July 25, 1971: Mets Hold Off Astros Rally

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Date: July 25, 1971
Mets starter: Gary Gentry
Mets: 7
Astros: 6
Winning pitcher: Gary Gentry
Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Ted Martinez, Ken Boswell, Danny Frisella
Key play: Jones’ home run, Boswell’s and Frisella’s singles in 8th

The Mets faced the Astros on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. The Mets withstood a Houston rally effort and came away with a 7-6 win.

After two scoreless innings, Joe Morgan hit a solo home run against Mets’ starter Gary Gentry with one out in the top of the third. Jimmy Wynn doubled and Cesar Cedeno went down on strikes. Doug Rader drew a walk and Denis Menke fouled out to first baseman Ed Kranepool to end the inning. To begin the bottom half, Duffy Dyer singled off the Astros’ Ken Forsch. Dyer stole second base and Ted Martinez lined out to second baseman Morgan. Gentry was struck out and consecutive walks to Ken Boswell and Wayne Garrett loaded the bases. Forsch then fanned Tommie Agee for the inning’s final out.

Gentry pitched a perfect top of the fourth. Leading off the bottom half, Cleon Jones homered against Forsch to tie the game. Kranepool drew a walk and Dave Marshall was called out on strikes. Dyer fouled out to right fielder Wynn and a single by Martinez followed. Gentry hit a single to score Kranepool and advanced to second base on a throw. Boswell and Garrett followed with singles to bring home Martinez and Gentry, respectively, for a 4-1 Mets lead. Astros’ reliever Bill Greif then retired Agee on a fly ball to center fielder Cedeno to finish off the inning.

Gentry hurled a scoreless top of the fifth. Jones hit a double to begin the bottom half. Cleon moved to third base on Kranepool’s ground out to Morgan and came home with the fifth New York run on Marshall’s sacrifice fly. Dyer went down on strikes to end the inning and Gentry surrendered just a walk to Menke in the top of the sixth. To open the bottom half, Martinez singled and stole second base. Gentry was struck out and Boswell flied out to Cedeno. Greif then retired Garrett on a ground ball to first baseman Menke to close out the inning.

Pinch-hitter Norm Miller slugged a leadoff home run against Gentry in the top of the seventh. Roger Metzger flied out to center fielder Agee and a fly ball by Morgan was caught by right fielder Marshall. Wynn drew a walk and Cedeno followed with a single to left field. Mets’ reliever Danny Frisella got Rader to hit an inning-ending force play grounder to shortstop Martinez. Houston’s Denny Lemaster then yielded only a double to Agee in the bottom half.

Jesus Alou got a one-out single in the top of the eighth. Johnny Edwards reached on first baseman Donn Clendenon’s error and Miller drew a walk to load the bases. Metzger hit a single to drive home Alou. Morgan followed with a ground out to Clendenon that plated Edwards and cut the Mets’ lead to 5-4. Frisella then retired Wynn on a fly ball to Agee for the third out of the inning.

Pinch-hitter Don Hahn hit a single against Lemaster to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Dyer fouled out to catcher Edwards and a bunt single by Martinez ensued. Frisella singled to score Hahn and a single by Boswell brought home Martinez for a 7-4 Mets lead. Garrett singled off Astros’ reliever Fred Gladding to load the bases. With Agee at bat, Edwards made a pickoff throw to third baseman Menke (who had shifted from first) for an out on Frisella. Menke then threw to Morgan for an out on Boswell and an inning-ending double play.

Cedeno drew a walk against Frisella to begin the top of the ninth. Cesar Geronimo went down on strikes and Menke drew a walk. Alou hit a single to drive home Cedeno and reduce the Mets’ lead to 7-5. Edwards singled against Mets’ reliever Ron Taylor to score Menke with the sixth Houston run. Miller grounded out to second baseman Tim Foli to send the runners to second and third base. Taylor then struck out Metzger to end the game. The Mets had held on for a series-closing victory.

Notes

  • Jones’ home run was the 1,000th in Mets history