July 24, 1979: Mets Defeat Giants in 12 Innings

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Date: July 24, 1979
Mets starter: Kevin Kobel
Mets: 6
Giants: 5
Winning pitcher: Wayne Twitchell
Key player(s): Willie Montanez, Alex Trevino, John Stearns
Key play: Trevino’s and Stearns’ singles

The Mets faced the Giants on a Tuesday night in San Francisco. The teams played the opener of a two-game series. The Mets scored twice in the top of the 12th inning and came away with a 6-5 win.

After a scoreless first, Willie Montanez got a one-out single against Giants’ starter John Montefusco in the top of the second. John Stearns doubled to drive home Montanez and a strikeout of Elliott Maddox ensued. Doug Flynn hit a single on which Stearns scored via catcher Marc Hill’s error of right fielder Jack Clark’s throw to the plate. On his own hit, Flynn advanced to second base. Kevin Kobel singled to bring home Flynn and extend the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Montefusco retired Joel Youngblood on a fly ball to center fielder Bill North that ended the inning. Kobel then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Montefusco shut down the Mets in the top of the third. Johnnie LeMaster singled to open the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Mike Sadek grounded out to shortstop Frank Taveras and a single by Montefusco sent Lemaster to third base. North followed with a single to plate LeMaster with the first San Francisco run of the game. Kobel then got Joe Strain to hit a ground ball to third baseman Richie Hebner for an inning-ending double play.

Montefusco set down the side in order in the top of the fourth. Kobel gave up just a single to Mike Ivie in the bottom half and Montefusco hurled a perfect top of the fifth. LeMaster doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning. Sadek went down on strikes and Montefusco singled to drive home LeMaster. On the play, catcher Stearns made an error that allowed Montefusco to advance to third base. North drew a walk and was caught between bases on Kobel’s pickoff throw. During the rundown, Montefusco was out via a throw by Taveras to Hebner to finish off the inning.

Montefusco retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. Strain got an infield single against Kobel to lead off the bottom half. Clark fouled out to Stearns and a single by Ivie followed. Darrell Evans hit a single on which Strain was out at home via right fielder Youngblood’s throw to Stearns. Arguing the call, Giants’ manager Joe Altobelli was ejected by home plate umpire Dutch Rennert. Mets’ reliever Ed Glynn then got Larry Herndon on a line drive to left fielder Steve Henderson to close out the inning.

Maddox singled to begin the top of the seventh. Flynn hit a single to advance Maddox to third base and pinch-hitter Ed Kranepool fouled out to catcher Sadek. Youngblood was struck out and Taveras reached on second baseman Strain’s error that allowed Maddox to come home. Montefusco fanned Henderson to end the inning and LeMaster got a leadoff single against Mets’ reliever Neil Allen in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Terry Whitfield walked and pinch-hitter Rob Andrews’ sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third. North followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home LeMaster. Allen then retired Strain on a grounder to Taveras for the inning’s third out.

San Francisco reliever Gary Lavelle yielded only a single to Montanez in the top of the eighth. Allen and the Mets’ Andy Hassler combined for a scoreless bottom half and Lavelle pitched a scoreless top of the ninth. To begin the bottom of the inning, Whitfield singled and went to second on Hassler’s wild pitch. Andrews followed with a single to advance Whitfield to third. Against Mets’ reliever Dale Murray, Dennis Littlejohn hit a sacrifice fly to score Whitfield and tie the game at 4-4. Trying to advance on the play, Andrews was out via a throw by center fielder Maddox to second baseman Flynn. Murray then struck out Lavelle to end the inning and send the game onward.

Lavelle retired the side in order in the top of the 10th. Murray hurled a scoreless bottom half and Stearns reached on third baseman Evans’ error to lead off the top of the 11th. A balk moved Stearns to second base and Maddox grounded out to shortstop Roger Metzger. Flynn was retired on a ground ball to Metzger that sent Stearns to third. Lavelle retired pinch-hitter Gil Flores on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Herndon. Mets’ reliever Wayne Twitchell then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Youngblood singled against Giants’ reliever Pedro Borbon to begin the top of the 12th. Joel went to second base on Taveras’s sacrifice bunt and to third on Henderson’s ground out to Evans. Alex Trevino singled to drive home Youngblood and put the Mets ahead, 5-4. Trevino advanced to third on Montanez’s single and scored the sixth New York run on an infield single by Stearns. On the play, Evans made an error that allowed Montanez to go to third and Stearns to second. Maddox drew a walk to load the bases. Borbon then got Flynn to line out to second baseman Andrews and finish off the inning.

Pinch-hitter Vida Blue drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the 12th. Clark drew a walk and Twitchell was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Tom Hausman. Ivie grounded out to third baseman Trevino to advance the runners to second and third. Evans grounded out to first baseman Montanez to bring home Blue with the fifth San Francisco run. Hausman then retired Herndon on a fly ball to Maddox for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory in extra innings.