June 22, 1969: Mets Overcome Strikeouts to Beat Cards

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Date: June 22, 1969
Mets starter: Gary Gentry
Mets: 5
Cardinals: 1
Winning pitcher: Gary Gentry
Key player(s): Gary Gentry, Donn Clendenon, Tommie Agee
Key play: Mets; singles in 3rd and 4th

The Mets faced the Cardinals in a doubleheader on a Sunday afternoon. The teams played a two-hour and thirty-eight-minute opener of the twinbill at Shea Stadium. Despite being struck out fourteen times, the Mets came away with a 5-1 win over St. Louis.

Lou Brock singled against Mets’ starter Gary Gentry to lead off the top of the first inning. Brock advanced to second base on Vic Davalillo’s ground out to first baseman Donn Clendenon and to third on Vada Pinson’s ground out to second baseman Al Weis. A single by Joe Torre scored Brock for a 1-0 Cardinals lead. Gentry retired Tim McCarver on a pop-up to Weis that ended the inning. St. Louis’s Steve Carlton then struck out the side in a scoreless bottom half.

Gentry shut down the Cards in the top of the second. Carlton yielded just a single to Jerry Grote and fanned two batters in the bottom of the inning. Pinson doubled with two outs in the top of the third. Gentry struck out Torre to finish off the inning and Bud Harrelson singled to open the bottom half. Tommie Agee hit a single and Cleon Jones singled to bring home Harrelson. Clendenon got a single to score Agee and give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Ron Swoboda was called out on strikes. Carlton then fanned Ed Charles with Jones being caught stealing on catcher McCarver’s throw to third baseman Mike Shannon to complete an inning-ending double play.

Gentry hurled a perfect top of the fourth. Grote and Weis began the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles against Carlton. Gentry followed with a force play bunt and a single by Harrelson plated Grote. On his own hit, Harrelson moved to second base with Gentry advancing to third via a throw by right fielder Pinson. Agee singled against Redbirds’ reliever Chuck Taylor to bring home Gentry and Harrelson with the Mets’ fourth and fifth runs of the game. Jones hit a single and Clendenon popped out to second baseman Julian Javier. Taylor then struck out Swoboda to end the inning.

Gentry and Taylor each pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings. Gary gave up only a walk to Torre and a single to McCarver while Taylor recorded two strikeouts and surrendered singles to Harrelson and Jones. Shannon doubled to lead off the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Bill White drew a walk and pinch-hitter Boots Day popped out to shortstop Harrelson. Brock hit a force play ground ball to Harrelson and pop-up by Davalillo was caught by Weis to close out the inning. To open the bottom half, St. Louis reliever Ron Willis struck out Swoboda. Charles grounded out to Shannon and a single by Grote ensued. Willis then fanned Weis for the inning’s final out.

Gentry set down the Cards 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Willis threw a called third strike past Gentry to begin the bottom half. Harrelson drew a walk and Agee fouled out to first baseman Torre. Jones walked and a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third base. Clendenon was given an intentional walk that loaded the bases. Willis then fanned Swoboda (the fourteenth strikeout of a Mets batter) to end the inning.

Javier fouled out to catcher Grote to lead off the top of the ninth. Shannon drew a walk and Steve Huntz singled to right field. Cal Koonce came in to pitch for the Mets and retired Day on a line drive to Clendenon. Koonce then got Brock to ground out to Clendenon and bring the game to an end. The Mets had emerged with a victory to start the doubleheader.