July 24, 1971: Jones and Garrett Lead Rout of Astros

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Date: July 24, 1971
Mets starter: Jon Matlack
Mets: 9
Astros: 3
Winning pitcher: Tug McGraw
Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Wayne Garrett, Ken Boswell
Key play: Jones’ single and two doubles, Garrett’s RBI singles

The Mets faced the Astros on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second game of a weekend series. Cleon Jones and Wayne Garrett combined for six hits and seven runs batted in as the Mets defeated Houston, 9-3.

Jon Matlack (in his Shea debut) pitched a scoreless top of the first inning. To begin the bottom half, Astros’ starter Bill Greif issued a walk to Ken Boswell. Garrett singled to right field and Tommie Agee drew a walk to load the bases. Jones followed with a single to left field that brought home Boswell and Garrett. Ed Kranepool hit a force play grounder against Houston reliever Denny Lemaster to score Agee for a 3-0 Mets lead. Lemaster then got Dave Marshall and Duffy Dyer on force play ground balls to end the inning.

Matlack shut down the Astros in the top of the second and singled (his first major league hit) with one out in the bottom half. An ensuing single by Boswell sent Matlack to third base. Garrett hit a single to score Jon for the Mets’ fourth run. Agee popped out to shortstop Roger Metzger and a double by Jones plated Boswell and Garrett to extend the Mets’ lead to 6-0. Kranepool grounded out to second baseman Joe Morgan to finish off the inning. Matlack held Houston scoreless again in the top of the third. Lemaster then retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Cesar Cedeno singled and advanced to second on an error by shortstop Ted Martinez to open the top of the fourth inning. Matlack struck out Doug Rader and walked Denis Menke. A single by Jesus Alou drove home Cedeno with the Astros’ first run of the game. Jack Hiatt lined out to second baseman Boswell, whose throw to Martinez doubled up Menke to end the inning. Matlack singled and moved to second on Boswell’s sacrifice bunt to start the bottom half. Garrett flied out to right fielder Jim Wynn and a walk to Agee followed. Lemaster then got Jones on an inning-ending force play grounder to third baseman Rader.

Metzger got a one-out single in the top of the fifth inning. Morgan and Wynn drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Cedeno hit a sacrifice fly to score Metzger and send Morgan to third. Rader singled to bring home Morgan and cut the Mets’ lead to 6-3. Tug McGraw came in to pitch for New York and retired Menke on a fly ball to right fielder Marshall for the third out. Kranepool doubled off Houston’s Buddy Harris to begin the bottom of the inning. Marshall’s ground out to Morgan advanced Kranepool to third and Dyer drew a walk. Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Kranepool with the Mets’ seventh run. Harris then got McGraw to fly out to center fielder Cedeno and end the inning.

McGraw shut down the Astros in the top of the sixth. Boswell singled off Houston reliever George Culver to start the bottom half. Ken stole second base and came around to score on a single by Garrett. Wayne advanced to second on a throw and Agee fouled out to first baseman Menke. Jones hit a double to drive home Garrett for the Mets’ ninth run of the game. Kranepool hit a grounder to Culver on which Jones was tagged out. Marshall then went down on strikes for the third out of the inning.

McGraw and Culver each pitched a scoreless seventh. Tug shut down the Astros again in the top of the eighth. Houston’s Fred Gladding hurled a scoreless bottom half and Metzger flied out to left fielder Ken Singleton to lead off the top of the ninth. Morgan hit a grounder to second baseman Tim Foli (who had replaced Boswell) for the second out. McGraw then struck out Wynn to end the game. The Mets had their 50th victory of the season.

Notes

  • This was Garrett’s first game of the year after serving military duty.