June 5, 1978: Three-Run 9th Completes Comeback

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Date: June 5, 1978
Mets starter: Mike Bruhert
Mets: 9
Dodgers: 8
Winning pitcher: Skip Lockwood
Key player(s): Willie Montanez, Tim Foli, Lee Mazzilli
Key play: Montanez’s two doubles, Foli’s double, Russell’s error

The Mets and Dodgers began a three-game series on a Monday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played a game that was televised nationally. The Mets rewarded their fans who stayed up to see the end with three runs in the ninth inning for a 9-8 comeback win.

Mets’ starter Mike Bruhert set down Los Angeles in order in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half, the Mets loaded the bases with three consecutive singles. Infield ground outs by Willie Montanez and Tom Grieve brought home Lee Mazzilli and Elliott Maddox, respectively, for two Met runs. Dodgers’ starter Rick Rhoden issued a walk to Ron Hodges and got Tim Foli to hit into a force play for the third out of the inning.

In the top of the second, Steve Garvey got a one-out single and Dusty Baker reached first base on an error by Bruhert. Rick Monday singled to score Garvey and went to second on a throw. An ensuing double by Jerry Grote plated Baker and Monday for a 3-2 Los Angeles lead. After Rhoden struck out, Dave Lopes got an infield single and stole second base. Bruhert retired Bill Russell on a foul pop-up to catcher Hodges to end the inning. The Mets were then retired in order by Rhoden in the bottom half.

Following a scoreless third inning, Monday led off the top of the fourth with a double. Bruhert retired the next two batters and gave up another infield single to Lopes, who then stole his second base of the game. Russell followed with a single to bring home Monday and Lopes. Lee Lacy came to bat and drew a walk from Mets’ reliever Paul Siebert. Ron Cey followed with a three-run homer to increase the Dodgers’ lead to 8-2. Siebert then struck out Garvey to close out the inning.

Hodges hit a double to begin the bottom of the fourth. Ron went to third on Foli’s fly out and scored on Rhoden’s wild pitch. Rhoden retired Doug Flynn and Siebert on ground balls for the second and third outs. Siebert then pitched a perfect top of the fifth inning.

Mazzilli led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to right field. Maddox fouled out to first baseman Garvey and a walk to Steve Henderson ensued. Montanez blasted a double to center field, scoring Mazzilli and Henderson to cut the Los Angeles lead to 8-5. Dodgers’ reliever Lance Rautzhan finished the inning with no further scoring. Siebert then recorded his second straight 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Mazzilli hit a double with two outs. Maddox drew a walk and Henderson delivered a single to bring home Lee. Montanez grounded out to second baseman Lopes for the third out and Dale Murray set down all three Los Angeles hitters in the top of the seventh. Rautzhan then retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the inning.

Murray pitched another perfect inning in the top of the eighth. Mazzilli singled off Rautzhan for his fourth hit of the game with two outs in the bottom half. Reliever Terry Forster threw a wild pitch to advance Lee to second before retiring Maddox for the third out. Out of the bullpen, Skip Lockwood came in and recorded the Mets’ fifth consecutive 1-2-3 inning in the top of the ninth.

Montanez hit his second double of the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Grieve grounded out to move Willie to third base. With the Mets one out away from defeat, Forster issued a base on balls to Stearns. Foli followed with a double to left field to score Montanez and Stearns to tie the game at 8-8. Flynn’s ensuing grounder was mishandled by shortstop Russell, allowing Foli to come home from second with the winning run. The Mets had an amazing come-from-behind victory.