June 1, 1979: Mets Outlast Braves in 11 Innings

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Date: June 1, 1979
Mets starter: Kevin Kobel
Mets: 5
Braves: 4
Winning pitcher: Skip Lockwood
Key player(s): Frank Taveras, Doug Flynn, Joel Youngblood
Key play: Flynn’s two singles, Youngblood’s home run, Taveras’s single

The Mets and Braves faced each other on a Friday night. The teams played the opener of a three-game series at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Frank Taveras singled in the 11th inning to drive home the winning run for a 5-4 Mets victory.

Braves’ starter Eddie Solomon pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Leading off the bottom half, Jerry Royster singled and advanced to third base on an ensuing single by Gary Matthews. Bob Horner hit a single that scored Royster with the first run of the game. Mets’ starter Kevin Kobel struck out Jeff Burroughs. Barry Bonnell singled to drive home Matthews for a 2-0 Atlanta lead. Kobel then retired the next two Braves hitters on outfield fly balls to end the inning.

After holding the Mets to a two-out triple by Steve Henderson in the top of the second, Solomon singled with one out in the bottom half. Royster followed with a single to right field. Trying to move to third on the hit, Solomon was out via a throw by right fielder Joel Youngblood to third baseman Richie Hebner. A double by Matthews brought home Royster for the third Braves run. Kobel retired Horner on a pop-up to second baseman Doug Flynn for the final out of the inning. Solomon set down the side in order in the top of the third. Mets’ reliever Jesse Orosco then shut down Atlanta in the bottom half.

Lee Mazzilli drew a one-out walk in the top of the fourth. Hebner hit a single on which Mazzilli advanced to third base. Lee came home on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Willie Montanez. Henderson’s force play grounder to third baseman Horner moved Hebner to third. Back-to-back singles by John Stearns and Flynn plated Hebner and Henderson, respectively, to tie the game at 3-3. Solomon fanned Orosco for the final out. Jesse then pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning.

Youngblood led off the top of the fifth with a home run to put the Mets ahead. Solomon retired the next three New York batters and Orosco hurled a perfect bottom half. Following a scoreless sixth, Solomon shut down the Mets in the top of the seventh. Matthews singled with one out in the bottom of the inning. Horner hit a double to score Matthews with the tying run. Dale Murray came in to replace Orosco on the mound and issued an intentional walk to Burroughs. Pinch-hitter Rowland Office drew a walk that loaded the bases. Murray got pinch-hitter Mike Lum on a foul pop-up to Hebner for the second out. Dale then retired Bruce Benedict on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Henderson.

Despite singles by Montanez and Henderson, the Mets failed to score against Solomon in the top of the eighth. Murray hurled a scoreless bottom of the inning and Atlanta reliever Gene Garber set down all three batters in the top of the ninth. Horner singled against the Mets’ Skip Lockwood to begin the bottom half. Burroughs was called out on strikes while pinch-runner Darrel Chaney was caught stealing on a throw by catcher Stearns to Flynn for a double play. Lockwood then retired Office on a ground ball to first baseman Montanez to end the inning.

Hebner doubled with two outs in the top of the 10th. Montanez was walked intentionally and Henderson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Garber retired Stearns on a line drive to left fielder Burroughs that closed out the inning. With one out in the bottom half, Benedict singled and advanced to third base on an ensuing double by Pepe Frias. Pinch-hitter Joe Nolan popped out to Hebner in foul territory. Royster drew a walk to load the bases. Lockwood then got Matthews to fly out to Youngblood and end the inning.

Flynn singled against Braves’ reliever Adrian Devine to open the top of the 11th. Pinch-hitter Ron Hodges grounded out to second baseman Royster. Youngblood hit a singled that advanced Flynn from second to third base. Taveras followed with a single that brought home Doug with the go-ahead run. Mazzilli flied out to center fielder Office. Atlanta’s Craig Skok then came in to pitch and retired Hebner on an inning-ending fly ball to Burroughs.

Mets’ reliever Ed Glynn walked Chaney to start the bottom of the 11th. Burroughs grounded out to Hebner to move Chaney to second base. Pinch-hitter Charlie Spikes was given an intentional walk and Lum fouled out to Montanez. Glynn then got Benedict on a force play grounder to Flynn to bring the game to and end. The Mets had triumphed in extra innings to begin the weekend series.