July 6, 1969: Mets Come Back to Beat Pirates

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Date: July 6, 1969
Mets starter: Jim McAndrew
Mets: 8
Pirates: 7
Winning pitcher: Ron Taylor
Key player(s): Donn Clendenon, Ed Charles, Ron Swoboda, Cleon Jones
Key play: Jones’ single, Charles’ and Clendenon’s home runs

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The teams played the finale of a weekend series at Forbes Field. The Mets came back from a five-run deficit and defeated the Bucs, 8-7.

Bobby Pfeil singled against Pirates’ starter Luke Walker with one out in the top of the first inning. Pfeil moved to second base on Cleon Jones’ ground out and came home on a double by Donn Clendenon. Walker retired Ed Charles on a fly ball to right fielder Roberto Clemente for the third out and Matty Alou drew a walk against the Mets’ Jim McAndrew to lead off the bottom half. Richie Hebner hit a force play grounder to shortstop Al Weis and walk to Willie Stargell followed. Clemente singled to score Hebner with the tying run and Al Oliver grounded out to second baseman Pfeil. Jerry May slugged a three-run homer for a 4-1 Pittsburgh lead. Mets’ reliever Nolan Ryan then got Freddie Patek to fly out to right fielder Rod Gaspar and end the inning.

After setting down the side in order in the top of the second, Walker drew a one-out walk against Ryan in the bottom half. Alou walked and Hebner followed with another walk to load the bases. Mets’ reliever Danny Frisella retired Stargell on a line drive to Gaspar. Clemente hit a single to bring home Walker and Alou, increasing the Bucs’ lead to 6-1. Frisella then got Oliver on a force play ground ball to third baseman Charles to finish off the inning.

Walker surrendered only a walk to Pfeil in the top of the third. Frisella yielded just a single to May in the bottom half and Charles drew a walk to open the top of the fourth. Charles advanced to third base on Gaspar’s single and scored on a single by Jerry Grote. Weis and pinch-hitter Ed Kranepool were struck out and Ron Swoboda singled to drive home Gaspar, cutting the Pittsburgh lead to 6-3. Walker retired Pfeil on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Stargell. Mets’ reliever Ron Taylor then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Charles hit a solo home run with two outs in the top of the fifth. Gaspar drew a walk and Walker fanned Grote for the inning’s final out. Taylor held the Pirates to a single by Stargell in the bottom half and Weis got a single against Walker to begin the top of the sixth. Pittsburgh reliever Chuck Hartenstein got pinch-hitter Wayne Garrett to fly out to Stargell. Swoboda singled and Pfeil grounded out to second baseman Jose Martinez. Jones followed with a single that plated Weis and reduced the Bucs’ lead to one run. Clendenon connected for a three-run homer to put the Mets ahead, 8-6. Charles walked and Hartenstein retired Gaspar on a grounder to Martinez to close out the inning.

May got a leadoff double against Mets’ reliever Cal Koonce in the bottom of the sixth. Patek was called out on strikes and Martinez grounded out to third baseman Pfeil (who had shifted from second.) Pinch-hitter Jose Pagan doubled to drive home May with the Pirates’ seventh run of the game. Alou took a called third strike to end the inning and Pittsburgh’s Bruce Dal Canton gave up just a single to Garrett in the top of the seventh. Koonce then yielded only a single to Clemente in the bottom half.

Dal Canton retired all three batters in the top of the eighth. Koonce hurled a perfect bottom of the inning and Dal Canton limited the Mets to a single by Grote in the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Gary Kolb went down on strikes to open the bottom half. Alou grounded out to first baseman Clendenon. Hebner then grounded back to Koonce for the game’s final out. The Mets had a come-from-behind victory.