May 22, 1971: Mets Beat Braves in 11 Innings

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Date: May 22, 1971
Mets starter: Tom Seaver
Mets: 8
Braves: 7
Winning pitcher: Ron Taylor
Key player(s): Bud Harrelson, Ken Boswell, Donn Clendenon
Key play: Harrelson’s, Boswell’s and Clendenon’s RBI singles

The Mets faced the Braves on a Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played in front of 43,649 fans on hand. The Mets came from behind three times and emerged with an 8-7 win in 11 innings over Atlanta.

Sonny Jackson got a bunt single to lead off the top of the first inning. Ralph Garr hit a force play ground ball to second baseman Tim Foli and stole second. Hank Aaron fouled out to catcher Jerry Grote and a single by Orlando Cepeda brought home Garr. Mets’ starter Tom Seaver threw a called third strike past Felix Millan for the third out and Tommie Agee singled with two outs in the bottom half. Donn Clendenon hit a double to score Agee and tie the game at 1-1. Cleon Jones reached on an error by third baseman Clete Boyer. Braves’ starter George Stone then got Bob Aspromonte to fly out to left fielder Garr and end the inning.

After scoreless second and third innings, Cepeda and Millan got back-to-back singles to open the top of the fourth. Boyer hit a grounder on which first baseman Clendenon threw to third baseman Aspromonte for an out on Cepeda. Hal King singled to drive home Millan for a 2-1 Atlanta lead. On the hit, Boyer was out at third via a throw by center fielder Don Hahn to Aspromonte. Seaver retired Marty Perez on an inning-ending fly ball to left fielder Jones. Stone then shut down the Mets in the bottom half.

Jackson hit a one-out double in the top of the fifth. Garr went down on strikes and Aaron drew a walk. Cepeda singled to bring home Jackson with the Braves third run of the game. Millan grounded out to Aspromonte to finish off the inning and Hahn doubled to lead off the bottom half. Seaver singled to score Hahn and advanced to second base on Bud Harrelson’s sacrifice bunt. Foli was called out on strikes and Agee slugged a two-run homer that put the Mets ahead, 4-3. Stone then retired Clendenon on a pop-up to second baseman Millan for the inning’s final out.

Seaver pitched a perfect top of the sixth. Stone set down the side in order in the bottom half and pinch-hitter Darrell Evans was hit by a pitch to begin the top of the seventh. Jackson reached second base on an error by Seaver and a strikeout of Garr followed. Aaron was walked intentionally to load the bases and Cepeda hit a ground ball to second baseman Ken Boswell for an inning-ending double play. Braves’ reliever Tom Kelley then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Seaver and Mets’ reliever Tug McGraw combined for a scoreless top of the eighth. Atlanta’s Bob Priddy pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning and Jackson singled against McGraw to lead off the top of the ninth. Garr hit a double and Aaron was given an intentional walk to load the bases. Cepeda singled off New York’s Danny Frisella to score Jackson and Garr, putting the Braves ahead by a run. Millan fouled out to Grote and a single by Boyer plated Aaron for a 6-4 Atlanta lead. Gil Garrido went down on strikes and Bob Didier was walked intentionally to load the bases once again. Frisella then got Priddy on a force play grounder to third baseman Foli (who had shifted from second) that closed out the inning.

Boswell drew a walk against Priddy to begin the bottom of the ninth. Braves’ reliever Cecil Upshaw retired pinch-hitter Dave Marshall on a fly ball to center fielder Jackson. Pinch-hitter Ed Kranepool doubled and moved to third base on pinch-hitter Art Shamsky’s ground out to first baseman Cepeda that scored Boswell. Harrelson hit a single to bring home Kranepool and tie the game at 6-6. Upshaw then got Foli to fly out to right fielder Aaron and send the game onward.

Jackson singled against Mets’ reliever Charlie Williams to open the top of the 10th inning. Garr’s sacrifice bunt advanced Jackson to second base and an intentional walk to Aaron ensued. Cepeda drew a walk to load the bases and Millan hit a sacrifice fly to score Jackson for a one-run Atlanta lead. Williams then retired Boyer on a line drive to Jones for the inning’s final out.

Agee flied out to Aaron to begin the bottom of the 10th. Clendenon singled and moved to second base on an error by shortstop Garrido. Jones singled and Boswell hit a single that plated Clendenon for a 7-7 tie. Marshall received an intentional walk to load the bases and Duffy Dyer was struck out. Upshaw then retired pinch-hitter Ken Singleton on a grounder to Millan that ended the inning and sent the game further.

Mets reliever Ron Taylor set down the side 1-2-3 in the top of the 11th. Harrelson grounded out to Garrido to lead off the bottom half. Foli singled and stole second base. Agee was retired on a fly ball to Garr. Clendenon then delivered a single that drove home Foli and brought the game to an end. After coming back three times, the Mets had a very exciting victory.