June 20, 1968: Seaver and Jones Lead Mets Past Astros
|Date: June 20, 1968|
|Mets starter: Tom Seaver|
|Winning pitcher: Tom Seaver|
|Key player(s): Cleon Jones, Tom Seaver|
|Key play: Jones’ three-run homer|
The Mets and Astros concluded a four-game set on a Thursday afternoon at Shea Stadium. After losing two of the first three games, the Mets aimed for a split of the series. Tom Seaver struck out 12 batters and Cleon Jones drove in four runs as the Mets came out with a 5-3 win over Houston.
Seaver retired the side in order with three strikeouts in the top of the first inning. The Mets loaded the bases in the bottom half, but failed to score against Astros’ starter Larry Dierker. Following a scoreless second, Seaver shut down Houston in the top of the third and led off the bottom of the inning with a single. Tom later scored on Jones’ sacrifice fly for the Mets’ first run of the game. Seaver and Dierker then pitched scoreless ball in the fourth.
Seaver fanned Dierker for his sixth strikeout to end a perfect top of the fifth inning. In the bottom half, Tom hit a one-out double and went to third base on Bud Harrelson’s ground out. Ken Boswell drew a walk and Jones came to bat. Cleon hit a three-run homer to increase the Mets’ lead to 4-0. Dierker then retired J. C. Martin on a ground ball to first baseman Rusty Staub to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Seaver got Denis Menke on a called third strike and issued a walk to Dick Simpson. An ensuing single by Staub advanced Simpson to third base. Lee Thomas hit a grounder on which second baseman Boswell threw out Staub for a force play that scored Simpson. Seaver followed up with a strikeout of Bob Watson for the third out. The Mets then got a run on Art Shamsky’s homer leading off the bottom of the inning.
Seaver recorded three more strikeouts in pitching scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Houston reliever Tom Dukes shut down the Mets without a hit in the bottom halves. In the top of the ninth, Seaver yielded a one-out single to Watson and hit Dave Adlesh with a pitch. Consecutive singles by Hector Torres and Bob Aspromonte brought home Watson and Adlesh, respectively. After catcher Martin’s passed ball moved pinch-runner Julio Gotay to second, Seaver got pinch-hitter Ivan Murrell for his twelfth strikeout. Tom then walked Simpson to load the bases and was removed from the game.
Reliever Bill Short retired Staub on a ground ball back to the mound to end the game. The Mets had a victory for a split of the four-game series. The win for Seaver was his fifth of the year while Short recorded his only save as a Met.