June 1, 1977: Stearns Slams Expos

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Date: June 1, 1977
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 6
Expos: 4
Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver
Key player(s): John Stearns, Lenny Randle, Dave Kingman
Key play: Kingman’s single, Stearns’ grand slam

The Mets faced the Expos on a Wednesday night. It was the Mets’ first game ever at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. John Stearns slugged a grand slam to lift the Mets to a 6-4 win.

Tom Seaver and the Expos’ Jackie Brown each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. With two outs in the top of the third, Lenny Randle hit a double to right field. Felix Millan reached on an error by shortstop Chris Speier that allowed Randle to score. John Milner drew a walk and Brown struck out Dave Kingman to end the inning. Ellis Valentine homered with two outs in the bottom half to tie the game at 1-1. Seaver then retired Tony Perez on a pop-up to shortstop Bud Harrelson for the inning’s third out.

Stearns drew a one-out walk in the top of the fourth. Lee Mazzilli followed with a force play ground ball to first baseman Perez and stole second base. Brown threw a called third strike past Harrelson to close out the inning and Gary Carter got an infield single with one out in the bottom half. Del Unser was called out on strikes and Larry Parrish doubled to send Carter to third. Brown walked to load the bases and Dave Cash drew a walk that forced home Carter for a 2-1 Montreal lead. Seaver then got Speier to fly out to center fielder Mazzilli and end the inning.

Seaver drew a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth. Randle hit a force play grounder to second baseman Cash and advanced to third base on a single by Millan. Milner popped out to Speier and a single by Kingman plated Randle with the tying run. On his own hit, Kingman went to second via a throw to third. Ed Kranepool was given an intentional walk that loaded the bases. Stearns hit a grand slam to put the Mets ahead, 6-2. Brown retired Mazzilli on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Valentine. Seaver then hurled a perfect bottom half.

After a scoreless sixth inning, Brown set down the Mets in order in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Pete Mackanin singled to begin the bottom half. Cash hit a triple to drive home Mackanin and reduce the Mets’ lead to 6-3. Speier grounded back to Seaver and a pop-up by Valentine was caught by second baseman Millan. Perez singled to score Cash with the fourth Montreal run. Mets’ reliever Skip Lockwood then got Warren Cromartie on a force play ground ball to Harrelson that closed out the inning.

Kranepool drew a walk against the Expos’ Jeff Terpko to lead off the top of the eighth. Stearns hit a single and Mazzilli followed with a force play grounder back to Montreal reliever Will McEnaney. Harrelson hit a double play ground ball to third baseman Parrish that ended the inning and Lockwood set down the Expos on three straight infield grounders in the bottom half. McEnaney then pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.

Mackanin went down on strikes to begin the bottom of the ninth inning. Cash was retired on a grounder to Harrelson. Lockwood then retired Speier for the final out of the game. The Mets had a victory in their first visit to the Big O.