June 7, 1980: Comeback in 11th Beats Bucs

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Date: June 7, 1980
Mets starter: John Pacella
Mets: 6
Pirates: 5
Winning pitcher: Neil Allen
Key player(s): John Stearns, Steve Henderson, Joel Youngblood, Ron Hodges
Key play: Stearns’ and Youngblood’s doubles, Henderson’s and Hodges’ singles

The Mets faced the Pirates on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played a three-hour and fifty-eight-minute game that went into extra inning. After the Bucs took a one-run lead in the top of the 11th, the Mets scored twice in the bottom half for a 6-5 win.

John Pacella and Pittsburgh’s Jim Bibby each pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. Omar Moreno drew a walk with one out in the top of the third. Omar Moreno advanced to second base on Phil Garner’s ground out to shortstop Frank Taveras and came around to score on a single by Dave Parker. Pacella struck out Willie Stargell to end the inning. Bibby then retired the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Mike Easler singled to begin the top of the fourth. Dale Berra reached on catcher John Stearns’ interference and a single by Ed Ott loaded the bases. Vance Law followed with a double play ground ball to second baseman Doug Flynn on which Easler scored the Pirates’ second run. Pacella fanned Bibby to close out the inning and Lee Mazzilli singled to lead off the bottom half. Taveras hit a double to drive home Mazzilli and cut the Bucs’ lead to 2-1. With Steve Henderson at bat, Taveras stole third. In an attempted steal of home, Frank was out on Bibby’s throw to catcher Ott. Bibby then got Henderson to ground out to third baseman Berra and struck out Mike Jorgensen to end the inning.

Pacella issued a walk to Omar Moreno to open the top of the fifth. With Mets’ reliever Kevin Kobel on the mound facing Garner, Omar Moreno stole second base. Garner doubled to score Omar Moreno and a fly ball by Parker was caught by left fielder Henderson. Stargell hit a single to bring home Garner for a 4-1 Pittsburgh lead. Kobel retired pinch-hitter Lee Lacy on a foul pop-up to third baseman Elliott Maddox and got Berra on an inning-ending fly ball to right fielder Joel Youngblood. Bibby then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Kobel set down the Pirates in order in the top of the sixth. Bibby pitched a perfect bottom of the inning and Mets’ reliever Jeff Reardon surrendered just a pair of walks (one intentional) in the top of the seventh. Taveras singled against Bibby to lead off the bottom half. Henderson drew a walk and Jorgensen went down on strikes. Stearns hit a double to score Taveras and advance Henderson to third base. Youngblood walked against Pittsburgh’s Enrique Romo to load the bases. Maddox followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Henderson and reduce the Bucs’ lead to 4-3. Flynn then hit a single on which center fielder Omar Moreno threw to Ott for an out at home on Stearns that ended the inning.

Reardon retired the Pirates 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Jose Moreno drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half. Jose Moreno stole second base and Mazzilli flied out to left fielder Lacy. Taveras popped out to shortstop Law and a single by Henderson brought home Jose Moreno with the tying run. With Jorgensen at the plate, Henderson was caught stealing second on Ott’s throw to Law for the inning’s final out.

Mets’ reliever Neil Allen pitched a scoreless top of the ninth. Jorgensen singled against the Bucs’ Kent Tekulve to begin the bottom half. Stearns got a single on a ground ball that struck pinch-runner Alex Trevino for an out. John stole second base and Youngblood fouled out to first baseman Stargell. Maddox drew a walk and Flynn flied out to Lacy to finish off the inning. Allen retired all three Pittsburgh batters in the top of the 10th. Tekulve then set down the Mets in order in the bottom half.

Ott drew a walk to lead off the top of the 11th. Law’s sacrifice bunt advanced Ott to second base and pinch-hitter Manny Sanguillen flied out to center fielder Mazzilli. Omar Moreno was given an intentional walk. Garner followed with a single that drove home Ott and put the Pirates ahead, 5-4. Allen then got Parker to hit a force play ground ball to Flynn for the third out of the inning.

Trevino singled against Bucs’ reliever Grant Jackson with one out in the bottom of the 11th. Stearns drew a walk and Bert Blyleven came in to pitch for the Pirates. Youngblood greeted Blyleven with a double that scored Trevino and retied the game. Maddox was walked intentionally to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Ron Hodges hit a single to bring home Stearns with the winning run. The Mets had an exciting comeback victory in extra innings.