June 6, 1969: Mets Win First Game in San Diego

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Date: June 6, 1969
Mets starter: Gary Gentry
Mets: 5
Padres: 3
Winning pitcher: Gary Gentry
Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky, Tommie Agee
Key play: Kranepool’s double, Shamsky’s singles, Agee’s double

The Mets faced the Padres on a Friday night. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. In their first game ever in San Diego, the Mets recorded a 5-3 win.

Padres’ starter Joe Niekro pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Tommy Dean singled against the Mets’ Gary Gentry to lead off the bottom half. John Sipin went down on strikes and consecutive walks to Ollie Brown and Nate Colbert loaded the bases. Al Ferrara reached on an error by first baseman Ed Kranepool to drive home Dean. On the play, Brown also scored for a 2-0 Padres lead. Gentry then got Ed Spiezio to pop out to shortstop Bud Harrelson and struck out Cito Gaston to end the inning.

After scoreless second and third innings, Tommie Agee tripled to open the top of the fourth. Wayne Garrett hit a single to score Agee and a called third strike was thrown past Cleon Jones. Kranepool was retired on a pop-up to catcher Chris Cannizzaro. Niekro got Ron Swoboda on a force play ground ball to second baseman Sipin that closed out the inning and Spiezio slugged a leadoff homer in the bottom half, extending the San Diego lead to 3-1. Gaston singled and Cannizzaro grounded to Harrelson for a double play. Niekro hit a single and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Gentry then retired Dean on a grounder to Harrelson for the inning’s final out.

Niekro set down the side in order in the top of the fifth. Gentry hurled a perfect bottom half and Harrelson singled against Niekro to begin the top of the sixth. Agee hit a single and Garrett followed with a force play ground ball to first baseman Colbert. Jones grounded out to shortstop Dean to score Harrelson and a double by Kranepool brought home Garrett, tying the game at 3-3. Padres’ reliever Gary Ross walked Swoboda intentionally and retired Jerry Grote on an inning-ending foul pop-up to Cannizzaro. Gentry then set down all three batters in the bottom half.

Ross retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Gentry pitched a perfect bottom half and Jones got a two-out single in the top of the eighth. Cleon stole second base and Kranepool was given an intentional walk. Pinch-hitter Art Shamsky singled to drive home Jones for a 4-3 Mets lead. Grote grounded back to Ross for the third out of the inning. Gentry then set down the side in order in the bottom half.

Al Weis singled to open the top of the ninth. Gentry was called out on strikes and Harrelson grounded out to Ross. Agee doubled to plate Weis with the Mets’ fifth run of the game. San Diego reliever Bill McCool then issued a walk to Garrett and retired Jones on a fly ball to right fielder Brown to end the inning.

Gentry threw a called third strike past Ferrara to start the bottom of the ninth. Spiezio drew a walk and Gentry was replaced on the mound by Mets’ reliever Ron Taylor. Gaston greeted Taylor with a single to right field. Cannizzaro followed with a force play grounder to Harrelson. Taylor then retired pinch-hitter Tony Gonzalez on a ground ball to catcher Grote for the game’s final out. The Mets had a victory in their initial game at San Diego.