July 19, 1974: Four Runs in 6th Beat Padres

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Date: July 19, 1974
Mets starter: Jon Matlack
Mets: 4
Padres: 2
Winning pitcher: Jon Matlack
Key player(s): Jon Matlack, Ed Kranepool, Jerry Grote
Key play: Horace Clarke’s error, Kranepool’s single, Grote’s single

The Mets faced the Padres on a Friday night in San Diego. The teams played the opener of a three-game weekend series. The Mets scored four runs in the sixth inning for a 4-2 win.

Jon Matlack and the Padres’ Dan Spillner each pitched scoreless and hitless ball for the first three innings of the game. Spillner set down the Mets in order in the top of the fourth and Cito Gaston homered with one out in the bottom half for a 1-0 San Diego lead. Nate Colbert went down on strikes and Dave Winfield grounded out to shortstop Bud Harrelson to end the inning. Spillner held the Mets to a double by Jerry Grote in the top of the fifth. Matlack then retired the side in order in the bottom half.

Matlack hit a single to lead off the top of the sixth inning. Harrelson drew a walk and Wayne Garrett was struck out. Cleon Jones was retired on a fly ball to center fielder Johnny Grubb after which Matlack advanced to third base. Rusty Staub reached on an error by second baseman Horace Clarke that allowed Matlack to score and tie the game. Ed Kranepool followed with a single to drive home Harrelson from second for a 2-1 Mets lead. On his own hit, Kranepool went to second and Staub moved to third via a throw to the plate by left fielder Winfield. John Milner was walked intentionally to load the bases and Grote singled to bring home Staub and Kranepool with the third and fourth New York runs. Spillner got Ted Martinez to hit an inning-ending force play ground ball to third baseman Dave Roberts. Matlack then shut down the Padres in the bottom half.

San Diego reliever Lowell Palmer hurled a perfect top of the seventh inning. Matlack retired all three batters in the bottom half and Palmer set down the Mets in order again in the top of the eighth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Roberts hit a double to left field. Pinch-hitter Glenn Beckert popped out to Harrelson and a double by Enzo Hernandez drove home Roberts. Matlack got Clarke to ground out to third baseman Garrett and end the inning. Padres’ reliever Larry Hardy then pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.

Gaston got a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Colbert fouled out to right fielder Staub and a force play grounder by Winfield ensued. Matlack then retired Grubb on a ground ball to second baseman Martinez to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to start the series.


  • Leading off the bottom of the sixth inning for the Padres, pinch-hitter Rod Gaspar was retired on a called third strike. This was the last appearance in a major league game for Gaspar, who was a member of the Mets’ world championship team in 1969.