June 3, 1975: Kingman's Homer Leads to Victory

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Date: June 3, 1975
Mets starter: Tom Hall
Mets: 4
Astros: 3
Winning pitcher: Tom Hall
Key player(s): Dave Kingman, Bob Apodaca, Mike Phillips
Key play: Kingman’s home run, Phillips’ assist in 8th

The Mets faced the Astros on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played a two-hour and six-minute game. Dave Kingman hit a three-run homer to lead the Mets to a 4-3 win over Houston.

Tom Hall and the Astros’ Ken Forsch each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. With two outs in the top of the third, Roger Metzger hit a home run for a 1-0 Astros lead. Hall struck out Cesar Cedeno to finish off the inning and Jerry Grote singled to begin the bottom half. Grote advanced to second base on Hall’s sacrifice bunt and to third on Del Unser’s ground out to second baseman Tommy Helms. Felix Millan hit a single to drive home Grote with the tying run. On Joe Torre’s ensuing double, Millan was out at home via a relay throw by shortstop Metzger to catcher Milt May to end the inning. Hall then hurled a scoreless top of the fourth.

Rusty Staub and Ed Kranepool got back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the fourth inning. Kingman homered to give the Mets a 4-1 lead and Mike Phillips singled to right field. Forsch was replaced on the mound by Houston reliever Wayne Granger, who got Grote to hit a force play grounder to third baseman Doug Rader. Hall went down on strikes and Unser drew a walk. Granger then retired Millan on a ground ball to Metzger for the inning’s final out.

Hall and the Astros’ Jim Crawford each pitched a scoreless fifth inning. Metzger drew a walk to lead off the top of the sixth. Cedeno hit a double on which third baseman Torre made an error that allowed Metzger to come home. Bob Watson drew a walk and Enos Cabell singled to load the bases. Bob Apodaca came in to pitch for the Mets and got Rader to hit a double play ground ball to shortstop Phillips on which Cedeno scored the third Houston run. May went down on strikes for the third out of the inning and Crawford shut down the Mets in the bottom half. Apodaca retired the side in order in the top of the seventh. Astros’ reliever Joe Niekro then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Metzger tripled to begin the top of the eighth. Cedeno followed with a grounder on which Phillips threw to catcher Grote for an out at home on Metzger. Watson hit a force play ground ball to Phillips and a pop-up by Cabell was caught by second baseman Millan to close out the inning. Niekro then retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Rader was struck out to start the top of the ninth inning. May grounded out to first baseman Kranepool. Apodaca then retired pinch-hitter Cliff Johnson on a grounder to Phillips that ended the game. The Mets had a victory with solid defense and a key homer by Kingman.