July 26, 1968: Koosman Blanks Reds on Four Hits

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Date: July 26, 1968
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 2
Reds: 0
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Jerry Koosman, Ron Swoboda, Ed Charles
Key play: Swoboda’s RBI ground outs

The Mets faced the Reds on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Jerry Koosman pitched a four-hit shutout in a 2-0 Mets win over Cincinnati.

Koosman set down the side in order in the top of the first inning. Reds’ starter Tony Cloninger hurled a perfect bottom half and Lee May drew a walk to lead off the top of the second. Johnny Bench went down on strikes and Tony Perez flied out to center fielder Larry Stahl. Don Pavletich was hit by a pitch and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third base. Koosman struck out Leo Cardenas to end inning and consecutive singles by Ed Charles and Ed Kranepool began the bottom half. A sacrifice bunt by J. C. Martin advanced the runners to second and third. Ron Swoboda grounded out to second baseman Chico Ruiz to score Charles for a 1-0 Mets lead. Cloninger then retired Jerry Buchek on a fly ball to center fielder Vada Pinson for the inning’s third out.

Koosman yielded only a single to Ruiz in the top of the third. Cloninger gave up just a single to Stahl in the bottom half and May singled to open the top of the fourth. Bench followed with a force play grounder to shortstop Bud Harrelson. With Perez at bat, Bench was caught stealing on catcher Martin’s throw to second baseman Buchek. Perez lined out to right fielder Swoboda to finish off the inning and Charles got a leadoff single in the bottom half. Kranepool singled to send Charles to third base and Martin popped out to Ruiz. Swoboda grounded out to shortstop Cardenas to drive home Charles with the Mets’ second run of the game. Cloninger then issued an intentional walk to Buchek and fanned Koosman to close out the inning.

Pavletich singled to begin the top of the fifth. Cardenas and Cloninger were retired on fly balls to Swoboda and an infield single by Ruiz ensued. Pinson grounded out to first baseman Kranepool to end the inning and Cloninger retired the Mets in order in the bottom half. Koosman pitched a perfect top of the sixth and Martin was hit by a pitch with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Swoboda grounded out to Ruiz to finish off the inning and Koosman surrendered only a walk to Perez in the top of the seventh. Cloninger then set down the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Koosman retired all three Cincinnati batters in the top of the eighth. Stahl doubled against Reds’ reliever Ted Abernathy to open the bottom of the inning. Larry advanced to third base on Cleon Jones’ ground out to third baseman Perez. Charles followed with a grounder on which Perez threw to catcher Bench for an out at home on Stahl. Kranepool then grounded back to Abernathy for the final out of the inning.

Alex Johnson grounded out to third baseman Charles to lead off the top of the ninth. May was retired on a fly ball to Swoboda. Koosman then threw a called third strike past Bench to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a shutout victory on Jerry’s four-hitter.