July 8, 1969: Three Runs in 9th Shock Cubs

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Date: July 8, 1969
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 4
Cubs: 3
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Donn Clendenon, Cleon Jones, Ed Kranepool
Key play: Jones’ double, Kranepool’s single

The Mets and Cubs began a three-game series on a Tuesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. A crowd of 55,096 looked on as the second-place Mets took on the division-leading Chicago team. Scoring three runs in the ninth inning, the Mets came up with a 4-3 win.

Jerry Koosman and the Cubs’ Ferguson Jenkins each started the game with four scoreless innings pitched. Koosman held Chicago to a bunt single by Don Kessinger in the first and got through a bases-loaded situation without a run in the second. Jerry followed up by shutting down the Cubs in the third and fourth innings. Meanwhile, Jenkins kept the Mets hitless with four strikeouts through the end of the fourth.

Koosman allowed only a single to Glenn Beckert in a scoreless top of the fifth inning. With one out in the bottom half, Ed Kranepool hit a home run for a 1-0 Mets lead. Ernie Banks homered to lead off the top of the sixth, tying the game for Chicago. Jenkins then recorded two strikeouts in a perfect bottom of the inning.

Jenkins drew a walk to open the top of the seventh. Kessinger’s sacrifice bunt moved Jenkins to second base. Beckert singled to score Jenkins and put the Cubs ahead. Koosman retired Billy Williams on a pop-up to second baseman Wayne Garrett and got Ron Santo to ground out to shortstop Al Weis. Jenkins then retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.

In the top of the eighth, Jim Hickman homered with two outs to increase the Chicago lead to 3-1. Koosman followed up with an inning-ending strikeout of Don Young. Jenkins pitched his third straight 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half. The Cubs were then retired in order by Koosman in the top of the ninth.

Ken Boswell led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a pinch-hit double to center field. Tommie Agee fouled out to first baseman Banks and a double by Donn Clendenon (batting for Bobby Pfeil) advanced Boswell to third base. Cleon Jones followed with the Mets’ third double of the inning, scoring Boswell and Clendenon to tie the game. After issuing an intentional walk to Art Shamsky, Jenkins got Garrett for a ground ball to second baseman Beckert. Shamsky went to second and Jones advanced to third on the out.

With two outs in the inning, Kranepool hit a looping single into shallow left field. Jones came home to score the winning run. The Mets had an exciting come-from-behind victory over the National League East Division leaders.