July 18, 1982: Swan Records First Save

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Date: July 18, 1982
Mets starter: Mike Scott
Mets: 8
Dodgers: 3
Winning pitcher: Mike Scott
Key player(s): Craig Swan, Phil Mankowski, George Foster, Wally Backman
Key play: Backman’s home run, Mets’ RBI singles

The Mets faced the Dodgers on a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. The teams played the finale of a four-game series. Craig Swan pitched four innings of scoreless relief for his first major league save in an 8-3 Mets win.

Mookie Wilson hit a triple against Dodgers’ starter Bob Welch to lead off the top of the first. John Stearns grounded out to first baseman Steve Garvey and a line drive by George Foster was caught by second baseman Steve Sax. Dave Kingman reached on left fielder Dusty Baker’s error that allowed Wilson to come home and Welch retired Ellis Valentine on a foul pop-up to Garvey for the third out. To begin the bottom half, Sax drew a walk and moved to second base on a balk. Sax went to third on Bill Russell’s sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on Baker’s sacrifice fly. Mets’ starter Mike Scott then got Pedro Guerrero to fly out to left fielder Foster and end the inning.

Welch set down the side in order in the top of the second. Ron Cey singled to lead off the bottom half. Garvey was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Wilson. Cey stole second base and Mike Marshall was called out on strikes. Mike Scioscia doubled to drive home Cey for a 2-1 Los Angeles lead. Scott then retired Welch on a ground ball to second baseman Wally Backman to close out the inning.

Welch hurled a perfect top of the third. Scott shut down the Dodgers in the bottom half and Welch retired the side in order once again in the top of the fourth. Garvey reached on shortstop Ron Gardenhire’s error to begin the bottom of the inning. Marshall singled and a double steal put runners on second and third base. Scioscia hit a single to score Garvey and increase the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1. Welch and Sax were both retired on fly balls to right fielder Valentine. Scott then got Russell to pop out to Backman and finish off the inning.

Backman hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the fifth. Welch set down the next two batters to close out the inning and Scott surrendered only a walk to Guerrero in the bottom half. Wilson reached second base on shortstop Russell’s error to open the top of the sixth. Stearns fouled out to third baseman Cey and a single by Foster brought home Wilson with the tying run. Kingman drew a walk and Valentine was struck out. Phil Mankowski followed with a single to score Foster and put the Mets ahead, 4-3. Backman walked to load the bases and Welch fanned Gardenhire to end the inning. Marshall drew a walk against Scott to lead off the bottom half. Swan then came in to pitch and retired three straight Los Angeles hitters to finish off the inning.

Dodgers’ reliever Tom Niedenfuer yielded only a single to Stearns in the top of the seventh. Swan pitched a scoreless bottom half and Kingman singled against Niedenfuer to begin the top of the eighth. Valentine flied out to Baker and a single by Mankowski ensued. Backman singled to drive home Kingman and a fly ball by Gardenhire was caught by center fielder Guerrero. Swan followed with a single to plate Mankowski for a 6-3 Mets lead. Los Angeles’s Steve Shirley retired Wilson on an inning-ending pop-up to Sax. Swan the set down the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Stearns got a leadoff single in the top of the ninth. John stole second base and Foster flied out to Baker. Kingman was given an intentional walk. With Valentine at bat, Stearns advanced to third base and pinch-runner Mike Jorgensen to second on a double steal. Catcher Mike Scioscia made an error on the play that allowed Jorgensen to go to third and Stearns to score for a 7-3 Mets lead. Valentine hit a single to bring home Jorgensen with the eighth New York run. Mankowski grounded out to Russell and a walk to Backman ensued. Shirley then got Gardenhire to ground out to Sax and end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Ron Roenicke grounded out to first baseman Jorgensen to open the bottom of the ninth. Sax flied out to Wilson and a double by Russell followed. Swan then retired Baker on a pop-up to Jorgensen for the game’s final out. The Mets had a series-closing victory as Craig chalked up the first save of his ten seasons in the major leagues.