry Koosman, Lenny Randle, Felix Millan, Steve Henderson|
|Key play: Randle’s and Millan’s RBI singles, Henderson’s grand slam|
After losing the opener of a Sunday doubleheader, the Mets aimed for a split in the nightcap against the Pirates. The teams concluded a five-game series with their second twinbill at Shea Stadium in three days. The Mets scored six runs in the seventh inning for a 9-3 win over Pittsburgh.
Leading off the top of the first inning, Phil Garner reached base on an error by third baseman Lenny Randle. An ensuing double by Rennie Stennett scored Garner for a 1-0 Pirates lead. Dave Parker singled to drive home Stennett with another run for the Bucs. Mets’ starter Jerry Koosman struck out Bill Robinson and got Al Oliver to ground into an inning-ending double play. Pittsburgh’s Terry Forster walked Randle to begin the bottom half. Felix Millan hit a triple on which Randle came around to score. A sacrifice fly by Steve Henderson plated Millan to tie the game at 2-2. Forster then retired Mike Vail on a ground ball to third baseman Garner for the third out.
Koosman set down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the second. Forster hit Jerry Grote with a pitch and walked Lee Mazzilli to open the bottom of the inning. Doug Flynn reached on error by shortstop Mario Mendoza to load the bases. Koosman’s double play grounder scored Grote to put the Mets ahead. Randle grounded out to Garner to end the inning. Koosman struck out Forster and Garner in a perfect top of the third. The Mets were then retired in order by Forster in the bottom half.
From the fourth inning to the sixth, Koosman and Forster each pitched scoreless ball. Jerry allowed no hits and recorded a strikeout in each of the three innings. Forster held the Mets to two singles over the same stretch. In the top of the seventh, Jerry Hairston hit a leadoff home run to tie the game for Pittsburgh. Koosman followed up with strikeouts of Ed Ott and Mendoza. Forster then hit a grounder to second baseman Millan for the final out of the inning.
Grote doubled to start the bottom of the seventh. Mazzilli’s ground out to second baseman Stennett moved pinch-runner Bud Harrelson to third. Pirates’ reliever Rich Gossage issued an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Ed Kranepool. The Bucs’ Grant Jackson walked pinch-hitter Bobby Valentine to load the bases. Randle singled off Kent Tekulve to score Harrelson and give the Mets a 4-3 lead. Millan then hit a single that brought home Kranepool with the Mets’ fifth run of the game.
Henderson connected for a grand slam to make it a six-run inning for the Mets. John Stearns followed with a single and Tekulve was removed from the game. Pittsburgh reliever Odell Jones retired Joel Youngblood on a fly ball to center fielder Oliver. As a pinch-hitter for Harrelson, Skip Lockwood flied out to Oliver for the third out of the inning.
Garner got a bunt single against reliever Lockwood to start the top of the eighth. Stennett flied out to center fielder Mazzilli and an error by second baseman Millan allowed Parker to reach base. Lockwood got Robinson on a grounder to Millan for a double play to end the inning. Jones then retired the Mets in order on three ground balls in the bottom half.
Oliver grounded out to shortstop Valentine to begin the top of the ninth inning. Lockwood retired Omar Moreno on a bunt attempt and Ott reached on first baseman Kranepool’s error. Skip then got Mendoza on a ground ball to Valentine that ended the game. The Mets had a split of the doubleheader.