May 20, 1979: Mets Come Back in Extra Innings

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Date: May 20, 1979
Mets starter: Craig Swan
Mets: 8
Cardinals: 7
Winning pitcher: Neil Allen
Key player(s): Richie Hebner, Frank Taveras
Key play: Stearns’ single in 8th, Hebner’s home run in 10th, Taveras’s single in 11th

The Mets faced the Cardinals on a Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The game went into extra innings with the Mets coming out an 8-7 winner. Richie Hebner and Frank Taveras came up with big hits to lift the Mets to victory.

The Cardinals got off to a 1-0 lead on Lou Brock’s first inning home run off Craig Swan. The Mets responded in the bottom of the inning when Hebner hit a double off St. Louis starter Bob Sykes to score Steve Henderson and Taveras. The Cards came back to tie when Keith Hernandez singled home Garry Templeton in the third.

John Stearns’ home run in the bottom of the fourth put the Mets ahead, 3-2. St. Louis came back with run-scoring singles by Brock and Hernandez to reclaim the lead in the fifth. The Mets tied it in the eighth when Stearns singled with two out to score Lee Mazzilli.

In the tenth, Dale Murray came on to pitch for the Mets. Murray issued three walks and allowed two hits as St. Louis scored three runs for a 7-4 lead. Neil Allen relieved Murray to get the final two outs of the inning.

Taveras and Mazzilli both singled with one out in the bottom of the tenth against reliever Mark Littell. Left-hander Darold Knowles came in to pitch to Hebner. Richie greeted Knowles by slugging a three-run homer over the right field fence, retying the game.

Allen retired the Cards in the top of the eleventh. Joel Youngblood started the bottom half of the inning with a double off Knowles. Later, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out and Taveras coming up. Frank hit a single to left field, scoring Youngblood with the winning run. The amazing comeback gave Allen his first major league victory.