July 26, 1977: Late Scoring Puts Away Giants

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Date: July 26, 1977
Mets starter: Pat Zachry
Mets: 8
Giants: 3
Winning pitcher: Pat Zachry
Key player(s): John Stearns, Felix Millan, Lenny Randle, Lee Mazzilli
Key play: Millan’s and Mazzilli’s triples, Mets’ sacrifice flies

The Mets faced the Giants in a Tuesday night in San Francisco. The teams played the opener of a two-game series. The Mets scored six runs over the last four innings for an 8-3 win.

Pat Zachry and the Giants’ John Montefusco each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Zachry singled to lead off the top of the third. Lenny Randle hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Tim Foli and came around to score on a triple by Felix Millan. Steve Henderson followed with a sacrifice fly to drive home Millan for a 2-0 Mets lead. Montefusco struck out John Milner to finish off the inning. Zachry then shut down the Giants in the bottom half.

Montefusco retired the side in order in the top of the fourth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Willie McCovey slugged a solo home run. Terry Whitfield doubled and Foli grounded out to Zachry. Marc Hill hit a single that brought home Whitfield and tied the game at 2-2. On his own hit, Hill was out via a relay throw by catcher John Stearns to second baseman Millan to end the inning. Montefusco gave up only a single to Randle in the top of the fifth. Zachry then held the Giants to a single by Derrel Thomas in the bottom half.

Millan got a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. Henderson drew a walk and Milner singled to load the bases. Stearns hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Millan with the go-ahead run. Bruce Boisclair grounded out to second baseman Rob Andrews and an intentional walk to Lee Mazzilli loaded the bases once again. Doug Flynn drew a walk to force home Henderson and extend the Mets’ lead to 4-2. Montefusco threw a called third strike past Zachry to close out the inning. Pat then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Randle got a bunt single against Montefusco to begin the top of the seventh. Millan’s sacrifice bunt advanced Randle to second base and Henderson was called out on strikes. Milner was given an intentional walk and Stearns singled to score Randle. Boisclair followed with a single that plated Milner for a 6-2 Mets lead. San Francisco reliever Gary Lavelle threw a called third strike past Mazzilli for the inning’s final out. Foli and Hill got back-to-back singles to open the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Gary Thomasson was struck out and Andrews hit a force play grounder to third baseman Randle. Zachry then fanned Thomas to end the inning.

The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Giants’ reliever John Curtis in the top of the eighth. Jack Clark doubled against Zachry with one out in the bottom half. McCovey reached on Randle’s error and Whitfield flied out to center fielder Mazzilli. Foli hit a single to score Clark and reduce the Mets’ lead to 6-3. New York’s Bob Apodaca got Hill to foul out to first baseman Milner and finish off the inning. With one out in the top of the ninth, Boisclair singled and came home on a triple by Mazzilli. Flynn hit the Mets’ third sacrifice fly of the game, scoring Mazzilli with the eighth New York run. Curtis then got Apodaca on a called third strike to close out the inning.

Pinch-hitter Vic Harris took a called third strike to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Andrews flied out to Mazzilli and a triple by Thomas ensued. Apodaca then retired Darrell Evans on a ground ball to Milner for the game’s final out. The Mets had come away with a decisive victory.