July 20, 1978: Youngblood's Double Gives Mets Sweep

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Date: July 20, 1978
Mets starter: Dwight Bernard
Mets: 5
Astros: 4
Winning pitcher: Dale Murray
Key player(s): Willie Montanez, Joel Youngblood
Key play: Montanez's single in 8th, Youngblood's double in 11th

After winning the opener of a Thursday doubleheader, the Mets aimed for a sweep of the Astros in the nightcap. The second game of the twinbill went into extra innings. In the 11th, Joel Youngblood hit a double to drive in the winning run for a 5-4 Mets triumph over Houston.

Dwight Bernard and the Astros' Vern Ruhle each pitched scoreless ball over the first three innings. In the top of the fourth, Enos Cabell drew a leadoff walk and went to third base on a single by Jose Cruz. A double play ground ball by Bob Watson brought home Cabell with the first run of the game. Art Howe followed with a home run for a 2-0 Houston lead. Bernard then retired Dave Bergman on a grounder to second baseman Bobby Valentine for the third out of the inning.

Steve Henderson doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Ron Hodges flied out to right fielder Cruz and a double by Bruce Boisclair scored Henderson. Doug Flynn hit a double to plate Boisclair and tie the game at 2-2. Ruhle walked Bernard and was replaced on the mound by Bo McLaughlin. Lenny Randle hit into a force play and stole second before Valentine walked to load the bases. Bobby was then hit by Lee Mazzilli's batted ball for the third out of the inning.

To begin the top of the fifth, Bernard issued walks to Bruce Bochy and pinch-hitter Denny Walling. Reliever Kevin Kobel set down the next three Astros hitters to end the inning. Houston's Ken Forsch held the Mets to a single by Hodges in a scoreless bottom half. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Howe hit his second homer of the game to put the Astros ahead by a run. Kobel then got Bergman on an inning-ending ground ball to Valentine.

Flynn walked and Kobel singled to start the bottom of the sixth. Randle reached first on an error by catcher Bochy. On the play, Flynn was out at home on a throw by third baseman Cabell. Pinch-hitting for Valentine, Ed Kranepool grounded out to second baseman Howe to bring home Kobel from third. Mazzilli then hit a grounder to Howe for the third out of the inning.

Bochy led off the top of the seventh with a home run to give Houston a 4-3 lead. Kobel retired the next three batters and Forsch pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning. Kobel set down the Astros 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. In the bottom half, Tim Foli got a two-out single and advanced to third on a single by Mazzilli. Willie Montanez singled to right field to drive home Foli and tie the game again. Henderson then hit into a force play to end the inning.

Mets' reliever Dale Murray pitched a perfect top of the ninth. Forsch did the same in the bottom of the inning. Murray set down all three Houston batters again in the top of the 10th. In the bottom half, Joe Sambito shut down the Mets. The Astros had two runners on base with two outs in the top of the 11th. Murray then fanned Bergman for the third out of the inning.

Sambito threw a called third strike past Mazzilli to begin the bottom of the 11th. Montanez singled to right field and Youngblood came up to pinch-hit for Murray. Joel hit a double to center field to score Montanez and end the game. The Mets had a sweep of the doubleheader.