May 18, 1980: Two-Run 9th Gives Mets Split

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Date: May 18, 1980
Mets starter: Ray Burris
Mets: 2
Braves: 1
Winning pitcher: Neil Allen
Key player(s): Ray Burris, Frank Taveras
Key play: Royster’s errors

The Mets faced the Braves in a doubleheader on a Sunday afternoon in Atlanta. After dropping the opener of the twinbill, the Mets aimed for a split in the second game. Two runs in the ninth inning gave the Mets a 2-1 win.

Ray Burris and the Braves’ Doyle Alexander each pitched scoreless ball from the first inning to the seventh. The Mets failed to score after loading the bases against Atlanta reliever Gene Garber in the top of the eighth. With one out in the bottom half, Gary Matthews singled against New York’s Neil Allen. Chris Chambliss hit a single and Brian Asselstine singled to score Matthews for a 1-0 Braves lead. Dale Murphy was retired on a foul pop-up to catcher Ron Hodges. Allen then threw a called third strike past Bruce Benedict to end the inning.

Frank Taveras singled against Garber to lead off the top of the ninth. Taveras advanced to second base on Elliott Maddox’s sacrifice bunt. Lee Mazzilli reached on second baseman Jerry Royster’s error that allowed Taveras to score and tie the game. Mike Jorgensen was retired on a ground ball to Royster. Joel Youngblood reached on Royster’s second error, which enabled Mazzilli to come home from second and put the Mets ahead by a run. With Jerry Morales at bat, Youngblood was caught stealing on catcher Benedict’s throw to Royster for the inning’s final out.

Pinch-hitter Chico Ruiz grounded out to third baseman Maddox to open the bottom of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Joe Nolan was retired on a grounder back to Allen. Neil then got Royster to ground out to second baseman Doug Flynn and bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory and a doubleheader split.