May 12, 1976: Kingman and Koosman Bury Braves

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Date: May 12, 1976
Mets starter: Jerry Koosman
Mets: 6
Braves: 3
Winning pitcher: Jerry Koosman
Key player(s): Dave Kingman, Jerry Koosman
Key play: Kingman’s two homers and double

The Mets faced the Braves on a Wednesday night in Atlanta. The teams played the latter half of a two-game series. Dave Kingman drove in three runs and Jerry Koosman pitched eight scoreless innings in leading the Mets to a 6-3 win.

After the teams were held without a run in the first inning, Kingman homered to lead off the top of the second. Joe Torre followed with a double and Braves’ starter Andy Messersmith struck out Ron Hodges. Roy Staiger drew a walk and Bud Harrelson hit a force play ground ball to first baseman Earl Williams. Messersmith got Koosman on an inning-ending force play grounder to shortstop Darrel Chaney. Jerry then shut down the Braves in the bottom half.

Following a scoreless third inning, Torre began the top of the fourth with a single to left field. Torre stole second base and moved to third on an errant throw by catcher Vic Correll. Hodges drew a walk and Staiger singled to drive home Torre. Harrelson drew a walk to load the bases and Koosman took a called third strike. Mike Phillips hit a single to score Hodges and a sacrifice fly by Del Unser brought home Staiger for a 4-0 Mets lead. Messersmith got Ed Kranepool to ground out to Chaney and end the inning. Koosman then hurled a scoreless bottom half.

Kingman started the top of the fifth with his second home run of the game. Messersmith set down the next three Mets batters and Marty Perez singled to open the bottom of the inning. Chaney was retired with a grounder on which catcher Hodges threw to first baseman Torre. Pinch-hitter Rod Gilbreath fouled out to Torre and a pop-up by Correll was caught by second baseman Phillips for the inning’s third out. Atlanta reliever Bruce Dal Canton pitched a scoreless top of the sixth. Koosman then set down the Braves in order in the bottom half.

Kranepool reached on an error by Dal Canton to begin the top of the seventh inning. Kingman doubled to drive home Kranepool for the Mets’ sixth run of the game. Dal Canton retired the next three hitters and Williams got a leadoff single in the bottom half. Correll flied out to center fielder Unser and a walk to Perez ensued. Williams advanced to third base on Chaney’s fly out to right fielder Kingman. Pinch-hitter Cito Gaston hit a line drive to third baseman Staiger to close out the inning. Braves’ reliever Pablo Torrealba pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. Koosman then retired all three Atlanta batters in the bottom half.

Despite leadoff singles by Kranepool and Kingman, the Mets failed to score against Torrealba in the top of the ninth. Williams singled with one out in the bottom of the inning. Correll followed with a single to left field and Perez flied out to left fielder Kranepool. Pinch-hitter Jim Wynn ended Koosman bid for a shutout with a three-run homer. Rowland Office (pinch-hitting for Torrealba) reached on an error by Torre. Mets’ reliever Skip Lockwood then retired Lee Lacy on a game-ending fly ball to Unser. The Mets had a victory to finish off the two-game set with the Braves.