June 13, 1976: Mets Beat Giants in DH Opener

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Date: June 13, 1976
Mets starter: Mickey Lolich
Mets: 4
Giants: 2
Winning pitcher: Mickey Lolich
Key player(s): John Milner, Jerry Grote, Bob Apodaca
Key play: Milner’s two-run single, Grote’s home run

The Mets faced the Giants in a doubleheader on a Sunday afternoon. The teams played a two-hour and nine-minute opener of the twinbill at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. The Mets rebounded from an early deficit and came away with a 4-2 win.

Giants’ starter Rob Dressler retired the side in order on three consecutive ground balls to second baseman Chris Arnold in the top of the first inning. Larry Herndon singled against the Mets’ Mickey Lolich to begin the bottom half. Arnold hit a single to advance Herndon to third base and moved to second on center fielder Del Unser’s error. Gary Matthews singled to score Herndon and send Arnold to third. Bobby Murcer hit a force play grounder to second baseman Felix Millan that plated Arnold for a 2-0 San Francisco lead. Lolich then got Chris Speier to fly out to Unser and retired Ken Reitz on a ground ball to third baseman Wayne Garrett for the inning’s third out.

With one out in the top of the second, Ed Kranepool doubled and moved to third base on Unser’s ensuing single. Garrett reached on an error by first baseman Gary Thomasson to bring home Kranepool with the Mets’ first run of the game. Grote followed with a grounder to Arnold for an inning-ending double play and Lolich set down the Giants 1-2-3 in the bottom half. Dressler retired all nine New York batters from the third inning to the fifth. Lolich responded by hurling three consecutive bottom halves.

Lolich reached on an error by shortstop Speier to lead off the top of the sixth. Mike Phillips reached on Thomasson’s second error and a sacrifice bunt by Millan advanced the runners to second and third base. John Milner hit a single to score Lolich and Phillips, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. Dressler retired the next two batters to end the inning and Lolich held the Giants to a single by Arnold in the bottom half. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Grote homered for the Mets’ fourth run. Dressler then walked Lolich and got Phillips on a ground ball to Arnold to close out the inning.

Reitz and Thomasson drew back-to-back walks to open the bottom of the seventh. Bob Apodaca came in to pitch for the Mets and got pinch-hitter Steve Ontiveros to hit a grounder to shortstop Phillips for a double play. Apodaca struck out pinch-hitter Willie Montanez to finish off the inning and San Francisco reliever Gary Lavelle pitched a perfect top of the eighth. Apodaca limited the Giants to a single by Matthews in the bottom half. The Mets then failed to score after loading the bases against Lavelle in the top of the ninth.

Speier went down on strikes to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning. Derrel Thomas was retired on a fly ball to Unser. Apodaca then got Thomasson to fly out to left fielder Milner and end the game. The Mets had a victory to start the doubleheader.