May 14, 1968: Ryan Fans Fourteen Reds

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Date: May 14, 1968
Mets starter: Nolan Ryan
Mets: 3
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: Nolan Ryan
Key player(s): Nolan Ryan, Art Shamsky, Ron Swoboda
Key play: Shamsky’s triple, Swoboda’s single

The Mets faced the Reds on a Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Nolan Ryan recorded fourteen strikeouts in a 3-2 Mets win over Cincinnati.

Ryan fanned both Pete Rose and Alex Johnson in pitching a perfect top of the first inning. Reds’ starter Milt Pappas retired the side in order in the bottom half and Tony Perez singled to open the top of the second. Lee May hit a force play ground ball back to Ryan and a strikeout of Johnny Bench ensued. Tommy Helms was retired on an inning-ending grounder to first baseman Greg Goossen, who was hit by a pitch with two outs in the bottom half. Goossen advanced to second base on a balk and Pappas threw a called third strike past Jerry Buchek to close out the inning.

After shutting down the Reds in the top of the third, Ryan singled with one out in the bottom half. Bud Harrelson hit a single and Ken Boswell lined out to center fielder Vada Pinson. Art Shamsky followed with a triple to drive home Ryan and Harrelson. Ron Swoboda singled to score Shamsky for a 3-0 Mets lead. Jerry Grote drew a walk and Pappas got Goossen to hit a force play ground ball to third baseman Perez for the inning’s third out.

Pinson went down on strikes to begin the top of the fourth. Perez hit a home run and May was struck out. Bench drew a walk and Helms grounded to third baseman Buchek for a force play that ended the inning. Pappas gave up just a single to Buchek in the bottom half and consecutive strikeouts of Leo Cardenas and pinch-hitter Mel Queen began the top of the fifth. Rose walked and Ryan fanned Johnson to finish off the inning. Cincinnati reliever Ted Davidson then set down the side 1-2-3 in the bottom half.

Pinson popped out to Buchek to lead off the top of the sixth. Perez went down on strikes and May homered for the Reds’ second run of the game. Bench flied out to center fielder Tommie Agee to end the inning and Davidson yielded just a single to Grote in the bottom half. Ryan hurled a perfect top of the seventh. Cincinnati reliever Bill Kelso then retired all three batters in the bottom of the inning.

Rose got a leadoff single in the top of the eighth. Ryan struck out the next three Reds hitters to close out the inning and Kelso pitched a perfect bottom half. May took a called third strike to begin the top of the ninth. Ryan got Bench for his fourteenth strike of the game. Nolan then retired Helms on a line drive to left fielder Cleon Jones for the game’s final out. The Mets had a series-opening victory.