May 22, 1977: Mets Defeat Reds in 11 Innings

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Date: May 22, 1977
Mets starter: Nino Espinosa
Mets: 4
Reds: 3
Winning pitcher: Jackson Todd
Key player(s): Ed Kranepool, Mike Phillips, Jackson Todd
Key play: Kranepool’s double in 7th, Phillips’ single in 11th

The Mets and Reds faced each other in a doubleheader on a Sunday afternoon. After losing the opener, the Mets aimed for a split of the twinbill at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium. In the 11th inning, the Mets scored a run for a 4-3 win.

Nino Espinosa and Reds’ starter Fred Norman each pitched one-hit scoreless ball from the first inning to the third. Norman struck out Mike Vail and Dave Kingman to open the top of the fourth. John Stearns followed with a home run to put the Mets ahead, 1-0. Joe Torre hit a ground ball to shortstop Dave Concepcion for the final out of the inning. Joe Morgan led off the bottom half with a homer to tie the game. Dan Driessen singled to right field. With George Foster at bat, Driessen stole second base and moved on to third on a throwing error by catcher Stearns. Foster popped out to second baseman Felix Millan and a fly ball by Cesar Geronimo was caught by center fielder Lenny Randle. Espinosa issued a walk to Concepcion. On an attempted steal, Driessen was out at home via a throw by Millan to Stearns to end the inning.

Norman and Espinosa each set down the side in order in the fifth. Millan and Vail got back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the sixth. Norman retired Kingman on a fly ball to left fielder Foster and got Stearns on a force play grounder to third baseman Pete Rose for the third out. To begin the bottom of the inning, Ken Griffey got a bunt single and advanced to third base on Morgan’s ensuing double. Skip Lockwood came in to pitch for the Mets and walked Driessen intentionally to load the bases. Foster lined out to third baseman Roy Staiger and a single by Geronimo drove home Griffey. Concepcion hit a sacrifice fly to score Morgan for a 3-1 Cincinnati lead. With pinch-hitter Johnny Bench at bat, Geronimo was picked off on Stearns’ throw to first baseman Torre to close out the inning.

Torre led off the top of the seventh with a double to right field. Staiger doubled to drive home pinch-runner Leo Foster. On an errant pickoff throw by Reds’ reliever Dale Murray, Staiger advanced to third base. Pinch-hitter Ed Kranepool hit the Mets’ third consecutive double to bring home Roy with the tying run. Murray retired the next three batters on infield ground balls to close out the inning. Lockwood then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Cincinnati’s Rawly Eastwick set down the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Morgan hit a single to right field. Morgan stole second base and advanced to third on Stearns’ passed ball. Driessen flied out to left fielder Randle (who had shifted from center) and an intentional walk was given to George Foster. Geronimo popped out to Staiger to end the inning. Eastwick retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. Lockwood then hurled a perfect bottom half.

Reds’ reliever Pedro Borbon shut down the Mets in the top of the 10th inning. Griffey singled against the Mets’ Jackson Todd with one out in the bottom half. Morgan singled (his fourth hit of the game) to send Griffey to third base. Driessen was walked intentionally to load the bases. George Foster was retired on a short fly ball to Randle in left field. Todd then got Geronimo on an inning-ending force play grounder to Millan.

Kingman hit a double to begin the top of the 11th. Stearns went down on strikes for the first out of the inning. Mike Phillips followed with a single (and moved to second base on a throw) to drive home Kingman and put the Mets one run ahead. Staiger grounded out to second baseman Morgan to move Phillips to third. Borbon then retired Lee Mazzilli on a grounder to first baseman Driessen to close out the inning.

A single by Concepcion started the bottom of the 11th. Concepcion stole second base and Bench fouled out to Stearns. Todd threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Bob Bailey for the inning’s second out. Jackson then retired Rose on a ground ball to shortstop Phillips to end the game. The Mets had gained a split of the doubleheader.

Notes

  • This was the final win for Joe Frazier as Mets manager.